The life of mathematical genius and nobel laureate John Nash. A drama about the mystery of the human mind, triumph over incredible adversity, and the healing power of love.
Winner of the national book critics award for biography. Now a major motion picture.
Is a long read, but worth it.
This is the book that the movie of the same name is based upon. This is a moving biography about John Nash, nobel prize winner for mathmatics, and the schizophrenia he was plagued with all of his life.
The story was interesting, but it was a very slow read for me, as it went into a lot of details and tangents that were not that relevant to the story. To be fair, I read more fiction than nonfiction, and I've had this same complaint about other nonfiction books. I guess it just especially stuck out to me here, because before reading this, I had seen a review that it "reads like a novel," and I strongly disagree with that.
I liked the movie and I like reading biographies, so this should have been a really good book for me. Unfortunately, I felt the need for a higher math education than I have to understand the first third of the book. Most of what's left is a detailed, play-by-play account of Nash's madness. The movie was very accessable, but the book is much more cerebral. The author used letters, diaries, and interviews to put together the facts, which are presented in a somewhat choppy method that does not draw one into the telling.
That said, I did read the entire book (minus the difficult parts that I skimmed) and did find his overall life interesting. I do not recommend this book to the casual reader.
The book delivers many relevant facts about the famous mathematician John Nash. Some examples of his mathematical ability, unusual even by genius standards, were given. The mathematical atmosphere of the time was explained briefly, certain universities highlighted.
The problem was for me that the book flowed about as excitingly as my first paragraph. Everything is there, to a small extent, but mostly without engaging me directly. I must admit I expected a little bit more.
On the other hand I might be biased, as one who does advanced calculus for fun, her game theory approach was not precise for me, as one who was fascinated by the causes of schizophrenia, the author did not add anything new to my understanding.
The biography did contribute to my continuing appreciation of the Sheldon Cooper character from Big Bang Theory, since Nash appeared to share many characteristics with the brilliant physicist of Chuck Laurie and I think the book helped me decide which mathematician Leonard was based on.
Unfortunately, aside from these tantalizing trivia bits, I did not feel the prose flowed at the hands of an experienced journalist. The book had many pages, but I felt needed more cutting, so much material was distracting me from what I really wanted to understand about John Nash.
I am not giving the book a lesser amount of stars because, being objective, other readers might enjoy the book more if they have less understanding of Nash's condition, or his math. But for me, this book pales in comparison with descriptions of other brilliant mathematicians I enjoyed reading: Hardy, Hilbert, Poincare, Weiner and Ulam.