A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar is the inspiring book behind the Oscar-winning film featuring Russell Crowe.
Sylvia Nasar was born in Bavaria in 1947 to a German mother and Uzbek father. Her family emigrated to the United States in 1951 and lived in New York and Washington, D.C. before moving to Ankara, Turkey in 1960. In 1965, she returned to the USA and attended Antioch College where she majored in literature. After working for several years, she entered the PhD programme in Economics at New York University, completing a Master's degree in 1976. For a time, she did economics research, including with Nobel Laureate Wassily Leontief.At the age of 35 Nasar became a journalist. Since 1983 she has been a writer at Fortune, a columnist at US News & World Report and a reporter at the New York Times where she currently covers economics. A Beautiful Mind, her first book, was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography and the Helen Bernstein Book Award.
John Forbes Nash's mathematical research would eventually win him a Nobel prize, but only after he recovered from decades of mental illness. Nasar tells a story of triumph, tragedy, and enduring love. (LJ 5/15/98)
Nasar has written a notable biography of mathematical genius John Forbes Nash (b. 1928), a founder of game theory, a RAND Cold War strategist and winner of a 1994 Nobel Prize in economics. She charts his plunge into paranoid schizophrenia beginning at age 30 and his spontaneous recovery in the early 1990s after decades of torment. He attributes his remission to will power; he stopped taking antipsychotic drugs in 1970 but underwent a half-dozen involuntary hospitalizations. Born in West Virginia, the flamboyant mathematical wizard rubbed elbows at Princeton and MIT with Einstein, John von Neumann and Norbert Wiener. He compartmentalized his secret personal life, shows Nasar, hiding his homosexual affairs with colleagues from his mistress, a nurse who bore him a son out of wedlock, while he also courted Alicia Larde, an MIT physics student whom he married in 1957. Their son, John, born in 1959, became a mathematician and suffers from episodic schizophrenia. Alicia divorced Nash in 1963, but they began living together again as a couple around 1970. Today Nash, whose mathematical contributions span cosmology, geometry, computer architecture and international trade, devotes himself to caring for his son. Nasar, an economics correspondent for the New York Times, is equally adept at probing the puzzle of schizophrenia and giving a nontechnical context for Nash's mathematical and scientific ideas. (June)
Oliver Sacks Deeply interesting and extraordinarily moving. "The New York Times" Reads like a fine novel. "The Boston Globe" Superbly written and eminently fascinating.