When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn More.
Game theory is an interesting field for strategic decision makers which follows a rule based behavior. Since it is a mentally challenging area, many find it tricky to understand the dimensions of game theory.
Though, reading the subject matter out of a textbook can be of some help for those who are attempting to learn something in this field. We have compiled a few such books which are highly recommended for learners.
7 Best Books on Game Theory & Reviews
1. Finite and Infinite Games
Author: James Carse
Publisher: Free Press
This book is our top pick on this list because it directs the reader to the subject of game theory with purposeful words and a compelling climax. With the least amount of fuss, the author has drawn an engaging plot for his readers. And amazingly, he manifests the direction in which he wants the readers to be headed, right from the beginning.
The author makes a stark introduction to the concepts of finite and infinite games, after which he illustrates their meaning and explains them deeply with the help of relevant examples. His conceptualization of the facts and thoughts in the book is a clear portrayal of his knowledge and interest in the field of game theory. Thus, the readers will find their attention spanning around the fluidity of his text with relative ease.
It is worthy to note that the author journeys several concepts and questions in the few pages of this book without teasing the interest of the reader. But the elegance with which he lays out his observations and insights is highly commendable. He turns his gaze around the events in the world and makes an attempt to portray them in the context of game theory. Thus, the readers find it immensely illuminating to their understanding and along the way, find an opportunity to learn the basics of game theory.
This book has gained international fame and there is no uncertainty regarding its merit.
Summary: The book takes the reader through thoughtful knowledge of game theory. Reading this book might empower the reader to take the first steps in the direction of playing an infinite game, depicting the power of this book.
2. Game Theory 101: The Complete Textbook
Author: William Spaniel
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
This book is a user friendly and fuss free textbook on game theory which claims to be an introduction to matrix and game tree game forms. The author has designed the content of the book in a manner that takes the reader through various game structures, in order of increasing complexity. And at the same time, the author does not limit the content and goes on to explain in detail about the necessary tools to walk through them. Given its context, the book will prove to be an efficient resource. Thus, students in the field of microeconomics and political science can make use of this textbook.
The readers will discover that the author has effectively transmitted his ideas on game theory through lucid words and stimulating examples. The reader is saved the hassle of breaking and simplifying the text in understandable terms and it is relieving to find the author agree that game theory is a challenging field of study. Plus, the readers might find the plethora of tools given near the end of the book highly useful. Though they are meant to be an introductory level resource, readers might be compelled to go through them over and over again to gain understanding in them.
The author also introduces a comprehensive introduction to the concepts of game, and theory. This book is an excellent resource for learners and students who require a crisp and direct format of words. Thus, it can be said that this book is a practical guide and quite useful for teachers as well as students.
Summary: The readers will find that this book is rich in content and explanations to vital terms. However, the presentation of the same tends to go off track at some points which hinders its total efficiency.
3. Thinking, Fast and Slow
Publisher: FSG Adult
This is a highly popular and award winning bestseller and it is indeed not without merit! The author of this book happens to be a renowned psychologist and a Nobel Prize winner too. In this book, the author uses a systematic approach to divulge the topic of game theory. He describes his thought process with the use of two systems and ensures that his approach is clearly elucidated and expanded with tactical logic. Thus, he is able to tap the various methodology behind various judgements and decisions which are part of human life.
In the first half of the book, the author makes a strong attempt to convince the reader to think strategically. In doing so, he brings intuitive and instinctive thinking in the bad light. He uses a huge number of case studies to support his hypothesis. Thus, the reader might find themselves getting convinced about the astute superiority of statistical thinking.
The author has used a structure of depicting his thoughts through short chapters and has also included a case study in each one of them. These studies might be helpful for readers to make sense of the authors thought process. It is just that a lot of them add up to form redundancy in the content.
Summary: It may happen that the readers find this book difficult to grasp but valuable too. Nevertheless, the book is helpful to learn a handful of concepts with a stunning, and insightful approach.
4. Game Theory: An Introduction
Author: Steven Tadelis
Publisher: Princeton University Press
This book is an excellent pick for readers who are looking for an introductory gateway to game theory. It is noteworthy to mention that the book follows a comprehensive approach, right from the beginning and presents a friendly introduction to the concepts of game theory. The idea followed by the author here is that of educating the novice reader.
The author has penned his knowledge in a way that it remains accessible to the reader through lucid words. The author begins his book with a concise approach and his ideas seem to have evolved with the support of rational decision making. The book divulges complete information by covering a vast horde of topics and replete content.
The author makes use of rational context when explaining the ideas in this book. As a result, the author is able to express a way in which decision problems can be explored. This book will prove to be useful for undergraduate and graduate grade students. The use of real world examples and analytic material will promote insightful learning from the mind.
Eventually, the author spans the core ideas of game theory and applications in the book. Readers will find a practical insight into a static and dynamic game using wholesome information. Thus, with the addition of examples, applications and exercises, the reader will be able to understand the context of the book completely.
Summary: The readers will find that the author has made a vast coverage of topics in this book. But what catches the attention of the reader is the ease of depiction and the fluidity of the language.
5. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Game Theory: The Fascinating Math Behind Decision-Making
Author: Edward C. Rosenthal
This book is an excellent resource for readers, charged by rigorous insights and contributions from the author. Readers should be prepared to face the swing of strategic thinking, powered by the ideas portrayed in this book. The author makes an active proposal to instigate the idea that most people act out of a competitive inspiration and the will to turn things in their favor.
To demonstrate his ideas, the author takes the support of mathematical models. He further makes an addition to his ideology by stating that the actions of others can be anticipated. The readers will discover down to earth examples and solutions in this book and various charts and illustrations to grasp the overall idea of game theory.
Some other prominent elements of the book to look out for include the role of social behavior. Thus, the author succeeds in bringing this book in the limelight with his insightful approach and highlighting the importance of game theory.
Significantly, this book will bring to light the essence of game theory and in doing this, the author has taken a road that puts the book in a unique position. With experience, the author makes a stark note of the difference between the real world game theory and its fictional character.
Summary: This book is the perfect blend of words, facts and ideas. The author has made a commendable effort to introduce the subject of game theory since the reader will rejoice the apt presentation of thoughts.
6. The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist’s Guide to Success in Business and Life
Author: Avinash K. Dixit and Barry J. Nalebuff
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
The author makes a vivid attempt to introduce game theory in the context of real world situations and with his knowledge, the author tries to drive a sense of meaningful thinking in the mind of the reader. Thus, this book manages to emerge as a guide for many readers.
In this book, the author makes several startling revelations. An explanation is given to the use of human virtues in dismantling the essence of game theory. Eventually, the reader is likely to grasp the essence of the ideas that the authors have tried to demonstrate through this book. Drawing from a number of examples, the authors make a connection between several incidents in daily life. Thus, there is no sparsity of liveliness in this book which will keep the readers hooked to its storyline.
What makes this book stand out is the essential difference between game theory and strategy, which the authors have chalked out for their readers with much effort. Because of its winning appeal, the book can be used by readers in everyday life and its concepts can be applied to unusual situations to obtain viable answers.
Summary: To wrap it up, this book depicts the concept of strategy, with the oversight of game theory and the authors have done a good job to outline the discipline of game theory within finite terms.
7. The Joy of Game Theory: An Introduction to Strategic Thinking
Author: Presh Talwalkar
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
If you are looking for something gripping yet entertaining, this book might be a great pick for you. The author brings forth a number of examples in the book for the benefit of the reader. Additionally, each of these is connected with the realms of real life incidents, thus, they remain highly relevant for the reader. Further, there is a fine addition of personal beliefs in the book which make it easier for the reader to grasp the subject.
Surprisingly, there isn’t a lot of mathematics and reasoning included in the book to depict the concepts. And instead, there is a thorough use of examples to illustrate the ideas and knowledge in this book. This book is perfect for many readers to get started with the concepts of game theory. In the words of the author, it may take a few hours to know what game theory is about but years to practically understand it.
Summary: This book is a suitable read for someone who does not have a background in the relevant fields of economics and mathematics but still holds interest to read about game theory and understand it.
With this, we conclude our list of the best books on game theory and we hope that you might have found something useful to read on the subject as well and would appreciate the contents of this list. These books cover a wide array of topics in the field of game theory and will prove to be enough for someone willing to learn about it. If you happen to have read something interesting other than this, please mention them below.