Good Books: Gaming the Vote by William Poundstone

This book by William Poundstone came recommended by a friend. I had the author’s earlier book, “Fortune’s Formula,” and had loved it. This book is as good. It discusses various voting systems, and their pros and cons. The book was published in 2008 just around the time of the previous US presidential elections.

Given India’s first-past-the-post system, there are some interesting alternatives that are worth considering — not that they will ever happen!

From a review in the Publisher’s Weekly: “Behind the standard one man-one vote formula lies a labyrinth of bizarre dysfunction, according to this engaging study of the science of voting. America’s system is the least sensible way to vote, argues Poundstone, prone to vote-splitting fiascoes like the 2000 election. Unfortunately, according to the author, a famous impossibility theorem states that no voting procedure can accurately gauge the will of the people without failures and paradoxes. (More optimistically, Poundstone contends that important problems are solved by range voting, in which voters score each candidate independently on a 1–10 scale.)”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.