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A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash Paperback – Dec 4 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reissue edition (Dec 4 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743224574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743224574
  • Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 15.6 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (260 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #332,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
AMONG JOHN NASH'S EARLIEST MEMORIES is one in which, as a child of about two or three, he is listening to his maternal grandmother play the piano in the front parlor of the old Tazewell Street house, high on a breezy hill overlooking the city of Bluefield, West Virginia. Read the first page
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mira de Vries TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Aug. 8 2011
Format: Paperback
This book, which inspired a motion picture, is arguably most important for things that have nothing to do with MeTZelf, like mathematics, mathematicians, and universities. It is a very thick book, apparently well-researched, yet written to read like a novel, occasionally to the point of stretching credibility. How would the author know what the weather was like on a particular day, or how somebody felt?

Nash's purported schizophrenia has attracted enormous media attention, certainly more than his work, which few people understand anyway, or his colleagues, who are little-known outside of their field. Yet to me the most interesting part is not his "schizophrenia," but what Nash was like before it started.

Now I have a dilemma. Firstly, I don't want to "diagnose" somebody, anybody, let alone someone I don't even know personally, though after 450 pages I do feel like I know Nash personally. Secondly, I myself am most wary of pseudo-medical labels, which seem to legitimize professions for which I have no use. But the author's description of Nash is so thorough and consistent, I can't help noticing that it perfectly fits what nowadays is called Asperger.

Not a psychiatrist, psychologist, or the DSM convince me of this, but the zillions of contacts I have (had) with parents and spouses of (usually) boys and men with strikingly similar personalities. The words Asperger or autism appear nowhere in the book. Either Nash really does fit this pattern and the author in her excellence unwittingly described it, or she patterned the Nash character after someone else who is Asperger. Read it and tell me if you don't agree.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Douglas P. Murphy on Oct. 21 2008
Format: Paperback
A while back I was glancing through one of my wife's magazines and found this article on John Nash. I read with interest and inexplicably began staring at one of the photos. "Oh, my God!" I recognized him. D floor. Firestone Library at Princeton University. For a while I had studied there rather steadily and spent a fair amount of time on D floor - coke machines and chatter. John Nash used to show up there fairly regularly and saw me as well. There was some gossip from the other D floor patrons about a professor in whose life something had gone wrong. Eventually Mr. Nash started to talk to me and started to show me books he was reading. I was fairly young and quite honestly became uncomfortable and uneasy for various reasons and did not promote future contacts although now I wish I had. Mr. Nash's life is fascinating to me, and I salute his achievements and recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By smartnurse123 on July 17 2004
Format: Audio Cassette
John Nash's story is truly inspirational. I could not stop the audio until I got to the end!
John Nash, a mathematical genius, had many ups and downs in his life, including a diagnosed mental illness and various social problems that made his life painful and complicated. His Nobel-prize winning work occurred while he was writing his dissertation at Princeton. He was not recognized until later in his life for his ground-breaking contribution to "game theory".
His story is one not only of his incredible gift, mental illness and remission, but really one of personal victory. In the end, he learns to live in harmony with those around him doing what he enjoyed most.
One of my most recent favorites!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alan Klanac on July 13 2004
Format: Paperback
As I have said in the title, this book is an amazing piece of detective work about the life of Great John Nash. This is by far the work that beats the movie. If you have seen it, do not stop there - read the book, because it is TRUE! If you are interested into mathematics, into the Game theory - read it, not to learn the science, but to appreciate the scientist! However, I still give it 4 stars since the level of writing drops a little after exhilarating first few chapters. Nevertheless this is a great read!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Captain Cook on Aug. 14 2002
Format: Paperback
This biography of the Nobel Prize winner and schizophrenic mathematical genius John Forbes Nash surprisingly brings to mind the main character in Dostoyevsky's great novel, "Crime and Punishment." Like the intense, reclusive student, Raskolnikov, Nash in this biography comes across as an extremely anti-social and arrogant young man, convinced that his genius gives him certain rights and freedoms beyond the petty restrictions, rules, and manners that govern normal human conduct.
But whereas Dostoyevsky's character commits a murder, Nash's main offense is merely to be an arrogant and boorish lout, forever trying to show off to his fellow students at Princeton. When he is later struck down by mental illness after achieving so much so young, we can't help feeling there is an element of hubris involved.
Nash also fits into the popular paradigm of the lop-sided genius, the person of incredible talents who can't deal with the simpler aspects of daily life. As in the case of the notoriously absent-minded Albert Einstein -- whom Nash meets in the book -- or the equally eccentric Isaac Newton, we somehow feel reassured that these supreme geniuses have their weaknesses. For all these reasons, this is a story that resonates on a mythic and psychological level. We keep rooting for Nash, but also secretly look forward to him tripping up. This reflects the ambivalent attitude to the sciences that most people have -- we are both intrigued by new discoveries but afraid of their ramifications.
Around the age of 30, Nash's quest to find greater meaning in the Universe sparked off his insanity as he started to discern complex codes implanted by extra-terrestrials in the random occurrence of certain letters of the alphabet in daily life.
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