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Respond to the question: Basic Game Theory for a 14 year old?

12/21/2001 10:01 PM by Pedro Dal Bó; Answers for a 14 years old game theorist
Here are some answer to your questions about game theory: Dixit and Nalebuff's book is a nice introduction to game theory with lots of examples. Luce and Raiffa's was published in 1957. It is very technical. I don't recomend it.
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11/13/2001 05:09 AM by name withheld; Basic Game Theory for a 14 year old
12 November 2001

Dear Dr. Levine,
I am an eighth grader at The Buckley School in New York City. My math teacher has assigned a research paper due in three weeks. We are to choose a theory in mathematics. I have chosen game theory.

My paper is supposed to be six to nine pages in length: a brief history (900-1800 words) and a results section which includes theorems, definitions, and/or graphs. I have been told to "Provide proofs and explanations of your results, as appropriate. And then, apply your theorems to problems in your theory."

I have visited several sites including yours (levine.sscnet.ucla) and have gotten a lot of information -- much of it I do not understand. Your articles, "What is Game Theory" (at and "Game Theory" (submitted to the Nature Publishing Group) were helpful. Game Theory by Aner Sela at was a repeat of your two articles, but the repetition was helpful. I am trying to read "Game Theory" written by Don Ross of the University of Cape Town found at

At this point, I know I can understand and write about only the basics, so I plan to limit my paper to zero sum games with two rational players with a limited number of choices which lead to a well defined outcome. If I understand what I have read, I will be using strategic or normal form games. Because I know very little about probability, I do not think I can deal with mixed strategy games. I have read about Prisoners' Dilemma in several articles and have played rock, paper, scissors (at

Can you tell me if all authors use 3rd person singular she or her when writing about game theory and, if so, why?
When I read your bibliography listed at the end of "Game Theory," I found Games and Decisions by R. Luce and H. Raiffa listed as published in 1857. Is this correct? I have asked my librarian to try and locate a copy of Thinking Strategically, by Dixit and Nalebuff because I read that it was "an accessible introduction" to game theory.
Can you offer me in guidance or direct me to any other material which I might understand?

Thank you very much for your time and any advice you can give me.

Charlie Ary
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