The best game theory books 📚

Browse the best books on game theory as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of The Strategy of Conflict

The Strategy of Conflict

By Thomas C. Schelling

Why this book?

This is the book that brought game theory to life. Eschewing dry mathematical theorems, and conducting rigorous logical analysis through rich examples of strategic use of threats, promises, and brinkmanship in real life, Schelling opened up a whole world of practical applications of the theory. My own thinking and writing about game theory owes a huge debt to Schelling. You should also read his “Arms and Influence,” “Micromotives and Macrobehavior,” and “Choice and Consequence.”

From the list:

The best books on economics and game theory

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Book cover of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

By Stephen J. Dubner, Steven D. Levitt

Why this book?

Levitt is a pioneer of, and among the most successful users of, techniques of data analysis to identify causes and effects in economics. This book, based on work that won him the Clark Medal, the economics profession’s premier prize for young researchers, gives us surprising, quirky, and delightful insights into the workings of many economic, political, and social phenomena.

From the list:

The best books on economics and game theory

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Book cover of Modern Poker Theory: Building an Unbeatable Strategy Based on GTO Principles

Modern Poker Theory: Building an Unbeatable Strategy Based on GTO Principles

By Michael Acevendo

Why this book?

This is perhaps the best poker book of the last ten years and the first great book of the GTO era. If you are a player who has been intimidated by solvers this is the best primer on what they have taught us in recent years. By no means an easy book to read, but a must for any serious player's bookshelf.
From the list:

The best books every poker player needs to read

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

Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets

By John McMillan

Why this book?

The right thinks markets are the magic solution to all problems; the left thinks they only let the rich exploit the poor. As always, the truth is more subtle. With rich details of how actual markets operate around the world, well grounded in modern economic theory of information and incentives, and written in a beautifully simple and engaging style, McMillan tells it like it is and explains why. If you have time to read only one book on economics, make it this one.

From the list:

The best books on economics and game theory

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Book cover of The Origins of Unfairness: Social Categories and Cultural Evolution

The Origins of Unfairness: Social Categories and Cultural Evolution

By Cailin O'Connor

Why this book?

O’Connor’s Origins of Unfairness uses game theory to provide “how possibly” models for how systemic discrimination and unfair conventions arise. Game theory offers a powerful tool for Realpolitik analysis, which is analyzing states of affairs that reflect agents’ material interests coupled with their power to realize them. Populations with two groups will likely end up in asymmetric conventions as divisions of labor result, and the sharing of rewards is unequal. Grasping the implications of this analysis is crucial for those seeking to go beyond the entrenched interests governing neoliberal political economy. O’Connor provides some remedies in her final chapter, and…

From the list:

The best books to move beyond neoliberalism

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

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

By Fred Schwed

Why this book?

This book is over 60 years old but so relevant today! The headline involves a brokerage firm customer looking at all the yachts owned by stockbrokers, hence the question in the title. A well-known writer friend of mine put it another way: “The broker made money, his investment firm made money, and two out of three ain’t bad.” I love this book that zeroes in on the conflict brokers have between their own interests and the interests of their clients.

From the list:

The best books to read if you want to retire with millions in the stock market

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