The most recommended game theory books

Who picked these books? Meet our 28 experts.

28 authors created a book list connected to game theory, and here are their favorite game theory books.
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Book cover of Games, Strategies, and Decision Making

Felix Munoz-Garcia Author Of Game Theory: An Introduction with Step-by-Step Examples

From my list on learning Game Theory.

Who am I?

I am a Professor of Economics at Washington State University. My research focuses on applying Game Theory and Industrial Organization models to polluting industries and other regulated markets. I analyze how firms strategically respond to environmental regulation, including their output and pricing decisions, their investments in clean technologies, and merger decisions, both under complete and incomplete information contexts.

Felix's book list on learning Game Theory

Felix Munoz-Garcia Why did Felix love this book?

This is an excellent, non-technical introduction to game theory, covering most topics, including incomplete information games and evolutionary game theory.

Packed with real-life examples, along with humorous and historical notes, the book is appropriate for undergraduate students from different majors, including political science, history, psychology, and biology.

The book focuses on presenting topics at the undergraduate level, avoiding difficult notation and jargon, and minimizing the math, thus not being a good fit for technical courses in game theory at the Master's and Ph.D. levels, but again, it’s one of the best introductions to game theory for non-technical readers currently available.

By Joseph E. Harrington Jr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Games, Strategies, and Decision Making as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written for majors courses in economics, business, political science, and international relations, but accessible to students across the undergraduate spectrum, Joseph Harrington's innovative textbook makes the tools and applications of game theory and strategic reasoning both fascinating and easy to understand. Each chapter focuses a specific strategic situation as a way of introducing core concepts informally at first, then more fully, with a minimum of mathematics. At the heart of the book is a diverse collection of strategic scenarios, not only from business and politics, but from history, fiction, sports, and everyday life as well. With this approach, students don't…


Book cover of Essential Poker Math, Expanded Edition: Fundamental No Limit Hold'em Mathematics You Need To Know

Jared Tendler Author Of The Mental Game of Poker: Proven Strategies for Improving Tilt Control, Confidence, Motivation, Coping with Variance, and More

From my list on poker that every player needs to read.

Who am I?

I’m a leading expert in how your mental game impacts performance. For over a decade I’ve coached hundreds of poker players, including some of the best players in the world. My clients include numerous bracelet winners at the World Series of Poker, and winners of other major titles. I have a passion for helping players become great, and many of them have climbed the ranks to become among of the best in the world. Whatever you aspire to in poker, whether it’s making some money off your friends or competing in the WSOP, be sure to pick up the books I’ve recommended—they can make a big difference! 

Jared's book list on poker that every player needs to read

Jared Tendler Why did Jared love this book?

This book is one of the best-selling poker books of the modern era despite the author not being a household name. It is a brilliant and dense primer on poker math with the amateur in mind. Other poker math books have arguably been written with a more expert tone, but this one is ideal for a beginner.

By Alton Hardin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Essential Poker Math, Expanded Edition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Expanded, Updated & Greatly Improved

New Expanded Edition Includes:

More Than 150 Pages of New Material with Greatly Expanded Content and 4 New Chapters Over 75 Carefully Devised Practice and Example Poker Hands That Are Analyzed in Great Detail Free Enrollment into My 10-Hour Essential Poker Math eLearning Online Video Training Course Poker Math Is Easy to LearnPoker math is a vitally important aspect of No Limit Hold’em poker. But, it's often overlooked or simply not used because many poker players fear it is too difficult to learn. I'm here to tell you it’s not. In fact, fundamental poker math…


Book cover of Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets

Steven K. Vogel Author Of Marketcraft: How Governments Make Markets Work

From my list on how markets really work.

Who am I?

I first got interested in how markets really work when I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation on the “deregulation” movement in the United States, Western Europe, and Japan. I quickly discovered that deregulation never happened in the literal sense. In most cases, governments had to increase regulation to enhance market competition. They needed more rules to get “freer” markets. This sounds paradoxical at first, but it really isn’t. It makes perfect sense once you realize that markets do not arise spontaneously but rather are crafted by the very visible hand of the government. So I took that insight and I have been running with it ever since.

Steven's book list on how markets really work

Steven K. Vogel Why did Steven love this book?

McMillan offers a highly readable and concise book on how economists understand market institutions.

I love to assign this book to my undergraduate students because McMillan makes sense of some fairly complex topics, such as auction design. And he covers a wide range of topics of current interest, such as corporate governance and intellectual property rights.

By John McMillan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Reinventing the Bazaar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the wild swings of the stock market to the online auctions of eBay to the unexpected twists of the world's post-Communist economies, markets have suddenly become quite visible. We now have occasion to ask, "What makes these institutions work? How important are they? How can we improve them?"

Taking us on a lively tour of a world we once took for granted, John McMillan offers examples ranging from a camel trading fair in India to the $20 million per day Aalsmeer flower market in the Netherlands to the global trade in AIDS drugs. Eschewing ideology, he shows us that…


Book cover of Mixed Signals: How Incentives Really Work

John A. List Author Of The Voltage Effect: How to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale

From my list on changing the world and/or yourself.

Who am I?

My passion is using field experiments to explore economic questions. Since the early 1990s I have generated more than 200 papers published in academic journals using the world as my lab. That’s what we do as academics. The problem is that locked away in these journals is an enormous amount of wisdom and insights that can not only help the realm of academia, but also change the world as we know it. The brilliant authors of these books unlock the ideas and knowledge found in the academic papers that are full of jargon and math, aimed towards a narrow audience, and put them in language aimed towards the masses where real change can be implemented.  

John's book list on changing the world and/or yourself

John A. List Why did John love this book?

Many people are now aware of the power of incentives. However, it is not hard to find examples of times when incentives and signals do not align.

Take an example addressed in this book: organizations highlight teamwork but use individual incentives. Incentives and signals can help you achieve your goals, but you must make sure that incentives are signally what you intend.

My co-author of The Why-Axis and many academic papers, Uri Gneezy, combines learnings from behavioral economics, game theory, psychology, and fieldwork to teach you to do just that. You will learn how to ensure that your incentives send the signal that you want. 

By Uri Gneezy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mixed Signals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An informative and entertaining account of how actions send signals that shape behaviors and how to design better incentives for better results in our life, our work, and our world

Incentives send powerful signals that aim to influence behavior. But often there is a conflict between what we say and what we do in response to these incentives. The result: mixed signals.

Consider the CEO who urges teamwork but designs incentives for individual success, who invites innovation but punishes failure, who emphasizes quality but pays for quantity. Employing real-world scenarios just like this to illustrate this everyday phenomenon, behavioral economist…


Book cover of Video Games Save the World

Kat Schrier Author Of We the Gamers: How Games Teach Ethics and Civics

From my list on why games might save humanity.

Who am I?

I first realized the power of games when I won the Geography Bee in my elementary school. I had been playing Carmen Sandiego, which encouraged me to study maps and read almanacs. I started to see how games could motivate interest in all different topics. But I didn’t realize I could make games until I was a graduate student at MIT, and I made an augmented reality game to teach history. Since then I have been designing games to inspire connection, care, and curiosity. I am Associate Professor and Director of Games at Marist College, and I have designed media for organizations like the World Health Organization, Scholastic, and Nickelodeon.

Kat's book list on why games might save humanity

Kat Schrier Why did Kat love this book?

So games just may help solve the world’s problems. Let’s share the news with everyone, including kids! Video Games Save the World does just that. It uses kid-friendly language, examples, and illustrations of how gaming is helping us make positive change. For instance, it talks about the fantastic organization Games for Change, and all different types of games including indie games and VR games.

By Heather E. Schwartz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Video Games Save the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To save the world, one must play video games. Sounds ridiculous, right? But in reality many people are looking to video games to tackle many of the world's problems. Take a closer look at the ways in which video games can help save the world.


Book cover of UX Magic

Jeff Johnson Author Of Designing with the Mind in Mind: Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Guidelines

From my list on making digital technology usable and useful.

Who am I?

I have been designing user interfaces since graduate school at Stanford, where I studied psychology and computer science. Over the five decades since then, I have designed many digital products and services, learning a lot about how to make them usable and useful. Two decades ago, I turned more towards sharing my knowledge and experience through writing (articles and books) and teaching (professionals and students). I’ve taught at Stanford University, Mills College, the University of Canterbury (New Zealand), the University of San Francisco, and at professional conferences and companies. Google invited me twice to speak in their Authors @ Google series, and ACM and SIGCHI have given me several awards.

Jeff's book list on making digital technology usable and useful

Jeff Johnson Why did Jeff love this book?

I like this book because it fills a gap in the UI/UX design process: getting from requirements to a final design. 

The title – UX Magic – is actually an insider joke among UI/UX designers: many software development managers believe expert UX designers somehow magically conjure up good designs from requirements.  There’s nothing magic about it. 

Instead, we use knowledge of human perception, cognition, and learning, task analysis, conceptual analysis, UX design guidelines, prototyping, and usability testing to narrow down and weed out design alternatives and progress towards good designs. 

Dan’s book explains how to do that.

By Daniel Rosenberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked UX Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It takes conviction to title a user experience book that stands solidly on a cognitive science foundation as “Magic” but through the practice of the Semantic Interaction Design method this breakthrough book introduces, you will appear to many as possessing superhero UX powers. The Semantic IxD method is laser focused on transforming product requirements into experiences guaranteed to result in the minimum cognitive load with the smallest number of screens and fewest flow steps possible. An additional benefit it provides is a 10X speed increase at which designers can achieve these magical results. It provides an antidote to the expensive…


Book cover of Lecture Notes in Microeconomic Theory: The Economic Agent

Felix Munoz-Garcia Author Of Advanced Microeconomic Theory: An Intuitive Approach with Examples

From my list on advanced microeconomic theory.

Who am I?

I am Professor of Economics at Washington State University. My research focuses on applying Industrial Organization to polluting industries and other regulated markets. I analyze how firms strategically respond to environmental regulation, including their output and pricing decisions, their investments in clean technologies, and mergers decisions, both under complete and incomplete information contexts.

Felix's book list on advanced microeconomic theory

Felix Munoz-Garcia Why did Felix love this book?

A short presentation of consumer and producer theory (no game theory or contract theory), very rigorous, and with some interesting examples.

Challenging exam exercises at the end of the book. Last but not least, the eBook is available for free from Prof. Ariel Rubinstein’s website.

While most students may find it too succinct to be the only reference in PhD Microeconomics courses, it is probably one of the references several students use (seeking different explanations and examples) at top PhD programs.

By Ariel Rubinstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lecture Notes in Microeconomic Theory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book presents Ariel Rubinstein's lecture notes for the first part of his well-known graduate course in microeconomics. Developed during the fifteen years that Rubinstein taught the course at Tel Aviv University, Princeton University, and New York University, these notes provide a critical assessment of models of rational economic agents, and are an invaluable supplement to any primary textbook in microeconomic theory. In this fully revised and expanded second edition, Rubinstein retains the striking originality and deep simplicity that characterize his famously engaging style of teaching. He presents these lecture notes with a precision that gets to the core of…


Book cover of Stability and Perfection of Nash Equilibria

Guilherme Carmona Author Of Existence And Stability Of Nash Equilibrium

From my list on game theory.

Who am I?

I grew up listening and participating in discussions about politics. These discussions often ended up on Economics – after all, “it’s the economy, stupid!”. Game theory, by being very broad and focused on strategic interactions, served as a very rewarding unifying apparatus for my understanding of Economics. It is also very beautiful and elegant, combining the austere beauty of pure mathematics with insights from elegant literature – I was pleased to cite Graham Green’s Our Man in Havana in a recent paper. It has accompanied me in a 20-year career since my PhD in Economics at the University of Minnesota to my current professorship in Economics at the University of Surrey.

Guilherme's book list on game theory

Guilherme Carmona Why did Guilherme love this book?

An excellent textbook on game theory which is unashamedly advanced: no shortcut is taken, no distractions, no simplifications, rather it goes straight to the point and all the details are there.

It is a great book for researchers to learn the important topics in game theory and its fine details. 

By Eric van Damme,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stability and Perfection of Nash Equilibria as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I have been pleased with the favourable reception of the first edition of this book and I am grateful to have the opportunity to prepare this second edition. In this revised and enlarged edition I corrected some misprints and errors that occurred in the first edition (fortunately I didn't find too many) and I added a large number of notes that give the reader an impression of what kind of results have been obtained since the first edition was printed and that give an indication of the direction the subject is taking. Many of the notes discuss (or refer to…


Book cover of No-Limit Hold 'em For Advanced Players

Alton Hardin Author Of Essential Poker Math, Expanded Edition: Fundamental No Limit Hold'em Mathematics You Need To Know

From my list on poker every serious poker play should read.

Who am I?

I’m the founder and lead instructor at MicroGrinder Poker School, arguably, the most prominent micro stakes poker school, and I’m fascinated by poker. I started playing poker as a hobby, and it soon became an obsession. I delved into poker theory, seeking to understand the game’s nuances. And as my game improved, I wanted to share my success with others. I’ve always been passionate about teaching, so I started MicroGrinder Poker School. Between my best-selling poker books and 35+ courses, I’ve helped over 80,000 poker players improve their poker game drastically.

Alton's book list on poker every serious poker play should read

Alton Hardin Why did Alton love this book?

As you move up in stakes, whether that be live or online, you need to start developing an understanding of game theory. Matthew Janda, an excellent theoretical mind in poker, wrote this book for just that reason—to analyze and discuss poker from a game theory perspective using PokerSnowie and PioSOLVER. If you’re just starting out with game theory optimal (GTO) play, this should be one of your first reads.

By Matthew Janda,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No-Limit Hold 'em For Advanced Players as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 2003 poker was put on television and no-limit hold em quickly became the most popular form of poker played in casinos, public cardrooms, and on the Internet. At first, because of the newness of the game to most participants, they could be easily be beaten by players with only a moderate knowledge of sophisticated strategy. But today, this is no longer the case.

Even though no-limit hold em is not, from a Game Theory perspective, a solved game, many ideas and concepts which come from this branch of mathematics now play an important role in a strong, winning no-limit…


Book cover of Where Are the Customers' Yachts? Or a Good Hard Look at Wall Street

Matthew P. Fink Author Of The Unlikely Reformer: Carter Glass and Financial Regulation

From my list on American financial history.

Who am I?

I was always interested in American history and studied at Brown University under an outstanding professor of American economic history, James Blaine Hedges.   During my career at the mutual fund association I often approached issues from an historical perspective. For example:  Why did Congress draft legislation in a particular way?  How would past events likely affect a regulator’s decisions today?  As a lawyer I had been trained to write carefully and precisely.  As a lobbyist I learned the need to pre

Matthew's book list on American financial history

Matthew P. Fink Why did Matthew love this book?

Although this book was written over 80 years ago it remains the most humorous and educational book ever written about securities investing. While its focus is on the 1920s, it is dead on point today. Only the names have changed. I’ve read this book a number of times. On each occasion, I laugh a lot and learn a lot.

By Fred Schwed,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Where Are the Customers' Yachts? Or a Good Hard Look at Wall Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Once I picked it up I did not put it down until I finished...What Schwed has done is capture fully-in deceptively clean language - the lunacy at the heart of the investment business' - From the Foreword by Michael Lewis, Bestselling author of "Liar's Poker". '...one of the funniest books ever written about Wall Street' - Jane Bryant Quinn, "The Washington Post". 'How great to have a reissue of a hilarious classic that proves the more things change the more they stay the same. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent' - Michael Bloomberg. 'It's amazing how…