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Naive Decision Making


  • 17 tables 405 exercises
  • Page extent: 390 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.54 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521731638)

How should one choose the best restaurant to eat in? Can one really make money at gambling? Or predict the future? Naive Decision Making presents the mathematical basis for making decisions where the outcome may be uncertain or the interests of others have to taken into consideration. Professor Körner takes the reader on an enjoyable journey through many aspects of mathematical decision making, with pithy observations, anecdotes and quotations. Topics include probability, statistics, Arrow's theorem, Game Theory and Nash equilibrium. Readers will also gain a great deal of insight into mathematics in general and the role it can play within society. Intended for those with elementary calculus, this book is ideal as a supplementary text for undergraduate courses in probability, game theory and decision making. Engaging and intriguing, it will also appeal to all those of a mathematical mind. To aid understanding, many exercises are included, with solutions available online.

• Discusses real-life questions and interesting problems in an entertaining and pithy style • Ideal supplement for courses in probability, game theory, and decision making • Features many exercises to help individual readers and students, with solutions available on the Web


Introduction; 1. A day at the races; 2. The long run; 3. The virtue of insurance; 4. Passing the time; 5. A pack of cards; 6. Other people; 7. Simple games; 8. Points of agreement; 9. Long duels; 10. A night at the casino; 11. Prophecy; 12. Final reflections; A. The logarithm; B. Cardano; C. Huygens's problems; D. Hints on pronunciation; Index.


'This is a highly readable and erudite book that will excite anyone prepared to open their mind to the ways in which a mathematical approach can help us make better choices in an uncertain world.' Significance

'Naive Decision Making is a book full of pleasure. The writing is crisp, clear, and full of wit. Körner has managed to strike a nice balance between chatty and technical, between formal proofs and illustrative examples, and between breadth and depth of the topics considered. … the decision of where to put the book on my shelf has been a theoretical one so far, as I keep lending my copy out to other people. I have already referred a number of my students and colleagues to this book, and I am sure I will refer more in the future. In short, recommending Naive Decision Making is an easy decision to make.' MAA Reviews

'Although often tongue-in-cheek and unafraid of iconoclasm, the book is a true educational resource, an invigorating, entertaining, and thoughtful introduction to many important mathematical topics.' Mathematics Today

'The author presents various aspects of mathematical decisions using not only realistic examples but also jokes, games, quotations, etc. … The book can serve as a supplementary text for undergraduate courses in probability, game theory and decision making. Moreover, many exercises are included with solutions available online.' EMS Newsletter

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