Read El dilema del prisionero: John Von Neumann, la Teoria de Juegos y la bomba by William Poundstone Free Online
Book Title: El dilema del prisionero: John Von Neumann, la Teoria de Juegos y la bomba|
The author of the book: William Poundstone
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1695 times
Reader ratings: 6.5
Edition: Alianza Editorial Sa
Date of issue: June 30th 2005
ISBN 13: 9788420658407
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 3.43 MB
Read full description of the books:
When is a math book not a math book? How about when it's a biography, or a history of the early Cold War years? Clocking in at 278 pages, this book is sort of three books in one. It's kind of a look at Game Theory. Sometimes it's a biography of John Von Neumann, and then at other times it's a primer about early Cold War paranoia and the beginning of the arms race.
All three are pretty interesting subjects, and they are intertwined in ways that are fairly obvious (or at least fairly obvious if one reads the dust jacket), but unlike real brand Oreo's with their carefully calculated ratio of filling to cookie, this book is more like a cheap store brand that is skimpy on the filling and all about the cookie. That's fine, but it's not really a good proportion.
Problem one. (Spoiler?) John Von Neumann dies. It's inevitable, we all die. Historically he's dead. As the writer though he didn't need to kill off the central narrative strand of the book about sixty pages before the end. Once Von Neumann died it was like the book came to a slow halt, everything else after it felt like filer, even if it wasn't, it just felt like an after-thought, or like something Minor Threat would condone filling your head with (sorry, had to go with the Minor Threat / Filer reference). What follows Von Neumann's death is some explanations of different games, and maybe some Cold War stuff, but I kind of lost interest at this point (although the games are fun to read about, lots of little tricks you can pull on greedy friends if one was so inclined.)
Problem two. I don't know much about math, and reading this book I don't know anything more about math. I kind of wanted to learn a little something about Game Theory here, but in a nice and easy to understand way that someone who got a D+ in his third quarter of high school algebra could understand. I got a tiny bit of math that someone who got A's in a couple of statistics classes in college could have easily figured out for himself, but nothing math-ish except for descriptions of the games in a narrative form. I don't know what I expected actually. I guess I was a little disheartened to find out I knew most of these games already, and more of the math behind them from watching a few seasons of Numb3rs, and could usually even remember which episode's Charlie would enlighten some member of the FBI about a particular game strategy and how it would help them capture a bad person.
Problem three. This is like problem one. Douglas Hofstader and Richard Powers are masters at running three parallel narratives at once and pulling them in and out of each other as their books progress. If you're going to do three narrative threads it should be as neat and tidy as they do it. This book doesn't, and once again I'm disappointed because the three narrative thread structure is one that I love. To be teased with this structure and then see it unravel until only one lone thread is left without a satisfying 'brining it all together' makes me sad.
Problems aside the book was a nice read, but not exactly what I wanted the book to be. I'll just have to go back to watching more Numb3rs to learn my higher math concepts for the mathematically retarded.
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