Textbooks for Game Theory

For those of you who are studying Game Theory, or interested in the field, I would like to advise and possibly offer a few options when it comes to textbooks. I am currently taking a subject in Game Theory at The University of Kansas – KU – as part of my PhD Economics program, but off course Game Theory has multiple applications in other fields – Mathematics, Business, Sports, and all Social Sciences. Game Theory has everything to do with Strategic thinking, and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Understanding the incentives, and decision making processes. I believe it is one of the most fascinating fields of study, and highly underused. So, without any further introductions, here they are:

The textbook I am currently using is “Game Theory: An Introduction” by Steven Tadelis. It is a recent book, published in 2013 . I like the way it is presented, and the type of exercises it has by the end of each Chapter. My classmates and I have found a couple of mistakes with the exercises though, minor things, which doesn’t compromise the quality of the book. I recommend it.

The language used to describe games is really good, especially when it comes to developing the skill to recognize real life situations in games.

I also have another book which I often use to study is Games and Information by Eric Rasmusen. I found this one by accident in a torrent file, but I am so glad I did. Even though it is an academic book, it is pleasant to read, and very interesting. I feel like it does a very good job in introducing the subject, its importance, and showing what a powerful tool the knowledge of Game Theory can be. If this is your first contact with Game Theory, this is a book I would strongly recommend.


“Game Theory for Applied Economists” by Robert Gibbons was my first textbook for Game Theory, and even though it is a really good book, in retrospect I wish my first contact with Game Theory wasn’t through this book for being too technical. I learned a lot from it, and I even own a hard copy, it is a great source of quick research to review concepts for those of you who are already familiar with what Game Theory is really all about. I leave a kind warning to beginners when it comes to starting with this book so you won’t think Game Theory is scary.


I just recently started using this one, and the indication came from Open Yale courses. Yale has a great platform of video classes, which are free and available at their website as well as on YouTube. I would like to take the time to applaud Yale for the initiative.

This textbook is also a little bit more technical than you would like for beginners, but certainly a great choice for those of you who wish to take Game Theory to the next level.