Tarun Reflex

January 5, 2008

A Beautiful Mind

This book draws very sharp divisions between movies that are about a life, based on a life, or in this case, inspired by a life. Whether you have scene the movie or even the trailer, once you read this book it become immediately apparent Dr. Nash’s life would not fit into any single film. To a degree this is simply an instance of practicality, for the work this man and his peers did, is intelligible to a small handful of people. Even while reading the book, unless your math skills are somewhat extraordinary, the lexicon of pure math will be completely new, and the concepts these men and women developed are fascinating, however they are almost unimaginably complex.
To those who have read material that may have touched on Game Theory, The Prisoner’s Dilemma, and The Mobius Band, the book will allow for moments when the inquisitive can participate. In most cases the concepts are mind bending, and in some cases they could not even be verbalized by some of the brilliant minds that Dr. Nash worked amongst. Ms. Sylvia Nasar does an excellent job of explaining why Dr. Nash was so different from his peers, and how he approached complex issues in fundamentally different manners than others.
The remarkable story is of this brilliant man who was considered one of the greatest thinkers of his time who fell gradually, though fairly quickly, into a mental state that caused his family to commit him more than once. The decades he spent living under the most bizarre and destructive delusions, his moments of clarity, and then his highly unusual recovery makes for an incredible tale. This is one of those stories that had it been written as fiction, it would not have been taken seriously.
The other parts of the book were very revealing as they pertained to Dr. Nash and his peers at Princeton, MIT, and elsewhere. The fields they work in are intensely competitive, however when he began his decline, and then continued to have false starts at normality, for the most part he was not abandoned. The author touches on why his peers may have felt the need to help a man who routinely demonstrated the most hurtful personal behavior to anyone he came in contact with. There were exceptions, but they are very few in number, and not for the people you might suppose. All of these great minds share at least one commonality, and that is their ability to think at extremely high levels that few can even imagine. Many of these people seem to constantly fear the loss of whatever unique gifts they have. They also tend to be people that have been marginalized until they find their place in the academic world, for what they think of, and the eccentricities they often have, single them out for ridicule not praise.
A very readable biography, a profession that is understood by few.
“A Beautiful Mind ” is one my favorite book and movie.. Its very inspiring and real pleasure to mind. (Sir)Dr. John Nash (the protagonist ) is a Nobel Prize Winner for Economics in 1995 and a great mathematician .The book is an account of his life,his struggle with Schizophrenia for 37 years and recovery. The author Sylvia Nasar has writing style tht u will feel like experiencing the book rather than just reading.One thing more ,I have a thing for Nobel Prize winners, I have read Gitanjali , Surely you are Joking Mr. Feynman by Richard P. Feynman , Argumentatice Indian by Amartya Sen, The Double By Jose Saramago so no surprise i like this book so much.

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