The Art of Strategy

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The Art of Strategy by Avinash K. Dixit and Barry Nalebuff

The subtitle of this book touted it as A Game Theorist's Guide to Success in Business and Life, and it was exactly just that. The authors are economics professors at Princeton and Yale, respectively, yet they wrote the book in a very simple, flowing format. They also made the book very interactive by including many problems to solve, which I found were very interesting to try and work out. The authors gave great examples on how to strategically make choices and decisions that I found I could apply to my own life.

There were many terms that I found quite fascinating in the book. I learned about concepts such as dominant strategy, strategic moves, backward reasoning, to name a few. The authors also spoke about what they call game trees, a simple yet very efficient way of making a decision by drawing out a small flow chart. I notice when a game tree is laid out, a decision is very easy to make without being indecisive. Another concept I enjoyed were the game tables. These were quite similar to the game trees, but they were drawn in a table format that would help me to see my choices with a perspective that takes my emotions and wishful thinking out of it. With these simple tables, I see I can make many decisions in my life moving forward that would benefit me.

My favorite chapter was the one called Incentives. In it, the authors spoke about how to give incentives in a team setting that would not hurt the outcome of each respective team. In other words, how to create teams with incentives that would mutually complement each other. I found this very intriguing because I would like to bring out the best in my AVP teams when the tasks are assigned. So in reading this chapter, I have learned to look for ways to motivate each person on the team to do their best, but not at the expense of another team member. It is another dynamic that I intuitively felt was always there, but the authors have given me a very concrete and tangible model that will help me not only bring out the best in my teams, but also how I can best serve the team myself. 

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