48 books
—
28 voters

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

Start by marking “John Von Neumann” as Want to Read:

# John Von Neumann

by

Presents the biography of John von Neumann, one of the greatest scientist of the century after Einstein. This book discusses Von Neumann's work in areas such as game theory, mathematics, physics, and meteorology which formed the building blocks for the most important discoveries of the century: the modern computer, game theory, and the atom bomb.
...more

## Get A Copy

Paperback, 406 pages

Published
October 15th 1999
by American Mathematical Society
(first published October 6th 1992)

## Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book,
please sign up.

## Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about
John Von Neumann,
please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about John Von Neumann

## Community Reviews

Showing 1-30

Start your review of John Von Neumann

Macrae's editor notica ...more

Norman Macrae was a well respected economist and editor at the Economist in London, and should have been in the position to write something excellent. Instead this reads like a phone-it-in work of lazy scholarship, relying on the superlatives associated with the subject rather than actually doing the work required to produce a biography commensurate wit ...more

The book's style is breezy and digressive; the author intrudes regularly. The book was started by another author and then finished by Macrae; it leans heavily on secondary sources like Richard Rhodes, Ulam's memoir, etc. However, the family did cooperate in the project a ...more

I do think that the writer, excited to have similar political views to those of a true genius, gets a little too excited about defending Von Neumann from detractors – most of which are strawmen anyway. ...more

1. How and why was John Von Neumann so brilliant?

2. What was the extent of his work.

The first was answered really well in the first 5 chapters. The second... not so much. You do get glimmers of what he was involved in, but one never gets to what extent he made any groundbreaking contributions. They are merely impl ...more

*This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.*

The author’s political comments were occasionally irritating (even when they were sentiments I shared), but apart from that the book gives one almost everything one could wish for in a biography: amusing anecdotes, but also an accessible exposition of the subject’s work. The earlier chapters, which charted the influence of von Neumann’s upbringing on his eventual academic path, were perhaps ...more

At the end, the history of someone who taught me to keep thinking, keep learning. I'm humbled ...more

Unfortunately, the rest of the book isn't able to keep up. Unlike Feynman, von Neumann turns out to just not have been a very interesting character. Sure, he was brilliant, but the author is quic ...more

The amount of time spent recounting names, dates, times etc. seems excessive despite their important place in a biography. The author regularly refers back to people who haven't been mentioned in a long time as if they'd only just been introduced, requiring a constant flitting back and forth between the index which brea ...more

Unfortun ...more

The author refers to von Neumann as "Johnny" throughout, and I found that distracting and disrespectful in such a biography. But the au ...more

Man's are from Mars!
...more

There are no discussion topics on this book yet.
Be the first to start one »

## Goodreads is hiring!

## News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day.
To create our...

23 likes · 8 comments

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“The most important use to which he had put his memory was that he had stuffed an unprecedented number of mathematical constants and equations into it. Most of us have very few mathematical constants in our mind, perhaps only the up-to-twelve-times multiplication table. Johnny had put in his mind layers and layers of algebraic verities. These were the explanation of his extraordinary powers of mental calculation.”
—
0 likes

“His powers of memory were awe-inspiring, but only about matters on which he had fearsomely concentrated his mind.”
—
0 likes

More quotes…