Game Theory at Work: How to Use Game Theory to Outthink and Outmaneuver Your Competition / Edition 1

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Easy-to-Follow Strategies for Using Game Theory to Grab the Upper Hand in Every Business Battle

Game theory—the study of how competitors act, react, and interact in the strategic pursuit of their own self-interest—has become an essential competitive tool in today's business arena. Game Theory at Work provides examples of how businesspeople can use this time-proven approach to successfully meet competitive challenges and, more often than not, claim the upper ground in each battle before it begins.

Game Theory at Work steers clear of the opaque mathematics and pedagogy that so often hamper practitioners of game theory, relying instead on lively case studies and examples to illustrate its remarkable methods in action. Complex yet comprehensible, it provides you with:

  • Methods for applying game theory to every facet of business
  • Strategies for instantly improving your position in virtually any negotiation
  • Game theory techniques to increase the output—and value—of each employee

At its essence, business is a game, albeit a profoundly serious game that must always be played to win. Game Theory at Work is the first plain-English examination of the use of game theory in business. Let it provide you with the intellectual tools you need to instantly understand every game you're playing, use that knowledge to your advantage, and consistently maximize your finish-line payoff.

"Game Theory at Work won't teach you about power-chants, discuss the importance of balancing work and family, or inspire you to become a more caring leader. This book will instead help you out-strategize, or at least keep up with, competitors inside and outside your company."—From the Introduction

Like Sun Tzu's timeless The Art of War, Game Theory at Work is about knowing your adversary as well as yourself. It is also about using that knowledge to prepare yourself for victory.

But above all, this one-of-a-kind book is about dramatically improving your strategic instincts and decision-making skills—and emerging victorious—in virtually any business encounter.

Introduced by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern in their 1944 book Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, and further honed through the decades by thought leaders including Nobel Prize winner John Nash, game theory analyzes strategic interactions in which the outcomes of various choices depend on the choices of others. Game Theory at Work applies this innovative tool to the world of business, and provides a step-by-step framework for using game theory to improve your on-the-job success in areas including:

  • Negotiating
  • Managing
  • Pricing
  • Positioning
  • Establishing strategic alliances

More than that, however, Game Theory at Work is a one-of-a-kind tool to battle the high costs of indecision. It shows you how to enter any encounter confident in how others will act, and then use game theory to base your strategies and actions on this knowledge. Case studies, puzzles, and, yes, games demonstrate why unexpected and often paradoxical results are the norm when humans compete, and help you use this fact to your advantage. And, chapter-ending lessons highlight essential rules learned.

... All in a book that is both absorbing and entertaining, designed to improve your business instincts without requiring the use of needless mathematics or theoretical mumbo-jumbo.

Everything in life is competitive in one way or another, and game theory has revolutionized the art and science of what to look for—and how to act—when engaged in competition. Game Theory at Work studies the use of game theory in today's hard-fought business arena, and shows you how to use it to gain maximum advantage in every professional encounter, whatever your role in that encounter.

An easy-to-follow, non-technical approach to using game theory in every business battle Game theory has become entrenched in today's business world. It has also often required oppressive and incomprehensible mathematics. Game Theory at Work steers around math and pedagogy to make this innovative tool accessible to a larger audience and allow all levels of business to use it to both improve decision-making skills and eliminate potentially lethal uncertainty.

This proven tool requires everyone in an organization to look at the competition, guage his or her own responses to their actions, and then establish an appropriate strategy. Game Theory at Work will help business leaders at all levels improve their overall performance in:

  • Negotiating
  • Decision making
  • Establishing strategic alliances
  • Marketing
  • Positioning
  • Branding
  • Pricing

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071400206
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/13/2003
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 826,810
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

James Miller, Ph.D., J.D. is assistant professor of economics at Smith College. Dr. Miller has written over fifty articles on diverse topics from game theory to Greek Mythology, e-commerce, and military strategy. His work has appeared in popular and professional resources including the Orlando Sentinel, The Weekly Standard, International Review of Law and Economics, and Journal of Information, Law and Technology, and the Internet sites for National Review, CNBC, and Fox News.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Threats, Promises, and Sequential Games 7
3 The Dangers of Price Competition 43
4 Simultaneous Games 51
5 Massive Coordination Games 85
6 Nash Equilibria 101
7 Prisoner's Dilemma 115
8 Adverse Selection 151
9 Surviving with Limited Information 163
10 Price Discrimination and Other Pricing Strategies 183
11 Holdups 195
12 Spending Other People's Money 207
13 Managing Employees 223
14 Negotiations 241
15 Auctions 249
16 The Stock Market 257
17 Further Readings and References 265
App.: Study Questions 271
Notes 293
Index 299
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Customer Reviews

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( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    Very Easy Read, Substantive

    Many undergraduate business students discover Game Theory in microeconomics. Typically, a professor will let students to play the Prisoner¿s Dilemma or a simple Threat and Promise game. Afterwards, the professor whips out the Nash Equilibrium to explain how firms do their best given what its competitors are doing. Then it is off to Monopolistic Competition.<BR/><BR/>If they¿re lucky when they take an upper-level micro course, they might discuss Adverse Selection or Price Discrimination. But rarely do business schools offer a course on Game Theory. If they do, it¿s an elective or an MBA-600 course. This is unfortunate because applied Game Theory can provide future managers with real tools for responding to changes in the competitive landscape, something Strategic Management courses, with their emphasis on financial decision-making, cannot.<BR/><BR/>Game Theory is a branch of applied mathematics that tries to quantify decision making. But in Game Theory and Work: How to Use Game Theory to Outthink and Outmaneuver Your Competition (McGraw Hill, 2003), James Miller steers clear of mathematics and presents case studies and examples that illustrate how business owners, managers, and employees can make better decisions.<BR/><BR/>If you¿re an economics student looking for an in-depth discourse on Game Theory, this book isn¿t for you. It¿s written to be a primer. Miller answers why neighborhoods can¿t be ethnically diverse (mass coordination often leads to homogenous outcomes); why landlords require security deposits (the one who doesn¿t gets all the deadbeats); why most revolutions produce narcissistic, brutal governments (to gain power, one must be willing to kill); and other real-world examples.<BR/><BR/>Miller also discusses negotiation tactics, managing employees, and the stock market.<BR/><BR/>Game Theory at Work is a very easy read, substantive, and provides a list of other books and references for anyone who wants to build his knowledge of the topic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2004


    I felt that this book, Game Theory at Work explained the basics very well in a very understandable manner while slipping in a little humor here and there. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in game theory and wants to see what it is about.

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