Friday, January 1, 2010

Games Played by Len Fisher

The subtitle of the book is a variation on its "real" title: Game Theory in the Everyday Life of Len Fisher. While pleasant, and somewhat helpful as an introduction, a better book is struggling to get out.

Rock, Paper, Scissors is best read by reading the chapters in reverse order. Fisher really wants to write about trust and how to gain it, by realizing that game theory not only describes situations (the seven dilemmas identified by Nash equilibriums), but also identifies methods for breakthroughs. Various problems in everyday life (mainly Fisher's!) and some business/political ones can be identified, then addressed. This is good stuff. Knowing the Ultimatum and Centipede games provide value.

A reader upon completion will most likely believe that while the book was worth the time and effort, a better book should be available with more interesting examples, that would have been MORE worth the time and effort. It's as if Fisher "mailed" it in. He couldn't have spent more than a few weeks (if that long) writing it. It's merely a money-maker that doesn't show great depth of knowledge or effort by the writer, but it is understandable.