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# Prisoner's Dilemma: John von Neumann, Game Theory, and the Puzzle of the Bomb

by

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. Watc
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## Get A Copy

Paperback, 320 pages

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

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Start your review of Prisoner's Dilemma: John von Neumann, Game Theory, and the Puzzle of the Bomb

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

John Von Neumann had a deep understanding of many of the most advanced ideas of his time. He also made critical contributions to many projects that were mostly shaped by other people. This makes a description of his life and ideas a formidable challenge.

I have run across his contributions to computer science and was familiar with the extremely high r ...more

For my money, I rounded up this volume in search of more information about Dr. Neumann. Norman Macrae's biography and the material in Richard Rhodes' magisterial works on the Atomic and ...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

Overall, I think this book is a great source of information for laymen or folks that enjoy pop-science, especially for those who think that game theory is fun and that its applicati ...more

The prisoner's dilemma is frustratingly vexing. I can only draw a few conclusions:

1) If we each were willing to be made a fool, none would be foolish at all.

2) ...more

I get that much of the Cold War stand offs are reducible to elements of Game Theory, and that reduction is interesting to observe. But the book spent entirely too much time discussing the Cold War and many elements that just weren't directly pertinent to the conv ...more

See my Twitter thread https://twitter.com/wilte/status/1173... ...more

Jun 25, 2017
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I picked this up in Long Beach when I was living there from Oct 1991-Mar 1992. Very good.

The math wasn't thrilling, but I liked the part about Von Neumann and the bomb.
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