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An Introduction to Game Theory [Hardcover]

Martin J. Osborne
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 64.86
Price: 48.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

2 Oct 2003 0195128958 978-0195128956
An exposition of modern game theory suitable for advanced undergraduates. The book emphasizes the ideas behind the theory rather than their mathematical expression, but defines all concepts precisely. Covers strategic, extensive, and coalitional games, and includes the topics of repeated games, bargaining theory, and evolutionary equilibrium.

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An Introduction to Game Theory + A Course in Game Theory + A Primer in Game Theory
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 552 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA (2 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195128958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195128956
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 19.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"This is a textbook to be enjoyed both by professors and students, full of clever and often original applications and examples. Serious students who use this text are likely to emerge with a new way of thinking about much of what they see in the real world."--Ted Bergstrom, Professor of Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara"The book is just superb. I anticipate (based both on my own reading of the book, and comments from colleagues at other institutions) that this will be the standard text for introductory courses in game theory in political science departments for the foreseeable future."--Scott Gehlbach, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Wisconsin"What distinguishes this book from other texts is its remarkable combination of rigor and accessibility. The central concepts of game theory are presented with the mathematical precision suitable for a graduate course, but with an abundance of wide-ranging examples that will give undergraduate students a concrete understanding of what the concepts mean and how they may be used."--Charles A. Wilson, Professor of Economics, New York University"A great book, by far the best out there in the market in thoroughness and structure."--Dorothea Herreiner, Assistant Professor of Economics, Bowdoin College"The ideal textbook for applied game theory . . . . It teaches basic game theory from the ground up, using just enough clearly defined technical terminology and ranging from traditional basics to the most modern tools."--Randy Calvert, Professor of Political Science, Washington University in St.Louis"The approach is intuitive, yet rigorous. Key concepts are explained through a series of examples to guide students through analysis. The examples are then followed by interesting and challenging questions. The main strength is the impressive set of exercises . . . they are extremely well organized and incredibly broad, ranging from easy questions to those for adv

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Its a book that really makes you think. You have to think in unconventional ways, with a range of diagrammatic approaches to solve problems that look pretty on paper. The text is sometimes too dense, however, and the problems serve to illustrate every different scenario possible under the analysis, which means that no two are ever alike, however if situations are similar the answers required can be also. Owing to the dissimilarity of questions, its not necessarily the best book one can revise from (for exams), as an important component for exams is getting a feel of the type of questions through repetition.

Another MAJOR BUMMER is that the author refuses to give out the answers. He grants permission to Game Theory teachers to give out hard-copies, but given that the answers take up 200 pages some teachers are (understandably?) apprehensive to printing out such paper as they only require their students to answer a selection of questions. The problem is if someone is independently studying, they have no way to check their progress. However, someone has kindly uploaded a scanned copy of the answers on a torrent site (search for An introduction to Econometrics), and it can be downloaded (though I'm not sure of the legality of this).

That said, the text is dense and you have to wade through the specialised notation, but once you solve a problem successfully, it makes the high that much more.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bought for University course 15 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Good book, very informative and extremely useful for my University course. Lots of mathematics and heavy reading to be expected!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars unsatisfied 7 Feb 2013
By ll
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This item is not a hardcover version which is different from the image, and it is damaged. In addition, the cover is very dirty.
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Amazon.com: 2.7 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best introduction book that you will love! 26 Oct 2004
By bookworm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have quite a few game theory books, including the Fudenberg and Tirole, the Gibbons, the Mayerson and the other Osborne book. This one is absolutely the best introductory book you will find. The writing is extremely clear, with no unnecessary math, but with very rigorous treatment of concepts and theorems. The author makes remarkable effort in explaining the stuff, and succeeds beyond my expection in offering intuitions and ideas behind the concepts and theorems. It is a perfect intro-level book, if what you want is the combination of accessibility, rigor, and comprehensiveness.
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the Mathematically-Inclined 30 July 2006
By Amol Shelat - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I used Osborne's book for an introductory course on game theory I took as an undergraduate. While Osborne provides a great general overview of game theory, I find this book lacking in a number of respects.

First, theorems are presented in this book inuitively, as opposed to rigorously. Therefore, in place of using proofs to justify a theorem or a given result, many of the theorems are illustrated through words. This method, however, proves to be confusing at many points in the book.

In addition to this, the book is heavily invested in the use of examples to illustrate the numerous applications of particular theorems or results. While I generally applaud the extensive use of examples, this also proves to be very confusing at times since the logical steps Osborne seems to make are not always explicitly stated. This caused me some trouble in trying to solve several problems in the textbook. The one saving grace was that Osborne has posted several (though not all) solutions on his website.

This book does require knowledge of algebra and a little calculus. Some microeconomic theory wouldn't hurt, either--especially for the sections on Stackelburg and Cournot duopolies. Becuase most economics programs in the US stress mathematics, I would recommend an alternative textbook that is more rigorous. Principally, I used Roger Myerson's "Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict" to supplement the shortcomings of this book. Myerson's book is thoroughly rigorous and is, I believe, used as a graduate textbook for game theory in many departments. If, however, you are interested in a general overview of the field or do not feel comfortable with technical mathematics, I would definately recommend this book.
32 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Read the fine print before you buy... 6 Sep 2006
By S. Shutters - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As a grad student preparing for his comprehensive exams, I searched long for an exemplary introduction to game theory. The descriptions of this book which I found on the web led me to believe Osborne's book was the one I needed. The book starts off promising enough. The preface exclaims that "the only way to appreciate the theory....is to put it into action" and that over 280 exercises will allow you to do this.

Then comes the part they don't tell you - those 280+ exercises have no solutions. They are not included in the text. Even after contacting the author he refused access to the solutions.

So what may have just been the best intro to game theory ever done is useless to a self-motivated learner. The only purpose I can see that it serves is as a required text book for a course.

Bottom line - unless you HAVE to have this for a class, don't waste your money. It will be very wisely spent elsewhere.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Intro Book 18 Dec 2005
By Barney Glaser - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a into great book that works well in companion with the more advanced "A Course in Game Theory," by Osborne and Rubinstein. That said it is not layperson's guide to Game Theory, if such a thing could possibly exist.

Complaints of a pervious reviewer seem unfounded. Yes, game theory requires math. Game thoery, like most other theory, is also not packaged to be directly ported to the "real world." It requires the use of stylized models to make any ground. Figuring out how to apply a subject like game thoery to the real world is not something that can really be conveyed in a book. Rather, one should try to internlize the concepts contained in the thoery by working simple examples.
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unreadable and Useless 11 Dec 2008
By Heraclitus Junior - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I had the misfortune of having this book as the required text for a course. It was expensive, unreadable and useless. Osborne avoids basic mathematics to the extent that he uses symmetry to find the turning point of quadratics. This is extremely frustrating because while he shuns basic mathematical techniques and ideas that can make matters simpler, he presents basic game theoretic ideas in a dense, abstruse mass of mathematical symbols. I have a lot more experience in pure mathematics than in economics, but even I found all the symbols and arcane functions difficult to digest, especially when the idea being presented could be expressed FAR more clearly and concisely using a few words.

There are no proofs, very few theorems and very few realistic applications. The book is neither suited to those mathematically inclined individuals who are interested in the theoretical game theory nor to those interested in real life applications.

If you love mathematics, stay away from this book, the lack of proofs and rigour will frustrate you. If you hate mathematics, stay away from this book, the abstruse symbols and obfuscated explanations will frustrate you.

By far the worst textbook I've bought.
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