• Hidden Games

  • The Surprising Power of Game Theory to Explain Irrational Human Behavior
  • By: Erez Yoeli, Moshe Hoffman
  • Narrated by: Gary Tiedemann
  • Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (39 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Two  MIT economists  show  how  game theory—the ultimate theory of rationality—explains irrational behavior.    

We like to think of ourselves as rational. This idea is the foundation for classical economic analysis of human behavior, including the awesome achievements of game theory. But as behavioral economics shows, most behavior doesn’t seem rational at all—which, unfortunately, casts doubt on game theory’s real-world credibility.  

In Hidden Games, Moshe Hoffman and Erez Yoeli find a surprising middle ground between the hyperrationality of classical economics and the hyper-irrationality of behavioral economics. They call it hidden games. Reviving game theory, Hoffman and Yoeli use it to explain our most puzzling behavior, from the mechanics of Stockholm syndrome and internalized misogyny to why we help strangers and have a sense of fairness.  

Fun and powerfully insightful, Hidden Games is an eye-opening argument for using game theory to explain all the irrational things we think, feel, and do.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Erez Yoeli and Moshe Hoffman (P)2022 Basic Books

Critic Reviews

"Hidden Games is a pair of x-ray specs for your mind; it gives you the ability to penetrate surfaces and see what's going on at a deeper level. And the writing is as good as the ideas, which is saying something." (Andrew McAfee, author of More from Less and coauthor of The Second Machine Age)

"You’ll find the passion for game theory in every page of this brilliant book, which is packed with fresh and clear insights that will change the way you think about the world." (Uri Gneezy, coauthor of The Why Axis)

“Skillfully wielding the instruments of game theory, Hoffman and Yoeli entertainingly cut away the veneer of social life. The duo delivers a penetrating look at the cold logic shaping the puzzling patterns that pervade our actions and communities.” (Joe Henrich, author of The WEIRDest People in the World)

What listeners say about Hidden Games

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Authors’ bias is very clear

Authors knowingly used biased information to make their points. It’s painful to listen. But up to chapter 7 is OK. The rest is garbage.

4 people found this helpful

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Hidden Games support the current thing!

This will be a very interesting book if you are very interested in political opinions of the authors. Not sure about the science, they never seemed to get to that.

3 people found this helpful

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entertaining

great to listen, good stories. my only complain is that some psychology studies have been debunked and in the end he fails to consider heritability and genetics in the explanation.

3 people found this helpful

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Interesting Points, but Overall Lack of Insight

Some interesting concepts are presented, but overall the book is unsatisfying. Many conclusions seem backed into. Do peahens behave rationally by preferring peacocks with lavish tails, which demonstrate that their overall qualities are so outstanding that they can risk making themselves more attractive to predators (as the authors claim)—or is their preference for lavish tails simply a means of keeping their population in check by being foolish enough to increase their chances of being eaten? Is openly responding to an affront a logical means of deterrence (as the authors claim)—or merely an irrational prelude to getting oneself injured or killed? The authors further lose credibility by letting their clear leftwing biases creep into their examples. They talk about errors caused by “confirmation bias,” but fail to see that they themselves succumb to it.

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Excellent introduction to game theory!

Excellent introduction to game theory! I'll certainly be recommending it to anyone interested in the topic. A fun read.

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book is excellent example of bias they say is bad

They never really got to game theory, but spent most of their time talking about how people bias and slant results.
EVERY one of their examples of bias was an example from the right. There was NEVER an example of anyone on the left doing this . They Did say a couple of times that 'all politicians do this'; yet EVERY example was of bias on the right.

I kept waiting for them to say something like: " our last chapter was intentionally biased, as an example".. But Nope,
I got as far as when they were saying that "people that bias their results even fool themselves into thinking they aren't doing it".

I still need/want to read a book on game theory; too bad this wasn't one

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