Games Indians Play, by V Raghunathan, is basically a book which tries to explain the “Indianness” of us Indians. And for a change, the author uses scientific explanations instead of the usual philosophical ones!
Games Indians Play tries to use the Game Theory and behavioural economics to answer the question – why we are the way we are. This makes for an interesting combination. The book is sprinkled with juicy “games” and “surveys” – basically analogies to real-life situations. In these surveys, the author gauges the response of people to certain situations. These responses, when extrapolated to the collective context of one billion people, go a log way in explaining the Indian behaviour.
Although the book only explains the negative traits of us Indians (which are numerous to say the least!), I would not view this as a pessimistic book. After all, to solve a problem, one needs to know what is wrong in the first place. However, I was expecting V Raghunathan to offer some solutions too. It’s a pity there are none forthcoming!
All in all, although the book doesn’t tell us anything we don’t aready know, I would recommend this book for the interesting use of game theory to offer explanations for our Indianness. Also, the fact that the book is less than 180 pages helps!