A Way To Predict Your Opponent's Next Move

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is a master of game theory, which is a fancy label for a simple idea: People compete, and they always do what they think is in their own best interest. Bueno de Mesquita uses game theory and its insights into human behavior to predict and even engineer political, financial, and personal events. His forecasts, which have been employed by everyone from the CIA to major business firms, have an amazing 90 percent accuracy rate, and in this dazzling and revelatory book he shares his startling methods and lets you play along in a range of high-stakes negotiations and conflicts.

Revealing the origins of game theory and the advances made by John Nash, the Nobel Prize—winning scientist perhaps best known from A Beautiful Mind, Bueno de Mesquita details the controversial and cold-eyed system of calculation that he has since created, one that allows individuals to think strategically about what their opponents want, how much they want it, and how they might react to every move.

Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write this book?

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita: The conviction that people do not realize how much we could improve our national security, our business decisions and our personal lives by applying science to predicting and engineering outcomes.

JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?

BBM: How much easier it is to write for a broad audience than for a technical, academic audience.

JG: What would you be doing, if you weren't a writer?

BBM: When I am not writing, I do research and teach, always hoping to advance knowledge and convey new insights to others.

JG: What else are you reading right now?

BBM: Waiting by Ha Jin and also Constantine and the Bishops by H. A. Drake

JG: What's next for you?

BBM: I hope to write book that is basically a manual for how to be a successful dictator or corporate CEO -- by doing a lousy job.