Google full text of our books:


The Calculus of Selfishness
Karl Sigmund

Paperback | 2016 | $29.95 | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691171081
184 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4
Hardcover | 2010 | $52.50 | £44.95 | ISBN: 9780691142753
184 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 51 line illus.
Add to Shopping Cart

eBook | ISBN: 9781400832255 |
Our eBook editions are available from these online vendors

Reviews | Table of Contents
Chapter 1[PDF] pdf-icon

Google full text of this book:

How does cooperation emerge among selfish individuals? When do people share resources, punish those they consider unfair, and engage in joint enterprises? These questions fascinate philosophers, biologists, and economists alike, for the "invisible hand" that should turn selfish efforts into public benefit is not always at work. The Calculus of Selfishness looks at social dilemmas where cooperative motivations are subverted and self-interest becomes self-defeating. Karl Sigmund, a pioneer in evolutionary game theory, uses simple and well-known game theory models to examine the foundations of collective action and the effects of reciprocity and reputation.

Focusing on some of the best-known social and economic experiments, including games such as the Prisoner's Dilemma, Trust, Ultimatum, Snowdrift, and Public Good, Sigmund explores the conditions leading to cooperative strategies. His approach is based on evolutionary game dynamics, applied to deterministic and probabilistic models of economic interactions.

Exploring basic strategic interactions among individuals guided by self-interest and caught in social traps, The Calculus of Selfishness analyzes to what extent one key facet of human nature--selfishness--can lead to cooperation.

Karl Sigmund is professor of mathematics at the University of Vienna. He is the author of Games of Life (Penguin), coauthor of Evolutionary Games and Population Dynamics, and a contributor to Nature and Science.


"With collaborators from Vienna, Sigmund has pioneered the development of evolutionary game dynamics. This thought-provoking book is a distillation of his many influential contributions to the field. It is a showcase of clever models and elegant mathematics, replete with sometimes counterintuitive insights."--Nature

"In The Calculus of Selfishness, Karl Sigmund provides a comprehensive and accessible mathematical exposition of the evolutionary game theory of selfishness. The book should prove accessible to natural and social scientists as its mathematical arguments employ intuition, geometry, and simulation with a minimum of axiomatic formality. The demands on the reader typically involve little more than linear algebra and calculus."--David Krakauer, Science

"Sigmund's mathematical exposition is exemplary. He starts with the presumption that the reader has only rudimentary linear algebra and some notion of what a differential equation is, and he builds up from there, introducing more advanced concepts and results as needed. He avoids formal proofs and bookkeeping in favor of careful explanations of key points and illustrative calculations. As he teaches evolutionary game theory, Sigmund is also demonstrating how to write about applied mathematics."--Cosma Shalizi, American Scientist

"Sigmund's writing is admirably clear and historically grounded and he wisely restricts his coverage primarily to a subset of situations. . . . [Sigmund] makes fascinating reading for the interested general reader and provides a good background in game theory which should inoculate readers from being fooled by sloppy or completely incorrect references in the popular media."--Sarah Boslaugh, MAA Reviews

More reviews

Table of Contents:

Preface vii
Chapter 1: Introduction: Social Traps and Simple Games 1
Chapter 2: Game Dynamics and Social Learning 25
Chapter 3: Direct Reciprocity: The Role of Repetition 49
Chapter 4: Indirect Reciprocity: The Role of Reputation 82
Chapter 5: Fairness and Trust: The Power of Incentives 104
Chapter 6: Public Goods and Joint Efforts: Between Freedom and Enforcement 123
Chapter 7: Cooperation in Structured Populations 145
References 155
Index 169


Subject Areas:


Shopping Cart options:

  • For ebooks:

Our eBook editions are available
from these online vendors:

  • Amazon Kindle Store
  • Google Play eBook Store
  • Many of our ebooks are available through
    library electronic resources including these platforms:

  • Books at JSTOR
  • Ebrary
  • Ebook Library
  • EBSCO Ebooks
  • MyiLibrary
  • Dawsonera (UK)

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

     Paperback : $29.95 ISBN: 9780691171081

    Add to shopping cart

     Hardcover : $52.50 ISBN: 9780691142753

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

     Hardcover  £44.95 ISBN: 9780691142753

    Add to shopping cart

     Paperback  £24.95 ISBN: 9780691171081

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    Prices subject to change without notice

    File created: 7/11/2017

    Questions and comments to:
    Princeton University Press

    New Book E-mails
    New In Print
    PUP Blog
    Princeton APPS
    Sample Chapters
    Princeton Legacy Library
    Exam/Desk Copy
    Recent Awards
    Princeton Shorts
    Freshman Reading
    PUP Europe
    About Us
    Contact Us
    PUP Home

    Bookmark and Share 
    Send me emails
    about new books in:
    Biological Sciences
    More Choices