A lot what I think of a book comes from my expectations. The style, the content and the useful information that it provides me all factor into my opinion.
For starters, I do programming for a living. After 10 years of .Net Web sites and databases, I'm looking to expand my skill set. Not games, necessarily, but AI for sure. I tried a couple math books on Game theory, but they were still a few levels away from practical interpretation. This book brought it down to a level I could use.
In a nutshell, it's about how to program dice for an RPG. The scope is a little broader than that, but this is the main idea. In nontechnical language, the author discusses what the goals of AI are, how rational decisions are made, and how to use probability to generate irrational decisions to model an unpredictable world.
Math wise algebra would be a good idea, and maybe some basic understanding of calculus and statistics, but he gives sufficient background so that your understanding would not be hindered. The book doesn't really teach programming per se, so it really doesn't matter what language you use (although the examples are done in C).Specific algorithms, such was swarming and flocking, are also absent. The material here would be used after you have those ideas down...for example, you have your agents flocking, so now how does the flock decide what to do, and when?
This brings me to the one real draw back to the book. I could tolerate his jokes and stories about his kids, but I suspect some UMLs would have done wonders to make the material clearer. Use cases were almost there in his examples, but it just missed the mark. Maybe this was an attempt to keep the thinking less technical and open it to a wider market, but it is something he should have touched on.
I really didn't learn anything new, but rather, how to take a bunch concepts I was already familiar with and bring them together into a cohesive unit. It's got me thinking and planning and trying to figure out how to put it in to use. This is good. This is what the writer wanted.
So, I would recommend this book if you're at the point where you have your AI agents working, but you want them to be more flexible and unpredictable in their actions, or react with more independently to their environment. IF you check the price of this book on the secondary market, you can see its doing pretty well as a used book, which says a lot for anything in the technology field.