2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A good, all-round read about the childhood of game theory,
This review is from: Prisoner's Dilemma: John Von Neumann, Game Theory and the Puzzle of the Bomb (Paperback)
The book is loosely centered on John v. Neumann's life and career; people and topics it also covers are the rise of the RAND Corporation from a wad of cash the Air Force didn't know what to do with after the Second World War, and how it came to be the world's focal point for research in Game Theory and other odd and unlikely subjects. It mention in passing John Nash and the equilibrium carrying his name, Bertrand Russel and his involvement in cold war diplomacy - the time span it covers is, as hinted in the title, from before the cold war to towards its end.
On the subject of game theory, it gives a comfortably non-technical introduction to the field, where everyone can read along without getting lost in pages many of equations. Even though the center of it all is game theory, it wanders to and fro between the game theoretic field, a biography of J v. Neumann, and the developments and people of Game Theory thoughout the decades, and international politics under the shadow of a nuclear weaponized age. In this case, this is however a plus, as I feel the author manages to do this without causing too much of a dense of discontinuity, and besides, seeing the wider aspects of the discipline put into practise (or rather, attempted...) makes for good perspective. And sometimes with outrageous humor, as well.
All in all a very enjoyable little book about a very interesting subject.