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Archive for September 2011

Author: Sylvia Nasar
Genre : Biography
Pages :470+

Language: English

Publication Year: 1998

Is Review Spoiler: No

Awards : National Book Critics Circle Award for biography, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for biography, and was shortlisted for the Rhône-Poulenc Prize in 1999

Movie based on this book : A Beautiful Mind

Rating: 4/5


This is an excellent unauthorized biography of mathematical genius John Nash, this is a journey of John Nash from childhood to his winning nobel peace prize for economics in 1994. The book is divided into five parts, the first two parts of the book covers his geniuses and his contribution to mathematics and number theory. The second half – part 3 & part 4 covers his marriage life and his illness Schizophrenia. The last part of the book covers his nobel prize-winning and reawakening of the genius from Schizophrenia.

“John Forbes Nash, Jr. (born June 13, 1928) is an American mathematician  whose works in game theory, differential geometry, and partial differential equations have provided insight into the forces that govern chance and events inside complex systems in daily life. His theories are used in market economics, computing, evolutionary biology, artificial intelligence, accounting, politics and military theory. Serving as a Senior Research Mathematician at Princeton University during the latter part of his life, he shared the 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with game theorists Reinhard Selten and John Harsanyi.[src : Wikipedia]

This book doesn’t has much of mathematics in it, so no need tp worry if you’re not a mathematician or know very less maths. In this book we are introduced to game theory and Nash contribution to game theory by introducing the Equilibrium point also know as ‘Nash Equilibrium’. It’s not kind of not putdownalbe book but a very interesting and deep researched work of Sylvia Nasar’s. A very good biography and very good read, it’s very hard to put it in review without giving away the story, so I won’t spoil the story. If you like Maths and Game theory and want to know the life of genius who saw things very differently than others then go read this book.

How could you, a mathematician, believe that extraterrestrials were sending you messages?” the visitor from Harvard asked the West Virginian with the movie-star looks and Olympian manner.

“Because the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way my mathematical ideas did,” came the answer. “So I took them seriously.”

Thus begins the true story of John Nash, the mathematical genius who was a legend by age thirty when he slipped into madness, and who — thanks to the selflessness of a beautiful woman and the loyalty of the mathematics community — emerged after decades of ghostlike existence to win a Nobel Prize and world acclaim. The inspiration for a major motion picture, Sylvia Nasar’s award-winning biography is a drama about the mystery of the human mind, triumph over incredible adversity, and the healing power of love.


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