A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind

Downloadable Audiobook - 1999
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In this powerful and dramatic biography, Sylvia Nasar vividly re-creates the life of a mathematical genius whose career was cut short by schizophrenia and who, after three decades of devastating mental illness, miraculously recovered and was honored with a Nobel Prize. "A beautiful mind" traces the meteoric rise of John Forbes Nash, Jr., a prodigy and legend by the age of thirty, who dazzled the mathematical world by solving a series of deep problems deemed "impossible" by other mathematicians. But at the height of his fame, Nash suffered a catastrophic mental breakdown and began a harrowing descent into insanity, resigning his post at MIT, slipping into a series of bizarre delusions, and eventually becoming a dreamy, ghostlike figure at Princeton, scrawling numerological messages on blackboards. He was all but forgotten by the outside world-until, remarkably, he emerged from his madness to win world acclaim.
Publisher: [Ashland, Or.] : Blackstone Audiobooks, 1999
Branch Call Number: eAUDIOBOOK B NASH
Additional Contributors: Fields, Anna 1965-2006
OverDrive, Inc


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Mar 16, 2017

The audio version read by Anna Fields is the ideal one for listening. Fields has a delivery that somehow conveys a deep understanding of both the book and the subject. Though very long for a biography, it never ceases to be interesting. This is due in part to the thorough introductions to the world of high-level mathematics, Nash's mental illness, the McCarthy era, and so on. One gets a vivid picture of the times in which Nash lived. The book also conveys directly Nash's many faults, most of which the film version glosses over or omits completely. When the book was over, I missed it. This is always a sign that the book was good.

Apr 08, 2015

It's a comprehensive biography all right. The problem is that it's too comprehensive. For example, consider the author's description of the qualifying meeting debate for the Nobel Prize. Is it really necessary to describe where in the room the participants sat? Surprisingly, given the length of this tome, the author pays little focus on Nash's actual contribution to the mathematics; instead the book reads mostly as a soap opera. At 16 audio CD's, for all but the most dedicated Nash-o-phile, it's at least 8 CD's too long. A better choice is probably Nash's own Nobel Prize award -autobiography.


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