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Genius At Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway Hardcover – July 14, 2015

4.1 out of 5 stars 65 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“John Horton Conway [is] perhaps the greatest living genius unknown to the general public.” ―starred review, Publishers Weekly

“Science journalist Roberts's new biography of Conway demonstrates how the man's playfulness and originality has fed into the creativity and intelligence of his ideas. The tome resonates with Conway's voice--which gets its own special font--and his discussions with the author dictate the story's structure and provide the narrative's best glimpses into how his mind darts and weaves.” ―Scientific American

“Part of what makes Genius At Play so engaging is her detailed account of her experience and impressions as Mr. Conway, over eight years, recounted the many stories that make up his life.” ―The New York Times Numberplay blog

“A fascinating read from start to finish . . . never gets bogged down in mathematical detail, yet it conveys much of the unstoppable excitement of its hero in full throttle. Roberts has already won kudos for her book on geometer Donald Coxeter, and this volume serves to cement her position as a top mathematical biographer.” ―Huffington Post

“In this engrossing biography, readers see this genius repeatedly turn perplexities into breakthroughs . . . [Conway's] personality that emerges from this freewheeling narrative responds to even deep confusion with an irresistible playfulness.” ―starred review, Booklist

“[An] entertaining portrait of a charismatic genius.” ―Kirkus Reviews

Genius At Play gives us as much insight into the calculus of Conway's creative powers as we are capable of capturing with our limited powers.” ―Buffalo News

Genius At Play is a portrait of one creative genius by another. Absolutely brilliant. Impossible to put down.” ―Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind and Grand Pursuit

“A delightful meta-biography--playful indeed--of a brilliant iconoclast.” ―James Gleick, author of The Information and Chaos

“It's a riveting read, and you don't need to be a mathematician to enjoy it.” ―Baron Martin Rees of Ludlow, UK Astronomer Royal and author of Just Six Numbers

“John Conway is, by any standards, a very remarkable man, and he well deserves a remarkable biography, which this book undoubtedly is. Siobhan Roberts gives us an intimate picture of this brilliant and eccentric mathematician, with an extraordinary facility to entertain and educate through puzzles and unusual ideas. Through frequent use of quotations and anecdotes, she expertly conjures up a genuine picture of the man and his amazing world.” ―Roger Penrose, author of The Road to Reality and The Emperor's New Mind

“Wonderfully written, fascinating and hilarious, the book is a delight from beginning to end. Roberts has produced a playful and captivating portrait of the most playful mathematician alive.” ―Alex Bellos, author of Here's Looking at Euclid and The Grapes of Math

About the Author

Siobhan Roberts is a journalist, and won a National Magazine Award for her profile of Donald Coxeter in Toronto, and this is her first book.

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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5
65 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on May 24, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on August 18, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on November 7, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2016
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Top international reviews

Qwerty Asdf
2.0 out of 5 stars Fails to provide a narrative thread
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 19, 2016
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Dr. Richard Pennington
5.0 out of 5 stars Portrait of an eccentric mathematical genius.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 18, 2016
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 28, 2017
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Dr. Tim Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely window into Conway's work and mind; highly recommended for all audiences.
Reviewed in Canada on August 10, 2015
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Dr. T.
5.0 out of 5 stars Auf Reisen mit dem ungewöhnlichen John H. Conway ' ein Road Book
Reviewed in Germany on September 28, 2015
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Ingenieur
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius at Play - Genius at Writing
Reviewed in Germany on August 18, 2015
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Rolf Mueller
5.0 out of 5 stars Geniale Biographie
Reviewed in Germany on October 29, 2015
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Jan Krabbenbos
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius for life
Reviewed in the Netherlands on December 3, 2016
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Pierre
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in Canada on August 17, 2015
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emmetclarke
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 12, 2016
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GreyFod
1.0 out of 5 stars A real disappointment.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 3, 2016
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woppo
1.0 out of 5 stars Publisher has messed up the kindle edition. Again.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 10, 2015
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Christopher Hayes
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 16, 2015
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DM SHERWOOD
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 25, 2016
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Dr Frank Berkshire
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 23, 2015
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