This sequence of posts is a primer on game theory intended at an introductory level. Because it is introductory, Less Wrong veterans may find some parts boring, obvious, or simplistic - although hopefully nothing is so simplistic as to be outright wrong.

Parts of this sequence draw heavily upon material from The Art of Strategy by Avinash Dixit and Barry Nalebuff, and it may in part be considered a (very favorable) review of the book accompanied by an exploration of its content. I have tried to include enough material to be useful, but not so much material that it becomes a plagiarism rather than a review (it's probably a bad idea to pick a legal fight with people who write books called The Art of Strategy.) Therefore, for the most complete and engaging presentation of this material, I highly recommend the original book.

All posts will be linked from here as they go up:

1. Introduction to Game Theory: Sequence Guide
2. Backward Reasoning Over Decision Trees
3. Nash Equilibria and Schelling Points
4. Introduction to Prisoners' Dilemma
5. Real World Solutions to Prisoners' Dilemmas
6. Interlude for Behavioral Economics
7. What Is Signaling, Really?
8. Bargaining and Auctions
9. Imperfect Voting Systems
10. Game Theory As A Dark Art

Special thanks to Luke for his book recommendation and his strong encouragement to write this.

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7 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 11:31 PM

Would you recommend The Art Of Strategy to people with an existing education in the subject? (~2nd year undergraduate in my case).

I sometimes read introduction-to-something-I-already-know-quite-a-bit-about books so I can steal their explanations of introductory concepts (and also because a lot of them are entertaining in their own right), but in this case it looks like you've already done that for me.

I'll be curious to see what "10" is all about.

  1. Game Theory As A Dark Art

I think I already wrote that post :-)

This entire sequence needs to be promoted into visibility.

Please back-link individual posts to this one.


Thank you for doing this! LessWrong needs more resources for people to learn basic useful math and quantitative reasoning.

Also I hope my old A Gentle Video Introduction to Game Theory post would be useful to those seeking to learn about this topic. I know many LWers prefer text but those who don't might find the videos a fun approach.


Thank you for doing this.

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