India is a functioning anarchy.

– J.K. Galbraith

This one line pretty much sums up what Games Indians Play: Why we are the way we are is about. The book by V. Raghunathan tries to explain our “Indianess” through behavioral economics and game theory. It’s delightful look at the various facets of the Indian pyche like our obsession with bending rules, public apathy etc. It’s quite an interesting read and an delightful exercise in seeing the practical applications of game theory.

While I fully agree with most of the problems that the author points out, I don’t really agree with all the answers that he alludes to. To a large extent his assessment of the situation is largely to western lenses, and as such I don’t really think that applying the western definition of “being civilized” to every culture and civilization is really correct. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.

In spite of this though the book’s a great read. Do pick up a copy when you next head to a bookstore.

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