A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash

A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash Stories Of Famously Eccentric Princetonians Abound Such As That Of Chemist Hubert Alyea, The Model For The Absent Minded Professor, Or Ralph Nader, Said To Have Had His Own Key To The Library As An Undergraduate Or The Phantom Of Fine Hall, A Figure Many Students Had Seen Shuffling Around The Corridors Of The Math And Physics Building Wearing Purple Sneakers And Writing Numerology Treatises On The Blackboards The Phantom Was John Nash, One Of The Most Brilliant Mathematicians Of His Generation, Who Had Spiraled Into Schizophrenia In The S His Most Important Work Had Been In Game Theory, Which By The S Was Underpinning A Large Part Of Economics When The Nobel Prize Committee Began Debating A Prize For Game Theory, Nash S Name Inevitably Came Up Only To Be Dismissed, Since The Prize Clearly Could Not Go To A Madman But In Nash, In Remission From Schizophrenia, Shared The Nobel Prize In Economics For Work Done Some Years PreviouslyEconomist And Journalist Sylvia Nasar Has Written A Biography Of Nash That Looks At All Sides Of His Life She Gives An Intelligent, Understandable Exposition Of His Mathematical Ideas And A Picture Of Schizophrenia That Is Evocative But Decidedly Unromantic Her Story Of The Machinations Behind Nash S Nobel Is Fascinating And One Of Very Few Such Accounts Available In Print The CIA Could Learn A Thing Or Two From The Nobel Committees

Sylvia Nasar was born to a German mother and Uzbek father Her family immigrated to the United States in 1951, then moved to Ankara, Turkey in 1960 She graduated from Antioch College in 1970, and earned a masters degree in economics at New York University in 1976 For four years, she did research with Nobel Laureate Wassily Leontief She is currently the Knight Chair in Business Journalism at Co

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  • Paperback
  • 461 pages
  • A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash
  • Sylvia Nasar
  • English
  • 09 July 2019
  • 9780571212927

10 thoughts on “A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash

  1. says:

    My quest has taken me through the physical, the metaphysical, the delusional and back It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reasons can be found I m only here tonight because of you You are the reason I am You are all my reasons I ve always believed in numbers and the equations and logics that lead to reason The ghost of Fine Hall 1994 2001

  2. says:

    A beautiful maind a biography of Johan Forbes Nash, Sylvia NasarA Beautiful Mind 1998 is a biography of Nobel Prize winning economist and mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr by Sylvia Nasar, professor of journalism at Columbia University An unauthorized work, it won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1998 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in biography It inspired the 2001 film by the same name 1999 1383 500 9643236256 20 .

  3. says:

    Highly recommended book.I loved the movie,I ve seen.Then,I had found it is based on a novel.Great story.How a great scientist flows with his intellects wrapped in complex mind.Epic dialogues and theme.I m thankful to read the book and watched the movie.

  4. says:

    The book is about the life story of John Forbes Nash a mathematical genius and inventor of a theory of rational behaviour for which he was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1994 Presenting a characterization of schyzophrenia, the author helps in informing the reader about the circumstances under which a spontaneous recovery from his dementing and degenerative disease believed to be so rare, became a possibility for John Nash Finally, the story of Nobel Prize winner John Forbes Nash, Jr proves that psychiatrists are wrong about schyzophrenia being a brain disease like Alzheimers and Parkinson s.

  5. says:

    I read very few biographies, so I have trouble evaluating this within its field That said, I found it fascinating, but a bit drier than I typically like my recreational nonfiction.But it is a fascinating and disturbing story Nash lived still is living, I guess a really complicated life, even aside from his illness Like many geniuses, he was a difficult personality He apparently used to stand on the table in the middle of Princeton s math department grad student meetings and put down anybody who might challenge his intellect This naturally caused him certain social frictions, but he was apparently forgiven a lot because of his genius And then, when his schizophrenia struck, he was protected further by colleagues who respected him.And there was a lot of protecting going on For example, when he pushed his pregnant wife down the stairs Bits that they leave out of shallow, fantasized Hollywood treatments Or that he cheated on her Or the fact that he treated his son like a pariah Some of this is entangled with his illness, of course, but not all And a lot of the looking the other way happened before his illness was public knowledge It makes me reflect on the structure of society in general, and academia specifically, and what we regard as sufficient excuse for bad behavior I had a long rant on scientific academia here, but I m too tired to make it coherently now, and this really isn t the best venue As a math geek, I wish there had been a bit about his math itself It s difficult, I guess, because most of what he worked on was extremely abstruse stuff even to someone who has studied a reasonable amount of mostly applied math I understand Nash equilibria, but, interestingly enough, even though he won the Nobel for this idea, he and the mathematical community generally felt that this was far from his most interesting and important contribution And that s probably the most accessible thing he worked on Which is probably why it was able to become important in economics circles His other works are so involved that I have trouble parsing the statement of the theorems, let alone the proofs.But really, this is the story of his life Like all of us, he lived a complicated, difficult life More complicated and difficult than many, but still a very human life.

  6. says:

    More reviews at The Story Within The StoryAt first glance, a biography of a mathematician would seem to make for a read dryer than the Sahara However, John Nash is no ordinary mathematician and Sylvia Nasar is no ordinary biographer In her capable hands, the life of John Nash comes to life in all of its brilliant, dark, pessimistic, extraordinary, callous wonder John Forbes Nash, Jr is a mathematical genius whose extraordinary mind developed the structure for what became known as Game Theory revolutionizing both mathematics and economics in the second half of the twentieth century The power of his theories culminated with him being awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics nearly fifty years after his groundbreaking work began But it came at a heavy price By the age of thirty, Nash was suffering from his first bouts of paranoid schizophrenia, a disease he would suffer with for three decades He was institutionalized by his family on several occasions and left for dead by most of the mathematics community Left to wander the campus of Princeton University as a ghost and a crazy man, Nash did the unthinkable he began recovering from a disease that there was thought to be no recovery from He even begin to work on mathematics research again It was a recovery that physiatrists thought was impossible I ve made the most important discovery of my life It s only in the mysterious equation of love that any logic or reasons can be found A Beautiful Mind is really not about mathematics, but about what it means to be labeled gifted, different or sick It is about how society treats people who are unusual and how few answers there are for what goes on between someone s ears It is also about John s wife Alicia, who set aside her own desires to try to guide John through a world that had become hostile to him.Ultimately, Sylvia Nasar succeeds with A Beautiful Mind because she leaves out most of the heavy handed mathematics and focuses on who John Nash is and what his life represents Make no mistake, John Nash not a lovable person He is rude, thoughtless, self centered and egotistical all the things we don t like in a person His genius is both a gift and a curse Yet, we cheer for him the whole way because there is an innocence about him a childlike quality of someone who doesn t quite understand other people but has to function within society none the less And it is a society of the 1950s and 1960s with little understanding or tolerance for mental illness His story also gives us hope that no matter how hopeless a person s situation may seem, here is an example of someone who was able to climb out of that hole and rejoin life and be happy again That is what makes John Nash s story so important A Beautiful Mind demonstrates that anyone s life can be turned around It demonstrates hope It demonstrates redemption It is a story well worth your time.

  7. says:

    The book conveys a convincing portrayal of mental illness but, it is unpleasant to read I found that I didn t enjoy spending so much time with a person who, in addition to being a genius, and mentally ill, was basically a creep The movie was better mainly because the screenplay converted Nash into a likeable guy helped to be played by Russell Crow If you haven t read the book or seen the movie I recommend the latter But keep in mind it s not a terribly truthful portrayal.

  8. says:

    I would have never gotten through this book if it wasn t an audiobook Author Sylvia Nasar presented a comprehensive narrative of John Forbes Nash s life Unfortunately, she was absent from school the days they taught about engaging your audience, limiting your topic, and just about every other skill related to literature She is no doubt a wonderful researcher, but includes details so small as to call into question her own sanity, let alone the sanity of her subject.This book was a lot like watching someone else s home movies To them, they are interesting to everyone else they are a drudgery For about the first 49 chapters you could literally skip all the odd chapters and not really miss anything.There were a few moments of interesting detail, mostly surrounding the Nobel Prize and applications of Nash s work Also, I found the details of Princeton in the 50 s and 60 s interesting since I live near there Otherwise, it was dull.Though I usually like Blackstone Audio s production of books, the narration of this one by Anna Fields, was below their standards The narrator s voice was so expressionless that she seemingly started new chapters mid sentence.This is one of those rare cases where the movie was much better than the book In fact, if the titles weren t the same I d be hard pressed to tell you that they were based on the same story.A true disappointment I should have listened to the wisdom of my older sister and skipped this one That is 17 hours of my life that I ll never get back.

  9. says:

    How could you, Mackey asked, how could you, a mathematician, a man devoted to reason and logical proof how could you believe that extra terrestrials are sending you messages How could you believe that you are being recruited by aliens from outer space to save the world How could you Nash looked up at last and fixed Mackey with an unblinking stare as cool and dispassionate as that of any bird or snake Because, Nash said slowly in his soft, reasonable southern drawl, as if talking to himself, the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way that my mathematical ideas did So I took them seriously A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar is the biography of John Forbes Nash Nash was brilliant The movie was terrific, but often bore little resemblance to reality At twenty one he had invented a theory of modern human behavior and his contributions to game theory would ultimately win him a Nobel Prize As a young professor he solved some mathematical problems deemed impossible by other mathematicians He also became insane This most fascinating book is the story of his descent into schizophrenia and his sudden remission at age sixty two.Nash had that spark of genius reserved for the extraordinary few He could visualize answers to problems that baffled others, often working out proofs later He worked and learned not by absorbing what others had already accomplished but by rediscovering the concepts on his own He was compulsively rational, and envied the emotionless, considering thinking machines superior to humans He remained aloof from the mundane and was described by his contemporaries as queer, spooky, and isolated Ironically, he was to revolutionize the theories of social cooperation and conflict Unlike Von Neumann who had focused on the group, Nash, in his twenty seven page dissertation thesis proposed a theory for game in which there was a possibility of mutual gain His insight was that the game economics would be solved when every player independently chose his best responses to the other player s best strategies a decentralized decision making process could, in fact, be coherent Princeton probably deserves the Nobel medal as much as anyone for sticking with the genius and putting up with his bizarre behavior as does his family who often sacrificed a great deal in their efforts to help him Whether an ordinary person would have received such special care is perhaps another issue.What is truly ironic is that Nash s son suffers from the same condition as his father, but despite advances in pharmaceutical treatment for schizophrenia, his son has not displayed the signs of remission that brought his father back.

  10. says:

    A Beautiful Mind is one of those books that I loved so much, and learned so much from reading that I ve yet to actually review it However, in light of the news that the man behind the eponymous mind, John Forbes Nash Jr., is no longer with us I thought I d at least take the time to recommend the book, if not to explain why.

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