By: Jay

I once attended a class where the professor asked us to play a game. It was a pretty simple game on the surface. Everyone was asked to choose a number from 1 to 100. The person who chose a number that is closest to 2/3 of the average number that everybody chose will win the game.

Now how should one choose such that it would maximize one’s chances of winning?

Well, first you must determine what is the average of everyone’s number choices. There were about 100 students in the class, so assuming everyone randomly chooses a number, probably the average will be close to 50. So 2/3 of 50 will be 33.

But wait a minute. If everyone thinks similarly and chooses 33 then the average will be 33 and 2/3 of the average then becomes 22.

Hey wait a second, if everyone then chooses 22, the 2/3 of the average will then become 2/3 of 22 which will be 15. And so the reasoning goes.

So in the end, I chose one, based on the above logic. Of course, I did not win the game. The real winning number, was somewhere between 22 and 33 (I forgot the actual no.). So what went wrong? And what the hell has it got to do with Beauty Contests and the Stock Markets? Read more…