Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life [NOOK Book]

Overview

Praised by Entertainment Weekly as “the man who put the fizz into physics,” Dr. Len Fisher turns his attention to the science of cooperation in his lively and thought-provoking book. Fisher shows how the modern science of game theory has helped biologists to understand the evolution of cooperation in nature, and investigates how we might apply those lessons to our own society. In a series of experiments that take him from the polite confines of an English dinner party to crowded supermarkets, congested Indian ...
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Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life

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Overview

Praised by Entertainment Weekly as “the man who put the fizz into physics,” Dr. Len Fisher turns his attention to the science of cooperation in his lively and thought-provoking book. Fisher shows how the modern science of game theory has helped biologists to understand the evolution of cooperation in nature, and investigates how we might apply those lessons to our own society. In a series of experiments that take him from the polite confines of an English dinner party to crowded supermarkets, congested Indian roads, and the wilds of outback Australia, not to mention baseball strategies and the intricacies of quantum mechanics, Fisher sheds light on the problem of global cooperation. The outcomes are sometimes hilarious, sometimes alarming, but always revealing. A witty romp through a serious science, Rock, Paper, Scissors will both teach and delight anyone interested in what it what it takes to get people to work together.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Physicists know Len Fisher as a Nobel Prize–winning colleague. Readers know him as "the man who put the fizz in physics" and the author of How to Dunk a Doughnut. Just as his first book applies the laws of physics to our everyday sugar craving, Rock, Paper, Scissors explains what game theory can tell us about the myriad ways we interact. Dr. Fisher's lively exposition won't strain any reader's sanity; indeed, it's notable for its accessibility and verve. Who could not be entertained by his discussions of baseball strategies, supermarket shopping, and the apportioning of family chores?
Publishers Weekly

Physicist and Ig Nobel Prize-winner Fisher (How to Dunk a Doughnut) explores how game theory illuminates social behavior in this lively study. Developed in the 1940s, game theory is concerned with the decisions people make when confronted with competitive situations, especially when they have limited information about the other players' choices. Every competitive situation has a point called a Nash Equilibrium, in which parties cannot change their course of action without sabotaging themselves, and Fisher demonstrates that situations can be arranged so that the Nash Equilibrium is the best possible outcome for everyone. To this end, he examines how social norms and our sense of fair play can produce cooperative solutions rather than competitive ones. Fisher comes up short of solving the problem of human competitiveness, but perhaps that is too tall an order. Game theory works better as a toolkit for understanding behavior than as a rule book for directing it. Fisher does succeed in making the complex nature of game theory accessible and relevant, showing how mathematics applies to the dilemmas we face on a daily basis. (Nov.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786726936
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 11/4/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 321,892
  • File size: 369 KB

Meet the Author

Len Fisher, Ph.D., is Visiting Research Fellow in the Physics Department at the University of Bristol. He is the author of Weighing the Soul and How to Dunk a Doughnut, which was named Best Popular Science Book of 2004 by the American Institute of Physics. He has been featured on the BBC, CBS, and the Discovery Channel, as well as in newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, and more. He is the recipient of a 1999 IgNobel Prize for calculating the optimal way to dunk a doughnut. He lives in Wiltshire, England, and Blackheath, Australia.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

1 Trapped in the Matrix 13

2 I Cut and You Choose 33

3 The Seven Deadly Dilemmas 55

4 Rock, Paper, Scissors 91

5 Let's GetTogether 107

6 Trust 127

7 Tit for Tat 155

8 Changing the Game 181

Conclusion - Individuals Can Make a Difference: The Top Ten Tips 195

Notes 201

Index 257

About the Author 265

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 13 of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fun game theory guide

    Len Fisher, an award-winning author of popular science books, has written an entertaining, enlightening and practical guide to the abstruse discipline of game theory. Fisher shows how game theory explains phenomena as mundane as why spoons go missing from a coffee break room, as ingenious as rabbinical problem solving in the Talmud and as fateful as global warming. getAbstract finds that his lively writing invites a wide audience. Fisher engages lay readers by elucidating an intensively mathematical subject without heavy reliance on equations or jargon. His treatment of the subject makes game theory appear only slightly more complicated than child's play. In fact, he often uses children's games to illustrate the role of game theory in daily life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2009

    You should be up for this Game Theory book - Rock, Paper, Scissors

    "This book reveals the pervasiveness of game theory in everyday life and does it in an entertaining way. Fisher outlines basics of the "Prisoner's Dilemma", one of the most common game theory principles and other examples like the "Tragedy of the Commons". You will recognize these models once they are explained and begin to see them played out everyday at work or with your family. Questions like what happened to all those spoons in the office kitchen, are answered and a few more significant ones as well. Fans of thought provoking books will find this a worthwhile read. And if you play Rock, Paper, Scissors it gives some hints how to win more often.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2010

    Worse book I've ever opened.

    I got the book today because my college is making all newcomers read it. I'm on page twenty-five and have never read 25 pages worse than that. It's completely incomprehensible to me, boring, useless, and confusing. It's written in a way that only a genius can understand. I'm already considering putting the book down (in the trash) and transferring schools.
    0/5 stars.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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