35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: A Beautiful Mind: A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr., Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, 1994 (Paperback)I was led to the book by a movie review in the NYT that said the movie did not tell the story of the book and that it was very serious and important story. I am writing this review because having read it I would like to discuss it.
Though there is some redundancy in the text, I still read every word. The exploration of the themes of genius and acknowledged contributions, followed by more than 30 years of paranoid schizophrenia and then remission and recognition is gripping.
The care of the biographer in acknowledging and noting her sources is very unusual for most popular and semi-popular biographers. That she took her subject and his work and his journey seriously is never in doubt. There is no pseudo psych. There is lots of exploration. The author explores very sensitive areas thou rally, but sensitively.
Nash's homosexuality, his seeming contempt for people and their feelings nothing is left out. His forty-five year relationship with the woman who has been his wife is not a simple story and the author takes her time to present the facts. Still, she does not judge, she reports.
I did enjoy the sections about Princeton and MIT and the world of mathematicians. An economics PhD candidate I had dinner with said, "I heard it's all about relationships and not mathematics". The mathematicians in the book say economics is not very serious math. (Nash seems to agree with that in an ironic way.)
In short I was charmed by the book, it gave me a lot a material with which to consider the nature of genius, mathematical accomplishment, mental illness and (particularly the effect of other people on ones sense of self) and what is meant by a whole life.
I understand that there is a lot of talk about love in the movie. In the book the word is not mentioned once-these are not touchy feely folk, still love and friendship are very important to the story.
Read the book.