Although whiffs of game theory have been discerned in writings as old as Plato, its conventional history begins with the 1944 publication of von Neumann’s seminal “Theory of Games and Economic Behavior.” The techniques gained prominence as a means of anticipating attacks and counterattacks among superpowers during the Cold War, and they played a role in determining the quantity and positioning of U.S. nuclear warheads.
"Austen’s novels are game theory textbooks. She’s trying to get readers to use their higher thinking skills and to think strategically."
In many cases, by making tough choices and predicting how others will respond, Austen’s young (often financially deprived) heroines triumph over seemingly stronger forces, including well-to-do men and older women of higher status, he argues. In so doing, they find happiness and — just as importantly in an era with limited employment and inheritance possibilities for women — financial security.
"They build a theory of strategic thinking, not to better chase a Soviet submarine, but to survive."