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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Insight
Nasar provides an exhaustive account of the life of John F. Nash, Jr, who is perhaps one of the great geniuses of the past century, and could have been greater still if paranoid schizophrenia had not intervened.
What is so important about this work is that Nasar is equally skilled in communicating the extent of Nash's illness and the significance of his battle...
Published on 8 July 2002 by Brian Sloan

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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book if you are interested in the early years of Nash
At the outset of this book, Sylvia Nasar impresses us by the detailed research she must have conducted on the social life of John Nash. She conveys well his imperfections and his psychological violence towards less talented fellows. The book goes as well a long way trying to understand the reasons that could have triggered Nash's illness. Still, she all too easily...
Published on 1 May 2000 by i.barankay@lse.ac.uk


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4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful Mind, 8 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: A Beautiful Mind (Paperback)
Bought this book on behalf of a friend and who reviewed the book as a good read and would recommend it.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still think mathematicians are dull?, 26 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
This is a weighty account of the life of the mathematician, John Nash. It is a moving account of his stuggle with schizophrenia and his partial recovery. Nasar has managed to treat both his mathematical and personal life with great sensitivity, something for which she should be praised. I have a copy of the hard bound edition which contains two errors. (1) Bletchley Park is not on the Southern coast of Britain, but near Milton Keynes, North of London. (2) Somewhere in the text I think Paul Erdos' (air-dish) name has suffered in the spell-checker. Other than these minor points, this book is well worth reading.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex Man-A Bio That Runs True, 26 Oct. 2008
This review is from: A Beautiful Mind (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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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mathematical genius comes alive, 25 Jun. 2010
By 
rhosymynydd "liz" (west wales) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Beautiful Mind (Paperback)
IN the slight offchance that you have read one of my other reviews, this will prove that I do actually read "good literature" occasionally, well very occasionally true but when I find a terrific insightful book like this one it makes it all worthwhile and I am left thiking "Why, of why don't I read more like thi?". Seriously, the book was a gift and I viewed with slight disdain, apart from Gerald Durrell, I can't say that biographies are my cup of tea - however, afte the first four pages, I was captivated. My mathematical brain (non-existant) did not actually kick in but I really felt it painted a sympathetic view of Nash. His incredible contribitions to the world of numbers (particularly game theory) followed by his descent into schizophrenia was devastating. I cannot imagine this tragedy to such a fantastic mind. Read it!A Beautiful Mind
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, 4 April 2010
This review is from: A Beautiful Mind (Paperback)
Have you read the book 'A beautiful mind'? After the first part, which is mainly mathematical, as the story unfolds it is heartbreaking what happened to John Nash, from the psychiatric treatment and rejection of some of his peer group. I was right, I am not sure if I told you this, I realised he used algebraic equations as a form of getting at people. I first realised this and I thought he was quite naughty, but as the book continues these people were not nice to him and it was his way of dealing with this.

Mathematics, especially if you are calculating in the head, this erases all other thoughts. Therefore, you would walk past people and not notice them, you would forget to eat and the time of day. John chose to walk whilst he was thinking and this made him obvious to other people. The other geniuses chose to stay in an office, just different learning styles, not mentally ill. He did not write everything down. He was working on an algebraic formula relating to game theory. This formula I think came to him before he was at college, all he needed to do was find a fit for it. If the formula did not fit, then what he was looking at was not the place to find the answer. His way of testing things were not on par with others at the University. One way of testing the formula, was the games he invented. Whenever someone new was learning the game he would watch them intently to study the strategy they used. The games always proved the formula to be correct. What he was unable to do was apply the formula to real life problems. They were all paranoid, at this unique University, someone would steal their ideas, and this is typical of people who want to be the first to discover things.

People said John was strange because he would sometimes want to play, like little boys. This is not odd behaviour. Society teaches us, that a certain time in life we become adults and adults do not play games and run around like children. It is quite acceptable to see a mother playing with her children. For adults to be running around and playing like children is clearly not right. Society is wrong, it is important to play and have fun. Far better than taking 'recreational' drugs, or drinking alcohol. People would scoff at this idea which releases pent up tension, being silly and having a fun time laughing, better than any anti-depressant on the market.

Well, his wife was not a nice person, in my opinion. Today her behaviour would be seen as stalking. She played a major role in having him committed into a psychiatric institute. What she did was go around getting people to look for his mental illness, then arranged committal procedure, but would not sign the papers herself. She tried getting his colleagues to sign and in the end persuaded his mother to sign. That is calculated, cruel and devastating behaviour. I was pleased when one psychiatrist asked to see her as well. One should always question why another person is claiming someone is mentally ill.

The psychosis came about when pressure was put on him to diverge from his usual pattern of learning and to focus on everyday things.

I think his new wife thought that now he was married he would focus himself more on being a family man, and when this did not happen she was deeply saddened. This woman wanted social status and this was a core part of her personality and needs. She had a hidden agenda and thought she would be able to change him. John, who had been a bit of a loner, tallied along with this, to the eventual detriment of his health. I should think he would have started to have sever anxiety, or panic attacks, because it was interfering with his work.

I found his wife's behaviour very odd. Always wanting to hear what John was talking about when they had guests. Giving up her education to be nearer him, this was prior to ever having gone out with him. Then obtaining employment so she could be where he was. I do not really understand what makes people obsessive in this way. I do know that it makes the other person who is the target very poorly when they become involved with obsessive possessive people. It is not nice and the person experiencing this form of relationship present with real anxiety about not being able to fulfill the other persons needs. It is the victim of the obsessive person that presents with an illness. Because she did not know him, she did not realise he would not notice her if he was constantly thinking of his theory. Maybe, this lack of noticing her created her obsession?

John obviously went to listen to classical music as a form of giving his mind a rest. When the mind has rested, the answers become sharper, or clearer, or you just forget that mode of thought because it does not apply to the theory. Then this woman, kept appearing in his life. It is so easy to be the person observing and thinking why are they putting up with this nonsense?

Even though it is not mentioned in the book, why did they not name the baby? 12 months later when the baby was named, it was John. Now, would you have two sons with the name John? This appears to be another part of the obsessive controlling behaviour.

John thought, because his wife was educated, she would be a better mother, not so. After the birth of his second son he must have felt really dreadful, he married the same person as his ex partner, but in a different body, with a different education. The packet was different the contents the same. Like the Belgium chocolate biscuits from Marks and Spencer and the same biscuits sold in Tesco. One cheaper and no fancy packaging the other expensive for the fancy packaging. Hence the trip to Europe, he had not intention of coming back to America and Alicia knew this. Dumping the baby with her mother to follow him? Strange, but his other son had a similar mother, only she dumped her son with social services. One loved heated arguments, the expensive wife want him committing to a psychiatric institute.

It may appear illogical that John Nash wanted to relinquish his nationality and quite insane. The unconscious mind works in the most strangest of ways. The unconscious mind is like roots, if one path is blocked then it will find another path in which to present. Johns real fear of going to war and dying, in another country he would not be under the pressure of conscription. The need to be free and working without added pressure, in another country his wife would not be living with him. His major problems being in America, so another country would erase all this. Away from all this and in a foreign country would be the easiest option, not logical, but to ease a troubled mind, very logical to the person thinking this.

It is sad, because John Nash was not clear with regards to his own sexuality. His relationships were not successful because he was not clear with what he wanted. There is no excuse where the babies came from, he was not retarded and could have used contraception, no pill them days. The amount of babies born now from the pill not working, suggests the pill should be abolished.

Insulin coma? Electric shock treatment? Psychotropic medications? Even newer drugs, all scar the brain. Scarred tissue never recovers, so the brain will find another route to present functioning. The brain recovering from this is amazing, and we have plenty of examples of these drugs and treatments being used to study the mind. That is all they are used for. Absolute poppy cock to suggest they are used for anything else. Freud needs to be back in psychology text books and on the degree course modules, they have completely stopped teaching his theories now. Even when I was at university, Freud was a brief introduction in the first year

The most poignant part of the book, for me, is what Robert Winters said pp 303-304. It was this that made me cry.

"When I look at the human race all over the world I think there is zero reason for humanity to survive. We're destructive, uncaring, thoughtless, greedy, power hungry. But when I look at a few individuals, there seems every reason for humanity to survive."

Freud thought along these lines. He could never understand man's inhumanity to man. Before Freud died, this was a lifelong question he was unable to answer. People considered this to be from his personal experience of being Jewish and the era of Hitler. What does it matter where his thinking and experiences came from? Man's inhumanity to man was around well before Freud was born and not specific to the Jewish people. It will continue, because people do not learn, or refuse to learn.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written account of a fascinating life, 22 Sept. 2009
By 
John Holland (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Beautiful Mind (Paperback)
Cut to the chase - watch the film rather than reading this version of the John Nash story. The subject mater is fascinating - an immensely talented and creatove matehemtician who chellenges current theories and pushes the bounadaries of mathematics in numerous dimensions. But a flawed genius, who struggles to cope with psychotic episodes that blighted his life.

The material is all there, and Sylvia Nasar has clearly researched this in some detail. But the book fails to engage, poring over trivial details, emphasizing the mindane and skipping over maths details, relationships and anything remotely interesting. Sadly flawed.
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18 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Confused Genius With A Beautiful Mind, 7 May 2002
This review is from: A Beautiful Mind (Paperback)
A Beautiful Mind By Sylvia Nasar
This is a book that like the man whose biography it is, may confuse the reader such as myself while reading it, but believe me it is worth the effort of reading for its honesty about a genius and his life, what it takes to become a world class mathematic. Sylvia Nasar put a tremendous amount of research in this book as evidenced by the contents and the index.
I believe Dr. Nash could have been a healthier person with a little training in emotional intelligent, but he did not have that advantage and comes out a snob and a very hard person to know. He was born in West Virginia and went on to graduate from Princeton University where he invented game theory. John was not a likeable person, he mumbled when he spoke, did not look you in the eye, and did not make friends. But he had a beautiful mind for mathematic problems that allowed him to be valuable to the human race. After ups and downs he much later won the Nobel Prize in mathematics for his valuable game theory.
John fathered a boy with a nurse, Eleanor. He refused to pay for the birth of the boy and did not marry Eleanor. He always thought that Eleanor was inferior to him and it showed in his actions. Later he married Alicia who nurtured and committed him to a hospital by turns. She had borne him a son in one of his lurid moments before he had a nervous breakdown. She was forced to divorce him later although they were together most of the time.
Dr. John Nash was not a nice person to know when he was young before his nervous breakdown at 31 years of age when he was analyzed as schizophrenia. There is a bit of a mystic story that a mathematic genius does his best work by he time he is 30 and as John got closer to that age he worried about his mathematic ability becoming mediocre. Over a period of time he became more difficult until he had a nervous breakdown and ended up in the hospital where he was diagnosed as schizophrenia. This is common enough with very intelligent people who spent most of their time thinking as an occupation.
It seems that schizophrenic may be gene, which runs in a family. We seem to have a lot of them in some West Virginia families. This book provides a very good of describing schizophrenic. . Some times it is difficult to recognize the difference whether one is a genius or a schizophrenic. Only the work that they do differs, in one case it is coherent and to a knowledgeable person beautiful work, or when studied proves to be completely bad and crazy. It may change from one moment to another.
In the case of Dr. Nash schizophrenia took him to Europe where he got into all kinds of trouble trying to fine himself. If his brain had not been so valuable to the world he might have disappeared as so many do with his problem.
As Dr. Nash grew older his mind seemed to slowly recover from the schizophrenia condition. He became easier to know and appreciated Alicia and his sons.
This book was long and difficult to read. It’s very detailed, but I’m glad I finished it and it’s well worth five stars.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book was an encaptivating look into a genius' mind., 6 May 2002
This review is from: A Beautiful Mind (Paperback)
The book was a fab read, starting from his early childhood through to his later years. It told not only of his life but also of those around him and wonderfull meetings with Einstein. This is a must read to all who enjoy autobiographys and learning about the facinating lives of others.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Book, 5 April 2013
By 
A. M. Knight (Dorset, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Beautiful Mind (Paperback)
Unfortunately the print size is so small I cannot read this book. Even with my glasses on it is a strain, so unfortunately I cannot give this book a decent rating. As I have seen the filom twice I really would have liked to read the book.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible item, 28 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: A Beautiful Mind (Paperback)
This book was terrible, there were brown spots all over the pages and it smelt awful, obviously not ideal at all. Very disappointed.
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