on July 13, 2000
When I was writing the chapter on evolutionary dynamics for my book Game Theory Evolving (Princeton, 2000), I looked at all the books available and found nothing. Then Hofbauer and Sigmund's new book (a totally revised version of their earlier Theory of Evolution and Dynamical Systems) came out, and I knew I had a masterpiece in hand.
The book does not assume the reader knows basic differential equation theory--it presents all the theory necessary. Indeed, it is a wonderful way to learn differential equation theory, since one immediately is faced with meaningful problems to solve. It does assume the reader is familiar with multivariate calculus. The book should be accessible to biologists and game theorists with a minimum understanding of each other's disciplines.
There are four parts. First, HS deal with Lotka-Volterra equations of the type prevalent in predator-prey models, which they extend to ecological models and several populations. Like the rest of the book, there are lots of problems and the presentation is elegant and succinct.
The second part deals with game theory dynamics and replicator equations, including sections on evolutionary games and asymmetric games. This too is extremely nicely presented, and the links to the Lotka-Volterra models are made clear.
Part three is on dynamical systems especially of relevance to biochemistry--catalytic hypercycles--as well as higher dimensional phase space dynamics of ecological models.
Part four deal with population genetic models using a differential equation approach. This section is also excellent, though for serious readers it should be complemented by Karlin and Taylor's Second Course in Stochastic Processes (which is much more mathematically demanding).
The physical production of the book is also first rate--a pleasure to read and use.