A very fun, informative book with a comfortable rhythm:

  1. Here's an interesting part of economic theory.
  2. Here are some ways in which it has been applied to "real life".
  3. Here are the ways in which that application are flawed.

Rubenstein (himself a professor and major contributor to the field of game theory) advances the cause of economics as a fun series of thought experiments and rails against the cause of economic as a useful series of applicatory models.

He peppers the book with memories & anecdotes (the back sleeve describes it as "half-memoir", which is apt) and his buttery writing style makes for a quick read that redirects your attention from bildungsroman to theory to praxis and back again with enough ease and rapidity that you never grow roots.

I do not think it is a life-changing book, as far as these things go: it strengthened my understanding of equilibria, and his presentation of two disjoint-but-not-really market lenses ("the jungle" and "the market") is something I'll hold onto for a while. But it was gripping and quick and made me smarter.


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