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The evolution of cooperation by Robert M.…
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The evolution of cooperation (original 1984; edition 1984)

by Robert M. Axelrod

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6881013,845 (4.21)7
Member:jwhenderson
Title:The evolution of cooperation
Authors:Robert M. Axelrod
Info:New York: Basic Books, c1984. x, 241 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:cooperation, strategy

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The Evolution of Cooperation by Robert Axelrod (1984)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
theoretically just on the cooperation side of game theory, as Dixon's "Our Own Worst Enemy" (http://www.librarything.com/work/2441546/book/99872734), it is well beyond that

contains interesting remarks on WWI (yes, akin to the "pipes of peace" episode) that clearly show how attrition (where the end is nowhere in sight, as seen from the ground, and its seems more of the same) can and does influence competitive behavior and turns it into a potentially a kind of "collusive by consensus" environment

useful lessons for both business and politics (and wannabe social reformers)

maybe to be complemented by "The Starfish and the Spider" (http://www.librarything.com/work/1496794/book/82389992), "Barbarians to Bureaucrats" (http://www.librarything.com/work/1138710/book/79826297), and, if you speak Italian and are interested in an analysis on how an institutional reform can evolve across decades, and how a centuries old cultural environment can influence your best last strategies, "Allegro ma non troppo" (http://www.librarything.com/work/806842/book/79486621) and "Making Democracy Work" (http://www.librarything.com/work/69269/book/110907194) ( )
  aleph123 | Aug 8, 2014 |
Nice book on how cooperation can emerge even in a world of egoists -- based on simple computer models! I love this stuff. Axelrod is very entertaining and accessible, and succinctly expresses the implications of all his academic findings in daily life.

Turns out that when cooperation benefits everyone but is hard to ensure, the secret of your own success can be found in these axioms: Be nice. Don't be envious. Be provocable, but forgive if the other apologizes meaningfully. Be clear. A tit-for-tat strategy that is initially cooperative and then automatically echoes whatever the other person did in the last round is one of the best strategies you can use (more successful than the Golden Rule) -- even though you may never beat your partner, it is still the way to do the best for yourself, and improves society simultaneously.

Though the biology chapter reads like picked-and-chosen evidence and the book is a bit repetitious (all the better for assigning to university students), this book gets a thumbs up from me. ( )
  pammab | Dec 24, 2011 |
This book might be a bit dated but it still offers interesting in what makes cooperation between individuals work (or not) by interpreting results coming from a computer experiment in game theory. Axelrod begins by describing the famous "Prisoner's dilemma" and discussing which computer algorithms are the most efficient in solving it. He then shows how many real-life situations can be modeled as "prisoner's dilemma" and how individuals tend to react just as the abstract computer algorithms do. By drawing upon his observations, both in game theory and in real-life examples, the author concludes by giving some tips on how to foster cooperation in a given environment, or how to provide an environment favorable to cooperation. Backed by such simple, rational theory, his advice appear much sounder than most of what can be found in all the business-success-self-help-mumbo-jumbo literature... ( )
1 vote timtom | Jan 26, 2011 |
You've seen The Dark Knight and you're marvelling over the outcome of the scenario with the two ferries wired with explosives and each ferry given a control that will blow the other ferry out of the water. You watched as the tension grew with each passing second. Would someone push the button to blow the other guy out of the water or was there a way out of this?

It's a scenario referred to as the prisoner's dilemma.

This book explores that game scenario, how it came to be, how it became a winning strategy in computer gaming, and most importantly how this game is played out every day in myriad ways you never dreamed possible - especially in your own life, if you are willing to take a long, hard, honest look.

The book contains the most cogent argument for co-operation over ruthless competition as a strategy for survival and success. The might-is-right arguments of those who wield and abuse power for short-term gain are countered by proof that co-operation wins in the end and mercy triumphs over might.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is more than a platitude; it's a winning strategy - the ONLY winning strategy.

This book ought to be compulsory reading in every school, family, business, place of worship, and legislature. ( )
  WellingtonWomble | Feb 21, 2009 |
This is everything a popularized account of science should be. It is clear, deep, practical as well as theoretical, and very relevant. I knew of the Prisoner's Dilemma, and I knew of Axelrod's computer tournament, so I thought I wouldn't get much out of this book. I was wrong: the discussion goes far beyond the game itself and into a grounded exposition of the growth of cooperation in a selfish environment. Fantastic. ( )
1 vote jorgearanda | Sep 28, 2008 |
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P R E F A C E   
This project began with a simple question: When should a person cooperate,and when should a person be selfish, in an ongoing interaction with another person.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0465021212, Paperback)

This widely praised and much-discussed book explores how cooperation can emerge in a world of self-seeking egoists—whether superpowers, businesses, or individuals—when there is no central authority to police their actions.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:57 -0400)

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