My Books

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life

ISBN 0465009387 (pb)
Basic Books (2008)

Whether we want to understand where a shared supply of teaspoons has disappeared to, or why countries take themselves to the brink of nuclear war, Game Theory reveals the decision-making process. In Rock, Paper, Scissors, Len Fisher explains Game Theory, the study of co-operation and the underlying strategies that shape human behaviour.

Game Theory is all around us in everyday life, shown by Len’s amazing examples, including:

  • navigating the etiquette at a dinner party
  • calculating the proper distribution of gifts at a child’s birthday party
  • playing ‘chicken’ with commuters on New York City sidewalks
  • bargaining in Indian street markets

Len Fisher’s writing brings this science of interaction to life with anecdotes and applications that are sure to spark the imagination and give you pause for thought. Dealing with collaboration, co-operation, competition and confrontation, Rock, Paper, Scissors is essential reading for anyone interested in what it takes to get people to work together.

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life

Praise for Rock, Paper, Scissors

“A tour de force of exposition, with many amusing and enlightening vignettes of the application of game theory to real-world interactions in the home, amongst friends, in business, and in international relations. A great introduction to several themes in recent game theory for the intelligent reader.”

Professor Robert Marks

Australian Graduate School of Management. Winner of computer tournament on strategies for effective cooperation.

“Rock, Paper, Scissors brings the evolution of cooperation to everyone with a succinct summary of how these exciting ideas change the way we look at the world and the way we think.”

John R. Hauser

Kirin Professor of Marketing, MIT Sloan School of Management

“Rock, Paper, Scissors is a refreshingly informal but insightful account of key ideas in game theory. Len Fisher gives many examples, several from his own life, of games that pose harrowing choices for their players. He shows how game theory not only illuminates the consequences of these choices but also may help the players extricate themselves from situations likely to cause anger or grief.”

Professor Steve Brams

Department of Politics, New York University. Author of Game Theory and Politics and Negotiation Games

“A super book. I enjoyed it very much.”

Lord May of Oxford

Past President of the Royal Society and an expert on game theory

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