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A Beautiful Mind

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  129,986 ratings  ·  1,588 reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
John Nash was a prodigy. A star of the already prestigious Princeton and MIT mathematics departments in the 1950s, Nash was known for his ability to penetrate and solve "deep problems" -- those thought virtually unsolvable by his peers. His greatest contribution came with his advancement of game theory that revolutionized economics. A professor in
Hardcover, 459 pages
Published June 12th 1998 by Simon & Schuster
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Betty Day I have not seen the movie - they always disappoint me if I've read the book. There is no way a movie can cover the detail of schizophrenia, hospitaliz…moreI have not seen the movie - they always disappoint me if I've read the book. There is no way a movie can cover the detail of schizophrenia, hospitalizations, treatments that didn't help, and the long-term gentle support that gradually allowed John Nash to "recover". I especially liked his comparison of an artist who could no longer paint, although "recovered", to his inability to perform the work he used to do although "recovered". I've experienced the same perverse "recovery" - though "only" from major depression - and the inability to function as I did before the onset of major depression. The book makes it clear that the accepted wisdom of hospitalization for mental illness is not the same as for physical illnesses. I heard a keynote speaker for the National Alliance on Mental Illness back in 2010 or 2011 who had recovered from schizophrenia and was leading a productive professional life. It certainly gave me hope for recovery.(less)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
A Beautiful Mind: A Biography of Johan Forbes Nash, Sylvia Nasar

A 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.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه فوریه سال 1999میلادی

عنوان: یک ذهن زیبا؛ نوشته: سیلویا ناسار؛
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Highly recommended book.
I loved the movie, I've seen.
Then, I had found it is based on a true event.
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.
Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Chad Sayban
Sep 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More reviews at The Story Within The Story

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
Steven Dzwonczyk
Mar 13, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Melania 🍒

(Some Mild Spoilers Ahead)

What I struggled most with in this book was young Nash’s personality. Half of the book I could only think about what a humongous piece of sh!t Nash was. I know he has his illness, but we don’t know for sure how/ if that influenced his personality as a youngster. The way he treated his friends or anyone around, for that matter, even the mother of his child, was unforgiving from where I stand.
Not helping in any way raising his own son, pushing his future wife on th
Mar 21, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
"'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
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. John Forbes Nash Jr 1928 - 2015 ...more
Vincent Masson
Jun 19, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I definitely wasn't smart enough to understand the Math (although the author does a very good job putting it in layman's terms), but was absolutely riveted by the character of John Nash. Amazing Biography.  ...more
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems to be a commonly held belief that genius often goes hand-in-hand with mental illness. I've often wondered if this is actually the case or whether it's just that most people have never heard of most genius level intellects that aren't afflicted in this way. How many of us could honestly say we'd ever have heard of John Nash if it weren't for his prolonged battle with schizophrenia (if 'battle' is even the right word)?

I admit that I'd not heard of him until my wife recommended the movie t
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
A fascinating biography of John Nash, a brilliant but schizophrenic mathematician. The portrayal is uncompromising, and Nash appears in it in a less obliging and sympathetic light than in Ron Howard's film with Russell Crowe. ...more
Jan Rice
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I was thinking of this book again because of the deaths of John and Alicia Nash. At this remove, I cannot remember any details. We had this book on audio during a car trip. In 2002 the medium may have been tape. We either had the book as well, or, if not, I was picking my husband's brain on the story's mathematical aspects. The story was well told, very moving; the aspects relating to his schizophrenia passed muster with me. Later we saw the film, and I was appalled; thought the schizophrenia ha
Kali Srikanth
Update: 24/05/15

Noble Laureate, Genius Mathematician John Nash is no longer with us. He is killed in a car accident along with his wife.


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
I hardly finished part one of this book, it's too slow, filled with information and details even about John Nash's friends, the writer wanted to give us a full picture about John Nash's life and the people around him , but it seemed as if she wanted to have more pages filled.
I liked the Idea of reading about a Mathematician but it was enough with the writer...
John Nash is an interesting extraordinary man, I liked him through the documentary and the movie but not the novel.
here are people storie
This audiobook ran just over 18 hours, starting with the lives of John Nash’s parents and ending with roughly after he’s awarded the Nobel prize.

To be honest, if I had not seen the movie, which I’ve watched many times, then this would have passed me by as I was going through random searches on Libby, looking for interesting reads. And I wasn’t sure what to expect but this meets more than my expectations, and, compared to the movie. This story is made beautiful as it is tragic as it is hopeful. I
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Eslam Abdelghany
One of my every now and then favorites,John Nash is a role model & a distinguished spring of inspiration to those who believe in their own worlds,other than moving unconsciously on the roads of the others' ones,

RIP JOHN with your beloved,dedicated wife Alicia Lopez-Harrison de Lardé
who he said about,in his Nobel Prize acceptance Speech:-

"I'm only here tonight because of you,you are the reason I'm,you are all my reasons"
Jul 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A biography of the genius behind game theory, the Nobel prize winner John Nash. The book spends a long time introducing us to Nash in his earlier, pre fame years, as we get to know an arrogant, unlikeable man who has affairs and treats mearlt everyone badly.

It is no secret that when he grew older he lost himself to mental illness and spent many years in and out of hospitals. The startling decline really opened my eyes to the realities of mental illness in some ways.

I don't generally like biograp
Nayla Feghaly
The story is quite interesting. I didn't like the style of writing. There are too much information and details that makes it very unpleasant to read. I really struggled to finish the book. Sadly, For the first time, i would say: the movie was better than the book. ...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

One cannot avoid the temptation of reading the book, after watching the movie; twice.

The movie is excellent in the way it describes schizophrenia (a form of); better than many textbooks. One can actually see the mind at work of a math genius called Nash and even empathize with his afflictions; his inner struggle.

From nearly the onset of the pathology, to its development, treatment and some recovery (by Nash's free will...and his wife's love), the movie tells a story through time: Na
Hoda Marmar
This was one of my favorite reads of 2017. I never thought I would be so interested in details about math theorems, math colleges, and history of math.
Apart from the rich setting, I quite enjoyed learning about Nash, and I learned so much more about him than from watching the movie based on this biography (naturally).
Anyways, I love this book so so much. It has been 4 months since I read it, and I still feel fuzzy and warm inside when I spot it on my shelf ♥
George Mazurek)
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book (and movie).
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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'
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Oct 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Update of 7/2017: I recently learned that John Nash had a letter of recommendation written by Herbert Simon, he of the Nobel Prize deconstructing Rational Model Theory. Who knows, maybe Nash and Simon were working on the same problems in some way. But it appears that Nash was already of two minds in early university days: his own and Simon's. Then again, have you ever noticed how many bank clerks, librarians, grammar school teachers, and accountants become paranoid, tinpot dictators somehow?

Apr 23, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A comprehensive biography of the great 20th century mathematician John Nash. Each chapter is densely referenced to make the story concrete, so much so that it buries the author's voice and opinions and emotions. The book is very light on mathematics, though. There are no equations whatsoever.

Reading Nash's struggle with paranoid schizophrenia, where he phased in and out of delusions and hearing voices, frequently caused a lump in my throat. He described his final, cured state as dieting: an ever
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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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