A Beautiful Mind
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A Beautiful Mind

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  53,845 ratings  ·  764 reviews
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 writin...more
Paperback, 461 pages
Published February 1st 2002 by Faber & Faber (first published June 12th 1998)
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Terran
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 a...more
Chad Sayban
At 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 ec...more
April
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 more 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.
Steven Dzwonczyk
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 wat...more
Eric_W
"'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 t...more
Kirsten
This biography was the basis for the popular film "A Beautiful Mind" a few years ago. It's the fascinating story of an arrogant young mathematician who began his career with genius-level work in mathetmatics, succumbed to paranoid schizophrenia in his thirties, and ultimately experienced a remission in the late 80s and was awarded the Nobel Prize for his early work in game theory.

Reading about Nash's early life and the beginning of his career, I couldn't help but notice that he was always rather...more
Jamie
When it comes to geniuses, a few archetypes generally come to mind. They're often characterized as under appreciated geeks with hearts of gold (think the entire cast of Revenge of the Nerds) or as slightly spaced out but cuddly old men (think Einstein). Or they're quixotic coyotes forever trying to nab that pesky road runner. In any case, the word "noble" probably applies, at some level, to most conceptions of the intellectually gifted.

This is not true of John Nash, the subject of the biography...more
Jane
Where I got the book: audiobook downloaded from Audible.

I haven't had an Audible subscription for ages but I knew there were some books on there I hadn't listened to. I was surprised to find this one among them. Why, I wondered, had I picked a book about a mathematician I'd personally never heard of? By the time my youngest was in freshman year at high school I could no longer follow what she was doing in math. Actually, that was probably true in 8th grade. Ok, 7th grade. You get the picture? I'...more
rivka
This is one of those books where writing a review was so daunting that I didn't get to it right away . . . and so never got to it at all.

But even though it has now been almost 3 years since I read it, I will try to come up with something. Because I see several friends who had it as "to-read" 3 years ago still have not read it, and they should!

I enjoyed the movie that is loosely based on this book. But it takes a lot of liberties with the facts -- skipping Nash's early life altogether, ignoring/o...more
ماهرعبد الرحمن
كانت "أوفيليا" تقول على عقل هاملت : يا لهذا العقل الجميل المضيع!. لكن اليشيا لارد فى هذه الحكاية ساعدت ناش على أن يفلت من الضياع، لتكون تلك قصة "عقل جميل". تخرج جون فوربس ناش من جامعة "برينستون". ثم تم تعينه فى معهد "ماساتشوستس للتكنولوجيا" هذا المعهد الموجود بمدينة كامبريدج بولاية ماساتشوستس . كان ناش يدرس فصل "التفاضل والتكامل"، وكتب فى أحد الأيام مسألة حسابية لطلابه متحديا إياهم أن يقوموا بحلها. وكان أن حضرت تلميذته "اليشيا" لمناقشته حول تلك المسألة. أثناء المناقشة نظر إلى عينيها ووجد الإصرار...more
Kali Srikanth
This is the story of John Forbes Nash, Jr. It is a story about the mystery of the human mind, in three acts:

1. GENIUS: Perhaps John Nash was the greatest mathematical genius ever born in his times. He grew up as a child who lacked social skills (which his parents feared the most), days he locked himself up in dark room with books alone, has no close friends etc., all he got was his mother, his sister and his mathematical books. Soon after he grew up into a young man who took up Secret-code break...more
Danamarie1993
In A beautiful mind it tells a story about Mr. Nash. He is like all of the other kids when he was younger. The book is a time line of his life. As the story proceeds, you will get pulled into his world. There are some of problems in his life that he will have to face or go through. He also, triumphs his old fears of his school and his friends.

Towards the middle of the story; Like everyone in the story, Mr.Nash goes through some changes. He also,meets some new people that shares his interest in...more
Tezar Yulianto
Nice book.
Sesudah terpukau dengan filmnya, saya berkeinginan untuk membaca bukunya, dan baru berapa tahun kemudian, terealisasi.
John F Nash, genius matematikawan, yang kelak akan meraih nobel ekonomi karena teori Nash-equilibrium, yang mempengaruhi Game Theory (saya sedikit mendapatkannya di mata kuliah Riset Operasional dan Analisa Pengambilan Keputusan), tapi mengalami hidup yang menyedihkan, hidup bersama skizofrenia.
Orang bilang, genius tidak beda jauh dengan gila. Tapi bukan berarti jenius...more
Leonora
Having read the book, I don't think I can see the movie. From what I've heard the film is quite good and tells the story of a genius gone mad. I gather that's where the similarity ends.

John Nash is (for most of the book) an egotist who enjoys playing dangerous pranks on others, brags that he is one of three smartest men at Princeton, treats his lovers (male and female) as though they are only there for his amusement/pleasure. He is smart, cruel, and completely socially inept. Until his illness,...more
Rebecca Huston
One of the best books on a Nobel laureate that I have ever read. John Nash is one of those men that managed to transcend a very difficult life and reach the apex of succeeding in the scientific world -- winning a Nobel prize. His Game Theory changed the twentieth century, both good and bad, and his struggle with schizophrenia is one that anyone who is coping with mental illness themselves, or in someone that they care for, is one that inspires and educates. I heartily recommend this one. Five st...more
David Boyce
Well Well, if you want to see a nice film about a nice man conquering a nice mental illness then watch the film. If you want to find out about an awful guy getting an awful disease and ruining the lives of everybody that got close to him, then read the book. Sylvia Nasar paints a painful picture of loss. She describes the mystery world of schizophrenia as seen through the eyes of those people most hurt by it, the family and friends of John Nash. As a reader I couldn’t help but sympathise with Al...more
Chana
Once I started reading this book I realized that the movie, which I had enjoyed, was entertainment, concerning itself more with the strange delusions of John Nash's mental illness than with the life of the real man.
More than half of this book is about John Nash before he became ill at age 30. He was this totally arrogant young math genius, eccentric and homosexually inclined. He was pretty hard to like because he was obnoxious and unkind and very self-centered. (I was reminded of how my mother...more
Matt
This book took me through the full range of emotions. I felt awe, disgust, pity, wonder, joy, confusion, resolution, etc... Most of all it made me introspective as to how I treat others, and how the entire field of Psychiatry treats patients.

First of all, I learned that the movie took MANY liberties with the facts. It is about 20% truth, and the rest is style and effects. For many years I have enjoyed the movie and recommended it to friends. So I felt disillusioned when I found out how false it...more
Amy
Apr 11, 2010 Amy rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Well, I will not read this book again. Nor do I recommend it to anyone.

I admit it was interesting to learn more about John Nash, particularly just how good he was, and what his colleagues had to say about his brilliant, beautiful mind. It was eye opening to read about the time of his life when he actively began struggling with his illness, and his subsequent recovery. It was gratifying to read about his Nobel Prize experience.

All that said, it was not at all "good" enough to entice me to spend m...more
Nicole Green
The story of John Nash has always been one of my favourites. I saw the film A Beautiful Mind when it first came out and became immediately interested in psychology. This was the starting point for me and it is really a surprise that I haven't actually read the book that inspired the movie, until know.

John Nash was one of the greatest mathematicians of the modern world. The fact that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia never mattered to him. Math was his life, his family was his life, and the sch...more
Monica
Una biografía muy interesante, no sólo desde el punto de vista matemático, con ello quiero decir que lo puede leer todo el mundo sin temor a encontrarse con un tratado de ciencia pura y dura.

Es un repaso a la vida del famoso matemático, desde sus inicios, sus logros y decepciones a nivel profesional, su relación con su pareja, su colaboración con las fuerzas de los estados unidos, hasta su enfermedad mental (que leyendo el libro no me queda claro que fuese esquizofrenia, pues no se cura y sin em...more
Josh & Tiffany
As most people have already commented, this is probably one of the few biographies that I will pick up and actually enjoy reading. I found that all of the mathematical and psychological jargon added depth to the story even when I didn't completely understand it.

That being said, I did come away from this biography with a less-than-rosy view of John Nash. Apart from his God-given genius, there doesn't seem much left to admire about this man - or at least to write a book and make a movie about. Ins...more
Book'd
Aug 10, 2013 Book'd rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
The movie made me read it. I loved Crowe and always have. He is super-stupendous. Sadly, I couldn't concentrate on the book much since all the scenes from the movie kept swimming before my eyes.

Its a great read nonetheless. I felt, it was much easier to picture what the genius professor was going through since I had already watched the movie.

I sobbed, then cried and then cried harder.
Then grinned, and smiled and smiled some more!!
That what this book does to you.

I wish to read it again. Soon.
Syahira Sharif
I never would have thought a book on a real life person to be more interesting than the fictitious movie the book had inspired. It was amazing and so painfully cited that although it was an unofficial rendition of the life John Forbes Nash, Jr, it was in fact, more real than ever. Made you really wonder that it wasn't even for someone with a brilliant mind, it was a difficult life and a difficult time.
It wasn't always that the truth can be as more puzzling as the reality. "A Beautiful Mind" is j...more
Arminzerella
John Nash was a prominent mathematician in the prime of his career – best known for his work on game theory (and its applications in economics) – when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Already somewhat eccentric and socially awkward, his illness pushed him over into paranoid and delusional. He was unable to function in the real world and had to be institutionalized. He received treatments, some of which were more successful than others, and like other schizophrenics he relapsed many times. It...more
Chris Gamble
I just finished the book today, but it took me a while to read it. With personal issues and the like, it took me about a month to read this book. It is rather long, but still.

So I thought this book was quite good. Biographies are one of my favorite (probably second favorite) types of books, and usually I'll read about a famous dead person. I am in love with all fascinating people. But the first thing about this book that I liked is that the person is STILL ALIVE. That's right, I said it; in this...more
Anne Hawn Smith
The story of the brilliant John Nash is an incredibly complicated one. Did his madness contribute to his difficult, arrogant personality or was he just one of those people who has a severe social disability? I came up with more questions than answers after reading this book. Did he have Asbergers syndrome? Was this why he was so inept at social relations, or was he so contemptuous of everyone around him because he recognized early that he was intellectually so far superior to everyone he knew? D...more
Michael Armijo
About A Genius of a Man...in Search of 'Something More'

This is a story of a genius of a man who is so caught up in world views and in search of 'something more' until he spirals into a "glut". I give this book a solid "A" (five stars). It was quite enlightening and opened my mind to new things. It's ultimately a learning experience. The book offers a person room for one's own intellectual vision. If you think you're a genius or 'want to be' more of a genius then you should definitely read this b...more
Luann
This is the most comprehensive biography I've ever read! I can't even comprehend the time, effort, and research that went into writing it. The sheer number of personal interviews is staggering! And while I was amazed at how much Sylvia Nasar put into the book, it also felt a bit tedious. The text is littered with numbers next to each fact or quote referring you to the Notes section at the end. I kept a separate bookmark there so I could easily find my way, and then would only allow myself to loo...more
Anastacia
Though it was a bit slow in places (which is probably to be expected given John Nash’s career in mathematics), I really enjoyed reading A Beautiful Mind. I’m interested in history and mental illness and, lately, I have become absolutely fascinated by some of the history of mathematical geniuses, as they tend to be quite a rather unique bunch. I saw the movie version of the book when it was released several years ago, and while I don’t remember much about it other than I liked it, I’m pretty sure...more
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horror 5 91 Dec 17, 2012 09:59PM  
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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...more
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