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The Martian's Daughter: A Memoir Hardcover – August 31, 2012

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The Martian's Daughter: A Memoir + Martians of Science: Five Physicists Who Changed the Twentieth Century + John Von Neumann: The Scientific Genius Who Pioneered the Modern Computer, Game Theory, Nuclear Deterrence, and Much More
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Flipping through the pages of Marina von Neumann Whitman’s life…feels like viewing several extraordinary movies in one sitting."
—Tom Walsh, Detroit Free Press

(Tom Walsh Detroit Free Press 2012-08-19)

About the Author

Marina von Neumann Whitman is Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press; 1st edition (August 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472118420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472118427
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,141,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Martha E. Pollack on November 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
John von Neumann was a mathematical genius known for many things, notably including the design of stored-program computer architecture and the invention of game theory. He perhaps should also be better known than he is as the father of Marina von Neumann Whitman, the author of this remarkable memoir. Whitman, who is now in her 70s, has lived an extraordinary life. She was the first woman to serve on the President's Council of Economic Advisors; she was one of the first women to sit on the boards of several major, international corporations; and she was the first female chief economist of GM. In addition, she's been a very successful academic economist. Her book is intelligent, informative, interesting, and inspiring, providing thoroughly engaging accounts of what it's like to operate in the highest echelons of government and industry, and of what it's like to be a woman in a man's world. At times supremely confident, at times cautious, Whitman is deeply self-aware of what she has done well and what she has failed at, and she is strikingly honest and open is describing her own flaws as well as her successes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Marina Whitman on February 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"People differ on whether this book is about me or my father but, either way, they seem to find it compelling.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By run with the wind on October 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A Martians' Daughter, Marina von Neumann Whitman is an economist, Economic advisor to Presidents, NPR host and so much more. This first person account of her life is so readable and yet imparts so much history, economics, science, the politics of academia and corporate boards, personal growth as well as balancing work and family. Somehow she manages to have it all and yet remain personable, accomplished and someone I came to admire a great deal and whose memoir taught me much about economics,behind the scenes in the Nixon White House, Harvard, Princeton and other centers of power

On the personal side she shows much self-doubt as she tries throughout her career to live up to the aspirations and expectations for her of her father, John vonNeumann, a brilliant physicist, a developer of game theory, computer theory, the development of the atom bomb and is considered the smartest person after Albert Einstein. Quite a load for a young woman to meet but she did meet and perhaps exceed his highest expectations of his daughter Marina.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carlos Peredo on March 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a good example of the incredibly high clarity of mind and intellectual caliber of its author. She manages to give us the hope that this can all be done while at the same time showing deep human feelings, strong family values, and even humor. This is a wonderful book!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Marina Whitman is the daughter of brilliant Hungarian mathematician John von Neumann, who emigrated to the United States pre-WW2 and was active in developing the atomic bomb. Von Neumann died at the age of 53 of cancer, leaving a single child, his daughter Marina. Marina went on to become one of the leading economists of her time; working for the Nixon Administration, General Motors, as well as teaching economics at a number of universities. She also has served on the boards of directors of many major companies. She's also balanced raising a family with her husband.

Marina's autobiography, "The Martian's Daughter: A Memoir", is a well-written account of her life, with a bit about her parents. Since her father died at an early age at the height of his fame and work, the book is much more about Marina's adult life. The quibble I have with the marketing of the book is that the title "promises" much, much more about von Neumann and his career than is delivered in the text of the book. Whitman's life is, in itself, extremely interesting as she juggled her personal life with her work life in an age where women were just becoming part of upper-management levels. I think she negates, slightly, her own life by titling the book as a "daughter of", instead of "a woman who accomplished". In any case, the book is well worth reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Wonnacott on November 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fascinating autobiography of the daughter of John von Neumann, and her very successful career in academe, government, and business.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Bernardini on January 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written and understandable. I highly recommend it for women in finance or anyone wanting a look back at those that have shaped our history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Zilberman on August 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderful book - on the life of the daughter of a genius with a brilliant career of her own.Great stories on atom bombs, computers, wars, Cars and love. Many insights on the humanity of Von- Neuman and Einstein, the decline of general motor and the keys for success as woman in academia.
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