How could you, a mathematician, believe that extraterrestrials were sending
you messages?" the visitor from Harvard asked the West Virginian with the
movie-star looks and Olympian manner.
"Because the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same
way my mathematical ideas did," came the answer. "So I took them
Thus begins the true story of John Nash, the mathematical genius who was a
legend by age thirty when he slipped into madness, and who -- thanks to the
selflessness of a beautiful woman and the loyalty of the mathematics community
-- emerged after decades of ghostlike existence to win a Nobel Prize and world
acclaim. The inspiration for a major motion picture, Sylvia Nasar's
award-winning biography is a drama about the mystery of the human mind, triumph
over incredible adversity, and the healing power of love.
Slate - Jim Holt
[An] absolutely fascinating biography..
The Boston Globe
Superbly written and eminently fascinating.
The New York Times Book Review - Simon Singh
Tells a moving story and offers a remarkable look
into the arcane world of mathematics and the tragedy of madness.
Wall Street Journal - Charles C. Mann
After suffering with Mr. Nash's family through his madness, the reader
greets his recovery--and his ability to reforge a bond with his wife--as a
triumph.... A Beautiful Mind is one of the few scientific biographies I
have encountered that could plausibly be described as a three-handkerchief read.
Business Week - Michael J. Mandel
[A] fascinating account of creativity barely under control, of a
mathematical genius who was driven by--and eventually overwhelmed by--his own
inner demons. It represents a staggering feat of writing and reporting, and
includes an unprecedented look at the inner workings of the Nobel Prize
Impressively researched and detailed, but still fails to shed much light
on the mysteries of genius and insanity.
Rarely has the fragility of the boundary separating genius from madness
been illustrated with more compelling insight than in this biography of John
Nash, a Nobel laureate in economics and one of this century's greatest
mathematicians.... To fully
appreciate Nash's career accomplishments, readers must have some grasp of
advanced mathematics. But Nasar tells the story of a great mind broken and then
healed with subtle sympathy, which will touch any reader who understands what it
means to hope--or to fear.
New Scientist - Keith Devlin
[A] must read, with something for everyone ... [a]
The New York Times
Reads like a fine novel
David Herbert Donald
A brilliant book -- at
once a powerful and moving biography of a great mathematical genius and an
important contribution to American intellectual history.
Deeply interesting and extraordinarily moving.
The New England Journal of Medicine, 1998 - Richard J. Wyatt, M.D.
Nasar has written an intriguing account of a fascinating man, of a
beautiful mind, and of terrible madness. She has also written a
deeply moving love story, an account of the centrality of human relationships in
a world of nightmare and genius.
A splendid book, deeply
interesting and extraordinarily moving, remarkable for its sympathetic insights
into both genius and schizophrenia.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Trevor Slopden Title This book was an amazing insight into the life of John Nash. I had already seen the movie and could not wait to read about one of my heroes (I'm bipolar myself. nb: John Nash shows more signs of being bipolar than schizophrenic and this is backed... Read More
Rated of 5
by Bruce Carney Endnotes to Distraction The New York Times book review says A Beautiful Mind "reads like a fine novel." Except, a fine novel doesn't have endnotes plaguing the entire text. Sylvia Nasar must be German. If not at the end of every sentence, at least at the end of... Read More
Rated of 5
by Alexandra A Beautiful Mind Although I was only 11 years old when I read this book, I found many parts of it fascinating. I have interest in mental disorders, and this book showed insight and explanation for one of the more famous cases of schizophrenia in history. I would... Read More
Rated of 5
by Mya Bell
I was inspired to read this aptly titled biography of a brilliant mathematician after seeing Ron Howard's film. This type of subject matter is often avoided by Hollywood filmmakers, so hats off to Howard for tackling a project many filmmakers would... Read More
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