Game-Changer: Game Theory and the Art of Transforming Strategic Situations

Game-Changer: Game Theory and the Art of Transforming Strategic Situations

by David McAdams


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A radically new, and easily learned, way to outstrategize your rivals.

“The wise win before they fight, while the ignorant fight to win.” So wrote Zhuge Liang, the great Chinese military strategist. He was referring to battlefield tactics, but the same can be said about any strategic situation. Even seemingly certain defeat can be turned into victory—whether in battle, business, or life—by those with the strategic vision to recognize how to “change the game” to their own advantage.

The aim of David McAdams’s Game-Changer is nothing less than to empower you with this wisdom—not just to win in every strategic situation (or “game”) you face but to change those games and the ecosystems in which they reside to transform your life and our lives together for the better.

Game-Changer develops six basic ways to change games—commitment, regulation, cartelization, retaliation, trust, and relationships—enlivened by countless colorful characters and unforgettable examples from the worlds of business, medicine, finance, military history, crime, sports, and more.

The book then digs into several real-world strategic challenges, such as how to keep prices low on the Internet, how to restore the public’s lost trust in for-charity telemarketers, and even how to save mankind from looming and seemingly unstoppable drug-resistant disease. In each case, McAdams uses the game-theory approach developed in the book to identify the strategic crux of the problem and then leverages that “game-awareness” to brainstorm ways to change the game to solve or at least mitigate the underlying problem.

So get ready for a fascinating journey. You’ll emerge a deeper strategic thinker, poised to change and win all the games you play. In doing so, you can also make the world a better place. “Just one Game-Changer [is] enough to seed and transform an entire organization into a more productive, happier, and altogether better place,” McAdams writes. Just imagine what we can do together.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393349894
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 12/15/2014
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 495,754
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

David McAdams is a professor at the Duke University Fuqua School of Business. He is a leading scholar, popular teacher, and game-theory business consultant. He lives with his wife and children in Durham, North Carolina.

Table of Contents

Prologue 11

Introduction 13

Part 1 The Game-Changer's Toolkit 25

Chapter 1 Commit 27

Game-Theory Focus 1 The Timing of Moves 46

Chapter 2 Invite Regulation 56

Game-Theory Focus 2 Strategic Evolution 68

Chapter 3 Merge or "Collude" 78

Game-Theory Focus 3 Equilibrium Concepts 93

Chapter 4 Enable Retaliation 103

Chapter 5 Build Trust 115

Chapter 6 Leverage Relationships 128

Summary: How to Escape the Prisoners' Dilemma 145

Part 2 The Game-Changer Files 149

File 1 Price Comparison Sites 153

File 2 Cod Collapse 162

File 3 Real Estate Agency 169

File 4 Addicts in the Emergency Department 179

File 5 eBay Reputation 194

File 6 Antibiotic Resistance 211

Epilogue: The Triumph of Game-Awareness 235

Acknowledgments 239

Notes 245

Index 279

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