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# Prisoner's Dilemma

Should you watch public television without pledging?...Exceed the posted speed limit?...Hop a subway turnstile without paying? These questions illustrate the so-called "prisoner's dilemma, " a social puzzle that we all face every day. Though the answers may seem simple, their profound implications make the prisoner's dilemma one of the great unifying concepts of science,
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Paperback, 320 pages

Published
January 1st 1993
by Anchor
(first published 1992)

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## Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)

When is a math book not a math book? How about when it's a biography, or a history of the early Cold War years? Clocking in at 278 pages, this book is sort of three books in one. It's kind of a look at Game Theory. Sometimes it's a biography of John Von Neumann, and then at other times it's a primer about early Cold War paranoia and the beginning of the arms race.

All three are pretty interesting subjects, and they are intertwined in ways that are fairly obvious (or at least fairly obvious if on ...more

اگرچه رویکرد تاریخی نویسنده کتاب برای شرح و تفهیم نظریه ی بازیها به نظر جذاب و موفق به نظر می آید اما روند کتاب نشان از آنست که این رویکرد به پاشنه ی آشیل آن بدل شده است.کتاب برای شروع به دانستن نظریه ی بازیها اصلا مناسب نیست و آشنایی قبلی لازم به نظر میرسد و تنها برای گرفتن اطلاعات تاریخی و آشنایی با تعدادی از بازیها مطرح بد نیست

خوب بخش های جذاب کتاب(با در نظر نگرفتن ترجمه ی افتضاح و فرض اندکی اطلاعات پیشینی) یکی ، اتفاقات جنگ سر ...more

Decent read despite being pulled in those directions. Neumann was a fascinating man. Very neat to get some insight into the minds of that time... especially Bertrand Russel of all people.

Simultaneously one of the most over and underrated areas of mathematics, game theory has many applications in the behavioral sciences. The classic example of this is illustrated by the problem known as the prisoner’s dilemma. Each arrested person must make a decision as to whether they should keep silent or confess and implicate both of them based on how they think the other person will act. Both gain the most by sil ...more

The nexus is the cold war fascination with the PD as a mechanism for strategic analysis of the arms race. Unfortunately, game theory was seized upon as a means of ...more

Poundstone seems determined not to suffer a similar fate. "Prisoner's Dilemma" tackles the fairly popular, ...more

The Prisoner's Dilemma of the title is a well-known problem described by game theory (and r ...more

The book's take on historic cold war events is superficial. However, the discussion is more than simply the backdrop discussion. One gets some strange insights into the thinking of many who shaped the world. However, as with the other subjects, one is left wanting more.

The focus on Van Neumann often appears needless. One is never clear, despite heavy assertions, why he should be considered a cut above the rest ...more

*Prisoner's Dilemma*touches on a very interesting and thought-provoking topic. While it is based on game theory, the actual political examples (e.g. the nuclear arms race) mentioned by the author help bring out the reality and complexity of the problem. As the author puts it, "the only satisfying solution to the prisoner's dilemma is to avoid prisoner's dilemmas." It may sound like a cop-out, but it does address the core issue - we are all rational and irrational creatures at the same time, and t ...more

the middle part is less interesting unless of course you like history.

but i must say this book provides a good overview on game theory, especially to someone new on the subject

key takeaways from the book:

(1) provides scientific explanation on why ppl would be motivated to defect (rather than cooperate) given the chance to go behind someone's back. And why economically speaking, it' ...more

Like, wikipedia on game theory is much more understandable than this and wikipedia is BLOODY OBSCURE when it comes to niche mathematical terms. That was how unreadable it got. The two sta ...more

شايد به خود بگوييد كه احتمال بروز اين موقعيتها در زندگي براي من نزديك به صفر است ولي به نظر من قرار نيست آدم حتما به جايي بسته شده باشد و راه نجاتش دكمه باشد اين موقعيت ...more

Poundstone does a great job of describing game theory in a variety of applications, from very simple cases to more complex ones. He not only describes the basic mechanics, but also explains why people sometimes view its results as paradoxical.

My only problem with the book is that it's more of a history book than it is a game theory primer. There's only a few games actually explained and pretty much no math at all.

Goo ...more

1. a concise biography of John von Neumann

2. a concise overview of post WWII cold war arms-race politics

3. game theory and the prisoner's dilemma

Very quick read that never really digs deep into the subjects. You can imagine because each of the above three subjects can easily fill a tome by themselves. I really enjoyed it though and I would recommend it to anyone interested in either of the above topics.

I feel like the math presented was accurate but the prose used to justify it was a little wishy-washy in places. It smacked of "left as an exercise for the reader" without explicitly saying so.

I was frequently annoyed because the von Neumann biography tended to interfere with the game theory history, rather than complement it.

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William Poundstone is the author of more than ten non-fiction books, including '

More about William Poundstone...
*Fortune's Formula*', which was the Amazon Editors' Pick for #1 non-fiction book of 2005. Poundstone has written for The New York Times, Psychology Today, Esquire, Harpers, The Economist, and Harvard Business Review. He has appeared on the Today Show, The David Letterman Show and hundreds of radio talk-shows throughout t ...more## Share This Book

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