Kanigel's is the first book I've read on Ramanujan. It is well put together and explores the elements of the man, South India and Cambridge that led to the "collaboration" which allowed Ramanujan to flourish and be "discovered" by the West. Mathematics and Science is Planetary in scope, whereas cultures and colonialism, idiosyncracies of Universities, constraints of poverty, all in some way deny us the fruits of genius, whom I daresay are "normally" distributed in all populations! Nurture, in the true and fullest sense of the word, allows the light to shine through. Ramanujan's letter to Hardy is a classic! It is the essence of understatement, he may have been uneducated in the purely formal sense, but he was quite aware of the world he was to be reluctantly invited to join. His gifts are rare, his powers abundantly evident, there is no use debating how much longer he may have lived, if both he and Hardy understood the difficulties of a South Indian clerk attempting to live in Cambridge. The collaboration brings into sharp relief, the genarally accepted notion that in most endeavours of man, critical mass, or an informed bouncing wall/mirror brings out the best. Does Hingis give of her best against a weak opponent? Doesn't Michael Jordon reach deep when there is half a minute and five points to score? Would Karpov have ramped up his game had Fischer allowed him a match? Ramanujan may have contributed much more had he survived even two more Summers. As it stands his contribution is so outstanding that his notebooks still give up useful gems to knowledge-hungry post-graduate students. Kanigel's book is a must read for anyone interested in the history of Mathematics, anyone interested in harnessing the powers of genius, the relationships among nature and nurture, genes and culture etc. Good companion reading would include the lives of Richard Feynman, John Maynard Keynes and anything on the Manhattan Project to name but a few.