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Evolution and the Theory of Games [Paperback]

John Maynard Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 36.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

21 Oct 1982
In this 1982 book, the theory of games, first developed to analyse economic behaviour, is modified so that it can be applied to evolving populations. John Maynard Smith's concept of an evolutionarily stable strategy is relevant whenever the best thing for an animal or plant to do depends on what others are doing. The theory leads to testable predictions about the evolution of behaviour, of sex and genetic systems, and of growth and life history patterns. This book contains a full account of the theory, and of the data relevant to it. The account is aimed at senior undergraduate and graduate students, teachers and research workers in animal behaviour, population genetics and evolutionary biology. The book will also be of interest to mathematicians and game theorists; the mathematics has been largely confined to appendixes so that the main text may be easily followed by biologists.

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Evolution and the Theory of Games + Evolutionary Dynamics: Exploring the Equations of Life + Evolutionary Game Theory
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Product details

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (21 Oct 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521288843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521288842
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14.2 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"Of those two near-contradictory things publishers say about a book, that it is 'seminal' and that it is 'long-awaited', Evolution and the Theory of Games somehow manages to make me think of both at once....This is a book that must be read by every serious ethologist/sociobiologist....It is unmistakably a brilliant book by one of the most important contributors to ethology in its history, still at the height of his powers. The only reason we don't call him an ethologist is that he is so much else besides....the gems of wisdom and biological insight are still there on every page, and ethologists can spend many happy field sessions testing the ideas here." Richard Dawkins, Animal Behaviour

Book Description

In this 1982 book, the theory of games is modified so that it can be applied to evolving populations. Containing a full account of the theory, it leads to testable predictions about the evolution of behaviour, of sex and genetic systems, and of growth and life history patterns.

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First Sentence
This book is about a method of modeling evolution, rather than about any specific problem to the which the method can be applied. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ground-breaking and Thought-provoking 11 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an extremely interesting application of game theory to the subject of evolutionary fitness. In a game, a player has a strategy to decide which possible move to play. Game theory models this by looking at the possible outcomes from a move and the gains and losses to the player from each possible move. The best strategy maximises the gains and minimises the losses over a game or a number of games.

In biology, life, to coin a phrase, is the name of the game. For example, when an animal is defending a territory, or a mate, or both, it may be a hawk and act aggressively or a dove and run away, or have a mixed strategy (fight if I'm bigger, run away if I'm not). Usually, the mixed strategy is the evolutionary stable one (an individual with a different strategy can not invade).

The book uses examples from the animal kingdom of how these strategies are actually observed. It will change the way you watch animal behaviour ever after.

The book is technical and is to introduce the mathematics to bioligists. There are plenty of equations in there, so if that phases you, go for a more popular introduction.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
46 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic and Still Great and Readable Book 13 July 2000
By Herbert Gintis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
With this book, John Maynard Smith initiated a major strand of modern theoretical biology! The book does not require sophisticated mathematical preparation, but it operates on a consistently high level of analytical rigor. It is also very nicely written, with lots of biological examples.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible book! 22 Aug 2013
By Juliano - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is indeed a ingenious idea applied to evolutionary Biology. John Maynard Smith in his book explained in detail how Game Theory and Evolution walk side by side
3 of 121 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Games 2 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
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