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Game Sutra
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Game Sutra
Rescuing Game Theory from The Game Theorists



August 2019 | 308 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd

The telecom war between Reliance Jio and Airtel was only a preamble to the impending battle between Google and Jio.

Nitish Kumar broke the mahagathbandhan while seeming to try to bend RJD to his will.

All the schmoozing between Trump and Xi hasn’t reduced the North Korean nuclear threat.

Could we have predicted these outcomes before they actually happened?

Yes we could have—not with IQ or EQ, but with ‘Game Theoretic Quotient’. A new intelligence, a new way of looking at the world.

Game Sutra highlights the underlying strategic considerations of entities as diverse as heads of state, bitcoin miners and CEOs of internet companies to explain their decisive choices. Immerse yourself in its heady mix of cogent fact and smart analysis to develop your ‘game theoretic quotient’.

Your world will never be the same again. 

 
Preface
 
Acknowledgements
 
Game Theory Deconstructed
 
Common Knowledge and Counter-Strikes
 
How Rational Are You?
 
Does Donald Trump Deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?
 
Is Game Theory a Value-neutral Science?
 
The Centre of Gravity: The Nash Equilibrium
 
Returning to Rationality: The Prisoners’ Dilemma
 
The Vulnerability of the Chinese Corridor
 
Searching for an Equilibrium in the India–China Game
 
War and Peace in the Heartlands of Maoism
 
Is It Silly Season in Indian Telecom?
 
Designing Legal Liability Rules to Fix Delhi’s Winter Woes
 
Games Businesses Play
 
The Airtel–Jio Battle and the Limitations of Game Theory
 
Battles of the Bitcoin
 
The Collective Action Problem of Assurance
 
The Hapless Fate of an Alleged Spy
 
Telecom on the Rocks with a Twist of IUC
 
The NDA, the UPA and Two Types of Chicken
 
The Tragedy of the Planet’s Environmental Wealth
 
The Waters of Our Discontent
 
Sequential Games and Rollback Equilibrium
 
Reliance Jio’s Second-Mover Advantage
 
The 2016 US Elections: The Game of Ideologies
 
The Absolutism of Demonetization
 
Risks Posed by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code
 
Every Democracy Needs a Little Disloyalty
 
The Fine Art of Making Threats
 
Will Threats Work Against Pakistan?
 
The RBI and the Flip Flop Finance Ministry
 
Law and Order in a Time of Lynch Mobs
 
How to Play Hardball and Get Away with It
 
North Korea Is Not Really Cuba
 
Exaggeration in Brinkmanship is a Double-edged Sword
 
Pseudo-brinkmanship and the Sacrament of Marriage
 
The Twist in the Tale of Bihar’s Political Chameleon
 
Hell Hath No Fury Like a Party Scorned
 
Navigating the Fog of War
 
The Inscrutable Silence of a Star Yogi
 
The Pure Politics of the Mercurial Mayawati
 
Rahul Gandhi and the Beer-‘Dhokla’ Game
 
Are Our Kids Really Smarter Than We Were?
 
Giving Up Control To Achieve Unpredictability
 
When Being Paranoid Is OK
 
The Perfect Unpredictability of Roger Federer
 
How to Buy Cricketers and Coal Blocks
 
What the IPL Can Learn From Telecom
 
The Giddy Tournaments of Capitalism
 
Re-designing the Insolvency Auction to Optimize Value
 
The Auction That Runs the Internet
 
Ad Auctions: A Market for Horses
 
The Gale-Shapley Algorithm and Future Job Markets
 
Cooperative Game Theory and the Core
 
The Babylonian Talmud and India’s Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code
 
The Shapley Value and Legislative Power
 
Judicial Primacy Is Not the Same as Exclusivity
 
Trump’s Paris Agreement Pull-out: Masterstroke or Farce?
 
The Chaotic Consensus on Goods and Services Tax
 
The Third Front in the 2019 Election
 
The Game That Worked in Goa
 
The Perils of Plurality in India
 
Rescuing Game Theory from the Game Theorists
 
Index

‘Rohit Prasad’s wonderful book Game Sutra: Rescuing Game Theory from the Game Theorists is a collection of dozens of real-life applications of game theory. Written in English—that is, without mathematics—it is highly accessible to the educated general public. Entertaining, informative and fresh, it is strongly recommended to anyone who is interested in discovering how human interaction works.’

Noble Laureate Robert J. Aumann,
Economic Sciences, 2005

‘Rohit Prasad has well and truly rescued game theory from game theorists and brought it to the masses. The excellent exercises train the reader’s mind in game-theoretic way of thinking without using any mathematics. It’s fascinating!’ 

Sumit Sarkar,
Professor, XLRI

‘This rich, instructive and entertaining collection of applications of game theory is a must-read for all who want to navigate successfully in India’s complex business, political and social environments.’

Professor Avinash Dixit,
John J. F. Sherrerd ‘52 University Professor of Economics, Emeritus Princeton University

‘Rohit Prasad brings a unique, fascinating and entirely convincing theoretical approach towards unravelling the most significant and complex economic and political questions of contemporary India. The result is a brilliant analysis of what determines human action and behaviour. Marrying game theory and Indian politics has never been sexier and more fun, let alone illuminative.’ 

Sanjoy Majumder,
Vice Managing Editor, BBC India

‘Rohit has written a delightful book, bringing valuable insights from the abstruse field of game theory to bear on current economic and political events, especially in the context of India. His work is full of innovative analyses, yet written in a style that is witty, engaging and accessible to everyone. A must-read!’

Pradeep Dubey,
Leading Professor, Stony Brook University; Visiting Professor, Cowles Foundation, Yale University

‘Rohit Prasad brings game theory out of the ivory towers of academia and shows that it is possible to use pristine mathematical theories to argue cohesively in the relatively inchoate world of politics and social change. Rohit’s grasp of the subject, and elegant prose, creates powerful insights into issues of the day drawn from the fields of politics, business and economics. This book is truly a revelation, written in an easy, accessible—yet rigorous—style. It may well mark the beginning of a new trajectory for economic theory and social commentary alike.’

Raghav Bahl,
Co-founder, Network 18; Co-founder, Quintillion Media Pvt. Ltd

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ISBN: 9789353285722
£21.99