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22 Works 5,380 Members 62 Reviews 13 Favorited

About the Author

William Poundstone has been nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize. Among his seven books are "The Recursive Universe," "Labyrinths of Reason," and "Big Secrets." He has also written extensively for network television and major magazines. He lives in Los Angeles. (Publisher Provided)


Works by William Poundstone


astronomy (15) biography (114) business (100) career (22) complexity (29) cosmology (16) ebook (18) economics (74) epistemology (28) finance (36) gambling (28) game theory (118) games (17) hardcover (18) history (53) interviews (32) investing (19) Kindle (17) logic (78) math (220) Microsoft (24) non-fiction (333) own (16) paradox (24) philosophy (166) philosophy of science (19) physics (28) politics (28) popular science (19) probability (17) psychology (83) puzzles (84) read (35) reference (44) science (223) secrets (27) to-read (306) trivia (56) unread (28) wishlist (15)

Common Knowledge



Mostly a bio of John Von Neumann, it also goes into some depth on the history of the early days of the Cold War, and the RAND Corporation in particular. As an overview of game theory for non-mathematical people, it's excellent. It does wander around a bit, and is a bit dated in discussions of AI and computer gaming. Nevertheless a worthwhile read, adding historical context to some of today's prisoner's dilemmas.
dhaxton | 10 other reviews | Jan 27, 2023 |
Well, I don't think I'll be outguessing and outwitting "almost everybody" after reading this, but it was still an interesting book. With topics ranging from rock, paper, scissors strategies to office pools to the stock market, it's a good bet every chapter will not be of equal interest to a reader. The chapter on the stock market was a struggle for me to get through, and I didn't care much about the sports-related chapters either.
But the book explored some interesting ideas about how our minds tend to work, how bad people are at randomness and how we see patterns where there aren't any.
The introductory chapters to Parts One and Two were more fascinating than many of the chapters that followed, but I still liked several of the topics that were covered. The chapters on passwords, crowd-sourced ratings, manipulated and fake numbers were good, as well as the chapters in Part Two on big data and retail prices. It was also handy that the author did a summary of tips and strategies at the end of each chapter.
There's probably something for everyone in here, and it's worth a look.
… (more)
Harks | 6 other reviews | Dec 17, 2022 |

This brilliant book I read through in a 2 hour flight and unfortunately, a two hour delay. It's fast and and easy to read. A few chapters are only a couple pages long.

The author deign that people are predictable even when they think they are random. This book touches on sports, stocks, algorithms to find financial fraud, best practices for multiple choice tests, poker, and how to win at Rock Breaks Scissors.

This is more of a 4.5 star book, so I'll round up this time.
wellington299 | 6 other reviews | Feb 19, 2022 |



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