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on 19 May 2014
I got this book with a measure of trepidation having read the other reviews. From what I could gather this was an impenetrable text which would yield no understanding whatsoever. Given that I'm not so hot at maths I didn't know if it'd be helpful, but I needed some kind of beginners text on Game Theory so that I could figure out what on earth was being talked about in my law and economics papers.

I was very pleasantly surprised. Granted, I didn't get everything straight away, and unlike most other Very Short Introductions, which I was usually able to shoot through in one reading, I found myself puzzling over some of the stuff in this one. However, with a bit of effort I finally figured it out. The book is tough, but so is the subject matter. If you're prepared to spend some time, often frustrating time, with this book, you'll get a lot out of it.
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on 28 April 2016
A very poorly written book. What is needed in a short introduction is a text that does not need extensive analysis to extract the meaning. The examples do not seem to illustrate the essentials of game theory in a clear way and are in any case not clearly described. All in all I would not recommend the book to anyone who does not already know the subject well.
One person found this helpful
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on 1 December 2010
I tried to like this book but it basically fails to do its job. He writes quite well but to put it simply it is useless as an introduction to game theory. He doesn't explain it at a simple enough level for the general reader.
There are other books that do a far better job.
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on 30 November 2014
This book is an over-condensed review of the main developments in game theory. It is not accessible to the reader new to the subject as there are too few diagrams and too little exposition of the how the various positions are derived.
In addition, there is much claimed for game theory but this is based on types of auctions which have been around for centuries!

There are many more suitable and better written books on the subject.
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on 26 October 2014
As others have mentioned, this book is very difficult to understand without a prior knowledge of the basics of game theory. The principles and games given are not fully explained and the books jumps on from one topic to the next without fully concluding what it was previously discussing. Overall it was next to useless, especially as an introduction to the field.

That said, I would certainly not discourage people from trying other Very Short Introductions. I own and have read several others, particularly those covering things like relativity and quantum theory and they have all been very well written and exceptionally easy to understand. This book was a very disappointing hiccup in an otherwise excellent series.
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on 29 March 2016
Game Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

Positive:
- Well written: Covers plenty of knowledge in a comfortable to read style
- A great insight into the game theory from a holistic view
- Perfect for students or people with an interest in this subject: The text will deepen your passion for the many different models, decisions and situations.

Improvements:
- For an individual entirely new to the game theory, it may be hard to follow some parts without reading a few times or having some previous knowledge

If you found my review beneficial, please mark it as helpful. If anyone has any questions, please do leave a comment to my review and I'll get back to you.
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on 1 August 2014
An excellent little book for beginners or refreshing knowledge
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on 27 May 2013
I brought and read this book following read A Very Short Introduction to Choice Theory. The choice theory book had a chapter on game theory which was interesting and I thought that I would enjoy A Very Short Introduction to Game Theory. I would say however this VSI is rather below par. It is certainly not all bad and a number of the chapters such as the one on conventions were well written and easy to understand, however other chapter are not so.

Some of the ideas are expressed in the form of diagrams and as such I it is important to understand the diagrams to see what Binmore is driving at otherwise it is likely that the subject matter will just wash over you, but understanding the diagrams is not all that easy. The same is true of mathematical examples that are given. The problem seems to stem from the lack of space in this book. as such the space required to explain the mathematics or the diagrams is not available and in many cases I have to admit that I cannot work out some of the mathematical examples and this has rather undermined my confidence in my mathematical abilities, something that should be considered a real failing in an introductory book as introductory books should be about building confidence and enthusiasm. This is further compound by the fact I have found genuine mistakes in this book indicating real editing problems. One concept I have consistently struggled with is that of indifference between two pure strategies. This concept is important to understand in terms of mixed strategies (i.e. mixing your pure strategies in an optimal ratio). This is certainly an area where a more expansive explanation would have been useful. Personally I do not see if it is all about the payoffs or the probabilities of receiving those payoffs or are combination of both. As this volume was rather long meant that there was not room at the end of the book for a glossary that is a useful addition to other VSIs and something this VSI would have benefited from.

I question who the target audience for this book are. having read it twice and have struggled with it hard I think it is more aimed at those who are studying a maths degree, perhaps 1st year maths students or perhaps people with an innate ability in maths greater than my own (I certainly do not lay claim to much ability). If you are a general interest reader who would like to learn something about game theory this might not be the book for you. If you do wish to persist I have attached some notes (as comments) on mistakes, my interpretations of some of the diagrams and some of my mathematical workings (please don't laugh if my approach is all wrong - I was trying to understand the maths with little help from Binmore)

I would like to point out that Binmore seems to enjoy taking pot shots at Immanuel Kant throughout this book. I only raise this point as Binmore is rather self-congratulatory and immodest in his belief that he has proved Kant wrong and that his book on morals causes offence to some moral philosophers. I think Binmore's attitude is rather off putting and I believe his position is based on a misunderstanding, conflating categorical and hypothetical imperatives (I've added a 3rd comment to explain this further if anyone is interested).
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on 5 March 2016
A little above my normal read.
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on 2 July 2017
Good book
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