A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind

by

Sylvia Nasar

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Game Theory Term Analysis

Game theory is a field that centers around decision-making, interactions, and strategies among rational actors in competitive scenarios. The word “games” is used broadly, as the theory can be applied to all sorts of situations where people are trying to win or gain something. Nash becomes famous for his advances in game theory.

Game Theory Quotes in A Beautiful Mind

The A Beautiful Mind quotes below are all either spoken by Game Theory or refer to Game Theory. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Mental Illness, Recovery, and the Quest for Knowledge Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of A Beautiful Mind published in 1998.
Prologue Quotes

No one was more obsessed with originality, more disdainful of authority, or more jealous of his independence. […] In almost everything [Nash] did—from game theory to geometry—he thumbed his nose at the received wisdom, current fashion, established methods. […] Nash acquired his knowledge of mathematics not mainly from studying what other mathematicians had discovered, but by rediscovering their truths for himself.

Related Characters: Sylvia Nasar (speaker), John Forbes Nash Jr.
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

Today, Nash’s concept of equilibrium from strategic games is one of the basic paradigms in social sciences and biology. […] Like many great scientific ideas, from Newton’s theory of gravitation to Darwin’s theory of natural selection, Nash’s idea seemed initially too simple to be truly interesting, too narrow to be widely applicable, and, later on, so obvious that its discovery by someone was deemed all but inevitable. […] Its significance was not immediately recognized, not even by the brash twenty-one-year-old author himself.

Related Characters: Sylvia Nasar (speaker), John Forbes Nash Jr.
Related Symbols: The Nash Equilibrium
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 49 Quotes

The prize itself was a long-overdue acknowledgment by the Nobel committee that a sea change in economics, one that had been under way for more than a decade, had taken place. As a discipline, economics had long been dominated by Adam Smith’s brilliant metaphor of the Invisible Hand. Smith’s concept of perfect competition envisions so many buyers and sellers that no single buyer or seller has to worry about the reactions of others. […] But in the world of megamergers, big government, massive foreign direct investment, and wholesale privatization, where the game is played by a handful of players, each taking into account the others’ actions, each pursuing his own best strategies, game theory has come to the fore.

Related Characters: Sylvia Nasar (speaker), John Forbes Nash Jr.
Page Number: 374-375
Explanation and Analysis:
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Game Theory Term Timeline in A Beautiful Mind

The timeline below shows where the term Game Theory appears in A Beautiful Mind. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Foreword
Love, Desire, and the Impact of Hidden Lives Theme Icon
...decided to travel to Jerusalem to meet with Nash, who was going to attend a game theory conference there; she hoped to begin writing her biography of him. Nash had already written... (full context)
Prologue
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
...strange,” and his aloof manner set him apart from his peers. Yet his achievements in game theory , algebraic geometry, and nonlinear theory—applicable to understanding dynamics of human rivalry—were some of the... (full context)
Mental Illness, Recovery, and the Quest for Knowledge Theme Icon
...writing obscure equations on classroom blackboards after hours. At the same time, his work on game theory was becoming influential in the field of economics; many mathematicians and economists assumed that the... (full context)
Chapter 7 – John von Neumann
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
...a “role model” for mathematicians of Nash’s generation. His ideas have wide applications, ranging from game theory to the implosion device for the A-bomb to quantum physics to computational programming. Von Neumann... (full context)
Chapter 8 – The Theory of Games
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
At Princeton, Nash becomes interested in game theory , invented by von Neumann in the 1920s. Game theory can be defined as “an... (full context)
Chapter 9 – The Bargaining Problem
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...the classic economic notion of exchange, Nash takes a “completely novel” approach to a fundamental game theory problem: how will two rational bargainers interact, given that people do not always behave in... (full context)
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...attended—and that he was encouraged to further explore this idea by the presence of the game theory group (von Neumann and Morgenstern) at Princeton. His initial exposure to economics, it seems, was... (full context)
Chapter 11 – Lloyd
Love, Desire, and the Impact of Hidden Lives Theme Icon
...who had also worked at the RAND corporation, a think tank in Santa Monica using game theory applications for work on military problems. Shapley is somewhat neurotic, with a temper and a... (full context)
Chapter 12 – The War of Wits
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...scientists’ skills in operations research, linear programming, dynamic programming, systems analysis, and, perhaps most importantly, game theory , linking these fields to issues of military strategy. (full context)
Chapter 13 – Game Theory at RAND
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Even before Nash arrives at RAND, mathematicians there have been working on game theory , though they had focused mainly on two-person zero-sum games—"games of total conflict,” which produce... (full context)
Mental Illness, Recovery, and the Quest for Knowledge Theme Icon
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
At RAND, game theory is used to model tactics, particularly in air battles between fighters and bombers. RAND’s mathematicians... (full context)
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
The most important application of game theory to a military problem involves RAND’s “most influential” strategic study, on the SAC operational project:... (full context)
Chapter 15 – A Beautiful Theorem
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During the 1950s, Nash’s work on game theory (a kind of “applied” mathematics) is not considered important enough to earn him a position... (full context)
Chapter 18 – Experiments
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...recruit subjects to play different games with cash rewards. Though Milnor later became disillusioned with game theory —since the results of the experiment “cast doubt” on the usefulness of game theory in... (full context)
Chapter 48 – The Prize
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...prize committee now has to decide which mathematicians will be honored for their contributions to game theory . Ultimately, the committee narrows the field down to contributions to the field of noncooperative... (full context)
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...merits of the candidates as Laureates, including Nash, noting that Nash made his contribution to game theory —which Stahl considers “more mathematics than economics”—nearly half a century earlier. Lindbeck is stunned by... (full context)
Chapter 49 – The Greatest Auction Ever
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
...been dominated by Adam Smith’s metaphor of the “invisible hand”—the idea that individualism shapes competition— game theory provided a way of understanding a new world, one in which economies are shaped by... (full context)
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Today, game theory is used to study and implement policy, the sale of government-controlled public resources, and auctions... (full context)
Chapter 50 – Reawakening
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...whole prize, since “he really needed the money,” and adds that he is glad that game theory , “a subject of great intrinsic intellectual interest,” had been shown to be “of some... (full context)