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Thinking Strategically: The Competitive Edge in Business, Politics, and Everyday Life

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  2,916 ratings  ·  120 reviews

The international bestseller — don't compete without it! A major bestseller in Japan, Financial Times Top Ten book of the year, Book-of-the-Month Club bestseller, and required reading at the best business schools, Thinking Strategically is a crash course in outmaneauvering any rival. This entertaining guide builds on scores of case studies taken from business, sports, the

Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 17th 1993 by W. W. Norton Company (first published January 1st 1991)
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Riku Sayuj
Oct 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book on game theory. The examples from history, literature and from every day life make the discussions lively and entertaining. Mathematics and complex reasoning is kept to a minimum and conversational, easy-to-follow logic is generally adopted. The case studies at the end of each chapter helps to sum up understanding and we can easily breeze through the book with the assurance that the final chapter of case studies will refresh any idea that we might be unclear on. All in all, a grea ...more
Apr 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is how a book should be written.

It is a fantastic introduction to game theory for the intelligent layman. It covers strategic decision making for innumerable scenarios, including but not limited to: poker, political campaigns, takeover bids, business negotiations, baseball pitches, bargaining, labor relations, tax audits, and nuclear war. The authors strike the perfect blend of in-depth coverage of the technical topics, like Bayes theorem, with concrete examples illustrating the concepts. T
Ami Iida
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: the people intersted in game theory
Shelves: game-theory
It is a book to learn the game theory from basic.
This book is ideal as introduction to game theory.
Learning the game theory by using the game.
It is to incorporate all the basic essence of game theory.
Jun 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
Oh game theory! I agree with the fact that knowledge of how to play games matters but this book was more academic than mainstream. Economics is a dismal science though, and this book does not even make an effort examining moral implications of many games.

Things I learned:

- To improve the effectiveness of your backhand in tennis, improve your forehand so your opponent respects (and plays more) against your forehand.

- When you're #1 in the industry, let the competitors drive the innovation and imi
Tin Wee
Dec 05, 2011 rated it liked it
A primer on game theory - it attempted to explain the main concepts in lay language, without going too much into the maths. Found portions difficult as some examples were drawn from baseball and american football, which I'm not familiar with. Still, there are many other interesting examples that will warp your brain. Some of the mathematical explanations were also beyond me. My main grouse with game theory is that it assumes that players are logical, which is apparently not true all of the time. ...more
Kathryn Davidson
Jun 07, 2016 rated it liked it
The book focuses on game theory as strategy. The overview of the game theories is decent. Unfortunately, the authors attempt to convert everything to a quantifiable value that can then be run through standard formulas. Personally, I think a lot of the quantification is highly qualitative and therefore isn't quite as straightforward as it's made out to be in the book. ...more
John Blackman
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book should really be called an introduction to game theory. I certainly enjoyed it as a way to think about problems and reduce them to a polynomial equation that solves for a particular variable. You can take this a step further and find local minimum and maximum in any given function to find optimal solutions which is essentially what is most of modern machine learning. The hard part is getting an accurate function to define your problem which generally takes a lot of data. This book was ...more
Kolagani Paramahamsa
It's not one of those 'motivation' books, the caption for the book is misleading. Application of strategies in all walks of life-sports, casinos, business, politics, and everyday life-using case studies are presented in this book. Although majority of the case studies are explained based on rudimentary concepts in game theory, there are instances of using probability and psychology concepts as well. Overall, a very good no non-sense read, which is not very thought provoking but interesting in mo ...more
Prakhal Goyal
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic read! Inundated with examples of politics, sports, and business. Relevant case studies are provided post chapters. An active mind is required while reading the book. Definitely a mind expanding book!
Sandy Maguire
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: high-value
Fantastic introduction to game theory. I would highly recommend this book to everyone I've ever met. ...more
Stephanie Carr
Not what I was expecting but some fun mental exercises nonetheless.
Alex Petkus
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very interesting, quick, and easy read. The only dry section was about 20 pages on politics, of the ≈ 376 pages; somewhere around 280. The politics section, in my opinion, is more about winning for the sake of winning and less about winning with meaning, principles, or a philosophy in mind; basically, become as bland and ordinary as possible, more ordinary than the people you are running against, and you will be more likely to win that election- that is a major waste of time and a loss in my b ...more
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I decided to read this book after we started the "Game Theory" topic at university. I started with listening Audible version but later understood that, for this book, illustrations are important. My main conclusion is that the book is a great introduction to the Game Theory.

The book provides us with a good overview of strategic principles. One of its advantages is that the authors give a lot of examples from various industries and life situations, which helps to better understand the theory. The
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
A charming and enjoyable introduction to game theory and its practical applications in business and politics.

Written with a suitably low expectation of prior knowledge, the plain language made grasping some of these otherwise difficult concepts that much easier. Once you get a hold of some of these ideas, its impossible not to see them EVERYWHERE in ordinary life.

Key ideas included recognizing when you're playing "simultaneous move games" as opposed to "sequential move games." In sequential mov
Aug 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Thinking strategically is an excellent book for those interested in Game Theory or gaining a better understanding of how to effectively react to the oppositions move in various situations within business, sports and personal life.

The way in which each subject is outlined is brilliant; an introduction to an idea followed by a simplistic example then a case study to ensure that the reader fully comprehends the matter in discussion.

The only reason that I did not rate this above a three was due to
This is a qualified 4-star. The examples are somewhat dated as the book was written in 1990, and they do have a decidedly American flavour to them. This feels like a book written by people at Harvard business school, *for* people at Harvard business school. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

The major take aways:
- Look to the last action and reason backwards. This will help you recognise and avoid forced moved.
- There are differences in outcome depending on whether the game you are playing
Moshe Zioni
Jun 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: economics, self-help
It should have been titled the same but with the prefix: "A General Introduction to"-

Sometimes, to cram load of examples into one book doesn't make it readable - but irritating, to me, anyway.

Another thing that disappointed me with this book is that it constantly trying to get around the math without acknowledging it directly and the result is excessive use of words over a simple matter, and to put things worst - there is not even an appendix that explores the far reaches of the subject to those
Roberto Quijano
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
During this pandemic, I decided to enter the world of game theory. As a lawyer by training, numbers do not come to me naturally; however, there is great potential in incorporating them into my practice. Broadly defined, game theory is the mathematical analysis of decision making. Humans make decisions every day, few humans make strategic decisions every day. Being one of the latter is a lot more advantageous than being one of the former. Success lies with those that make the best decisions. How ...more
Brian Mcleish
Feb 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Tough going but a good overview of game theory as it applies to strategy.
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business
Skip to Part 3 and save the time
Sanjay Dixit
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great book to understand Game theory and thinking ahead process. It's very technical and little hard as you need to concentrate if you want to solve problems mentioned in the book ...more
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
- On "hot hand": while psychologically speaking, such perception during sports is only a psychological illusion: even throwing coins, with large enough sample size, will result in multiple repeated same face. Yet, the perception of "hot hand" might make opponents to focus on such player more, resulting in lesser performance of such player, but better performance of rest of the teammates.

- Decisions that's made case-by-case and without a grand overall view often lead to undesirable overall outcom
Duygu Dagli
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am still working through this book. It is a great introduction to game theory and demonstrates how it can be used in real life. This can be a great supplementary book for students learning game theory and need further examples or anyone who would like to have an overall understanding of game theory without going into the mathematical details, Nash equilibrium and etc.

One thing which has been missing so far (25% of the book) is what one should do when parties have incomplete/imperfect informati
Dustin Knighton
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book. The book goes through basic concepts of game theory in detail, using examples and diagrams to break down a concept. The book is written in a way that explains a concept then expands upon the subject with examples and case studies. The examples are great for explaining concepts and make this book an interesting and informative read. The authors use real-life examples that all people can relate to in everyday life as well as political, business, and military games. The c ...more
Domas Markevicius
Jan 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I came to Thinking Strategically with already sparkled interest in game theory and read it just out of curiosity. The book is driven forward by examples. That's not a bad thing by itself, but I found them too artificial, dry and bookish quite often, not to mention all of the baseball and American football ones (somehow a fact that not all readers would be from North America was overlooked). In general it was slow and low-energy read which failed to capture my full attention and imagination. Some ...more
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great book to use as an introduction to Game Theory with numerous real-world examples.If you're interested in Game Theory, this book is great for you.

If you aren't but want to learn how to "think strategically" this could be a start but by no means a comprehensive guide to thinking strategically as not all strategic thinking stems from Game Theory. The title "Introduction to Game Theory: Given with the real world examples" would've been much more accurate. I say this because the examples give
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoy math, statistics, and strategy so this book is great. Since I am not an expert in any of those fields it was a little tough to follow at times (or should I say just plain over my head). It is certainly a great book that I will read a couple more times to fully grasp. The subject must intrigue you or you will not enjoy the book. The author explains everything very clearly so it is certainly something that can be reread and understood. One of my major issues was that I tried to list ...more
Pedro Pinto
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pricing
Good introduction to the game theory topic (my rating would be 3.5)

You can clearly date the book based on the examples given, but nonetheless worthwhile Reading. Sometimes the cases are too simple and sometimes, in a couple of exemples, the rationale is not presented clearly that obliges the reader to go back and forth in the books pages to grasp it.

For all interested in the subject (that should be at least every economist, financier or manager), opens the door to this importante topic that wil
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I woke up one morning and I decided that I want to learn more about game theory, mainly affected by Prof. Daskalakis of MIT and his Nash theorem proof. The book describes in detail game theory concepts and how these can be applicable in business. I would categorize it more as an academic read, and for a niche audience. Not easy to read and not really with a captivating flow. But I dont think this was its purpose. I would recommend it to anyone that wants to learn about game theory, and has at le ...more
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: beginners to game theory, prospective economics majors
This book covers applications of basic game theory very well. The first part will focus on introducing you to game theory from the very basics (payoff tables, dominant strategies, prisoner's dilemma, etc.) The rest of the book is a multitude of ways game theory and strategic thinking can be applied to life. Some of the examples very too simple for me, however, I was pleasantly surprised by ~5 examples.

Do NOT read this cover to cover; try to skim through and skip case studies that you already kno
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Avinash Kamalakar Dixit (born August 6, 1944 in Bombay, India) is an Indian-American economist. He is currently John J. F. Sherrerd '52 University Professor of Economics Emeritus at Princeton University, Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Economics at Lingnan University (Hong Kong) and Senior Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford.

Dixit received a B.Sc. from Bombay University in 1963 in Mathe

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