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Rational Ritual: Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge
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Rational Ritual: Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge

3.21  ·  Rating Details ·  163 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Why do Internet, financial service, and beer commercials dominate Super Bowl advertising? How do political ceremonies establish authority? Why does repetition characterize anthems and ritual speech? Why were circular forms favored for public festivals during the French Revolution? This book answers these questions using a single concept: common knowledge.

Game theory shows
ebook, 145 pages
Published January 6th 2003 by Princeton University Press (first published May 7th 2001)
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Indrit Nikjari
Dec 13, 2016 Indrit Nikjari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From this book on you'll understand how little you knew about why humans sit in round tables. Mark Zuckerber listed this first on his initiative A Year Of Books in 2015.
Angela Hart
Dec 04, 2016 Angela Hart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When does habit become ritual? When it is a private or public ritual?
My Review:
Apr 18, 2015 Daniel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A little random, but let me start with my favorite exchange from Game Of Thrones:

Varys: 3 great men sit in a room. A king, a priest, and a rich man. Between them stands a common sellsword. Each great man bids the sellsword kill the other 2. Who lives, who dies?

Tyrion: Depends on the sellsword.

Varys: Does it? He has neither crown, nor gold, nor favor with the gods.

Tyrion: He has a sword, the power of life and death!

Varys: But if it's swordsmen who rule, why do we pretend kings hold all the power?
Apr 13, 2016 Sasha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not like this book one bit. It's main blessing is that it is short, though this is mainly because I am a busy lady with more than one book to read in a lifetime. If we're being realistic, it should have been longer, because Chwe may then have had to expand on some of the very many hazy concepts. One of the issues with books that try to tie together 35,000 different things is that the chances of covering any of those things well decreases.

For instance, this central concept of social vs non
May 14, 2015 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Chwe pushes the limits of game theory to cultural rituals in an awesome manner.
That the active process of a coordination problem situation is attained through clear-cut communication is beyond doubt the principle the drives information/knowledge transfer in the social media and mob actions. Viral social media effect as well as iterative ritualistic communication in mob-like situations find application in every sphere of human endeavour where community and social influence is key to succe
Maggie Rudzinski
The thought behind this short book wanders some, but the theory is an interesting one. The book outlines "coordination problems" as problems where social needs (in order to participate, I want/need support from others in my community) demand that the participants are aware of the knowledge, intentions, and even meta-knowledge (I know that you know that I know, and you know that I know that you know that I know) of the other participants. I found the implications of that to be very interesting. I ...more
What did I just read? It felt like the introduction chapter was rewritten for each chapter hammering in the same points that were made in the first chapter. Not all that informative, explains metaknowing aka knowing others know and know they know others know too. Goes into some detail about how and why commercials work and why circular seating is ideal. That is about it and it just kept reexplaining this over and over again. The book’s examples are outdated, it was originally published in 2001 s ...more
I read this because it was a recommendation by Mark Zuckerberg but I can now see why, the topic of group psychology is very much what Facebook is involved in.

I didn't enjoy the book at all, it's only 100 pages but I couldn't wait to get it over with but I dare say the aim of the author was not that of entertainment.

I assume the aim was to educate but I feel that it failed on that as well.
Yes, I took away some knowledge about "coordination problems" and "common knowledge" but not as much was pr
Jun 26, 2016 Karen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
* 20 books Mark Zuckerberg thinks everyone should read

Zuckerberg thinks this book by UCLA economist Michael Suk-Young Chwe can help its readers learn how to best use social media.

"The book is about the concept of 'common knowledge' and how people process the world not only based on what we personally know, but what we know other people know and our shared knowledge as well," Zuckerberg writes.

Chwe's idea may sound complicated, but it's essentially a breakdown of the psychology behind people's in
Rachel Kahn
It was a short read, which was nice. Basically about how economic game theory and other economic principles can be applied to basic social interactions, popularity, and why we might buy things. I enjoyed reading it-found it easy. One other reviewer wanted to know about social media. I think he touched on it in the post-script, and I could see a lot of the basic principles being applied. However, I also think that could be a whole other book.

Also, this author wrote a whole book about how Jane Aus
Karel Baloun
One solid interesting study, a mathematical analysis of acquired data about Super Bowl advertising, was extended to over 100 pages by conceptually tying it to just about anything, from various novels to the idea that Athenian democracy worked because they had 120 annual public rituals, and by adding 20+ pages of citations.

The mathematical model in the appendix could I guess be useful for modeling idealize group behavior, or programming AI to simulate it.
Arjun Narayan
Dec 28, 2015 Arjun Narayan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this JEL review by Vince Crawford:

If you are not convinced, read the other reviews (The Economica review makes for good critical reading post-book as well.

This book is a must-read. I have little else to say because it would just be a rehash of what the book itself says in much superior form.
Apr 21, 2015 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is possibly really a thesis? It sure reads like one but was chosen as one of Zuckerberg' s books. It was mildly interesting (I read much more interesting things in college marketing classes), until I took the time to read the diagrammed game theory in the appendix. Love game theory - and I feel it really tied the rest of the "book" together.
Seguramente para un matemático o economista puede ser fascinante, para mí resultó ser muy largo y aburrido para una idea muy simple: la mejor manera de resolver problemas de coordinación es a través del "common knowledge", y la mejor manera de obtener esto son los rituales de nuestra sociedad moderna.
Nick Huntington-Klein
A very interesting concept, briefly introduced. A little ad hoc and inconsistent in parts when it comes to defining what is or is not common knowledge (in particular a mass communication received individually is treated as common in some parts and not others). The data analysis is pretty weak too. Still, an interesting application of game theory and certainly makes sense. Worth checking out.
Theo Anagram
Jun 16, 2015 Theo Anagram rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a short book but the concept is quite powerful. Once read you will start under standing society a bit better. I would advise everyone to pick this up and speed read through it. It does get quite technical and dry at some parts. For the technical nerds it is quite nice. :)
Apr 04, 2015 Joanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zuck-s-books
another Zuck book. I liked the message of this one better. The writing is clear and unassuming; there is a lightness to Chwe's touch. I also appreciated his ability to cite examples from a wide range of fields.
Janette Mcmahon
Apr 23, 2015 Janette Mcmahon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This read like a sociology article on how people communicate and why it is an entire book I do not understand. The author repeats much of what is said at the beginning over and overaking this a long short book. If you have read anything newer about communication or marketing, nothing here is new.
Alex Devero
Apr 21, 2015 Alex Devero rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
To solve coordination problems, we need common knowledge: information that we know, and know that other people know, and so forth. The creation of this common knowledge can be seen as one of the purposes of cultural practices, rituals and media events like the Super Bowl.
Jenny Zhan
Jan 02, 2016 Jenny Zhan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has gave me so much inspirations on culture differences and mutual understanding. And, through this book, I seem to be able to see what a future, better world would be like and challenges and ways of overcoming those challenges.
Mar 22, 2016 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book had some interesting facts about advertising and anthropology, but there was not much that struck me as original. It was a fairly short book yet I felt it still managed to belabor points.
Bucky Hussain
Dense reading. Super dense. Could easily mistake this for a thesis if I didn't know better. Lots of cool applications to this information that are unfortunately glossed over
Arnoldas Rogoznyj
Arnoldas Rogoznyj rated it liked it
Jan 11, 2017
Vanya rated it liked it
Jan 03, 2015
John rated it really liked it
Jan 17, 2015
Jackie rated it did not like it
Oct 16, 2016
Stanley rated it really liked it
Feb 03, 2015
Akram El-korashy
Akram El-korashy rated it liked it
Apr 30, 2016
Farhan Hamid
Farhan Hamid rated it liked it
Jul 20, 2015
chirantha rated it it was ok
May 07, 2016
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“Common knowledge depends not only on me knowing that you receive a message but also on the existence of a shared symbolic system which allows me to know how you understand it.” 1 likes
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