Beautiful Game Theory Book Summary - Beautiful Game Theory Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Beautiful Game Theory summary

Ignacio Palacios-Huerta

How Soccer Can Help Economics

4 (61 ratings)
16 mins
Table of Contents

    Beautiful Game Theory
    summarized in 7 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 7

    The minimax theorem explains and predicts how players act and what strategies they use.

    To appreciate how soccer helps us understand economics, we first have to understand John Neumann’s minimax theorem. His game theory theorem concerns two-player zero-sum games, games in which the positive payoff for one player always means negative payoff for the other.

    Minimax assumes that players choose strategies that aim to minimize their opponents’ maximum possible payoff – hence “minimax.” And since we’re talking about zero-sum games, this also means that each player also attempts to minimize his own maximum loss.

    For example, in a game of Rock Paper Scissors, only one player can win, and the other will lose. Each player’s strategy is therefore to minimize the payoff (the win) for the other.

    There are two such strategies: pure and mixed. Pure strategies are strategies whereby a player always chooses the same move (like playing Rock every time), whereas mixed strategies employ variations of Rock, Paper and Scissors.

    An important hypothesis of minimax theory is that if it’s disadvantageous for the other player to know your choice in advance, then you will benefit from choosing random strategies.

    For example, imagine that you are playing Rock Paper Scissors against a long-time friend. If you tend to play Paper most often, then your friend can easily exploit this by pursuing a pure strategy – that is, by always playing Scissors.

    However, if one person plays pure and the other plays mixed, the mixed strategy will win two-thirds of the time. On the other hand, if both players play mixed strategies, then both will have equal chances to win.

    Thus, if two players randomly play Rock, Paper or Scissors, they should each win 50 percent of the games.

    Ideally, then, both players should mix moves, because every pure strategy would only have a 33 percent chance of winning.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Beautiful Game Theory?

    Key ideas in Beautiful Game Theory

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Beautiful Game Theory about?

    Beautiful Game Theory (2014) shows us how applicable economics is to our daily lives by looking at the fascinating world of professional soccer. By examining compelling statistics and studies on shoot-outs, referee calls, and ticket sales, Beautiful Game Theory offers some interesting insights into the psychology of behavioral economics.

    Best quote from Beautiful Game Theory

    You dont have to be crazy to be a goalkeeper, but it helps.

    —Ignacio Palacios-Huerta
    example alt text

    Who should read Beautiful Game Theory?

    • Soccer fans all over the world
    • Anyone who is interested in economics
    • Anyone who has ever felt like the referee was biased against his or her team

    About the Author

    Ignacio Palacios-Huerta is Professor of Management, Economics and Strategy at the London School of Economics. In addition, he works for Athletic Club de Bilbao, one of Spain’s professional soccer clubs, as the Head of Talent Identification.

    Categories with Beautiful Game Theory

    Books like Beautiful Game Theory

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    26 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 5,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial