Thursday, March 18, 2010 - An Excellent Resource on Game Theory

We started "Mediating the Litigated Case" with the Prisoner's Dilemma, a classic exercise in game theory. If you don't know the Prisoner's Dilemma, you can find a brief definition here. This got me interested in reading more on game theory, which I've been doing for the last month or so.

Game theory, generally speaking, is a branch of mathematics that seeks to identify optimal strategies, or solutions, to given problems. For example, in the Prisoner's Dilemma, game theory teaches that each player's dominant strategy is to defect, regardless of the strategy chosen by the other player. This may seem counter-intuitive, since the two players collectively would fare better if neither sought to maximize his own outcome, but it is correct. Game theory may sound exotic and may engender fear in those who say they "don't like math," but it's an incredible analytical tool that has been used in war planning, business and management, economics, law, and sociology. Anyone who is interested in how people interact -- and that means everyone -- should take a little time to understand the basics of game theory.

One tremendous resource for those interested in learning more is It includes links to books, lecture notes from undergraduate, masters, and PhD level courses, and interactive materials that help explain game theory concepts.

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