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Game Theory 101: The Rationality of War

Game Theory 101: The Rationality of War [Kindle Edition]

William Spaniel

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Product Description

Product Description

William Spaniel, author of Game Theory 101: The Complete Textbook, returns with a compelling exploration of the origins of war. Using the same crystal clear logic of the Game Theory 101 series, he investigates important questions about war, including:

1) Can two perfectly intelligent, perfectly unbiased leaders still send their countries to war with each other?

2) Why has Iran taken its nuclear program underground (literally)?

3) Why did the United States--the clear victors of the Spanish-American War--nevertheless write a check for more than $500 million to make Spain surrender?

4) Why do most interstate wars end in peaceful compromise and not the military defeat of one side?

5) Why do virtually all civil wars end the opposite way, and what makes the few peacefully settled civil wars different from the rest?

6) How do nuclear weapons--humanity's deadliest creations--paradoxically keep the peace?

7) Why is war the worst possible outcome of a crisis negotiation?

8) What is the difference between preventive and preemptive war, and why on earth does the media use these terms interchangeably?

9) Why are states as trustworthy as poker players at the bargaining table?

10) Why do states willingly pick fights with stronger opponents and yet pacify weaker opponents?

William Spaniel answers these questions by constructing game theoretical models of crisis bargaining. Fully illustrated, with more than 100 images, The Rationality of War will make you rethink everything you "know" about political violence. As consumers and producers of war, it is a must read for any citizen of a liberal democracy.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1386 KB
  • Print Length: 150 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008X12GIW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #134,117 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

William Spaniel is a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Rochester, creator of the popular YouTube series Game Theory 101, and founder of You can email him at or follow him on Twitter @gametheory101.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and Elegant. 13 April 2014
By Paulo R. Ribeiro - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is elegant. The most complicated math it uses is multiplication, but they model war decently enough to study its main factors. You still need some math tolerance to read it, though, because it relies a lot in math proofs (even if simple, it can be tiring).

Some interesting insights on strategy and on conflict resolution.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War in a whole new light... 31 July 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book! I'll never look at war the same way again. The author does a very good job at explaining why certain countries may go to war; even using mathematical equations to prove it.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars First Run at Game Theory 4 May 2014
By fjness - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found Game Theory to be a very constructive thought tool for microeconomic analysis of decision making, but I think it may be too simple in the analysis of war. William Spaniel explains the theory well and keeps his writing concise and clear. That said, I would have liked more historical examples to demonstrate the validity of the theory prior to trying to prove it.
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