A Beautiful Mind (book)

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A Beautiful Mind
A Beautiful Mind (book).JPG
Front cover
Author Sylvia Nasar
Original title A Beautiful Mind: a Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr., Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, 1994
Country United States
Language English
Genre Biography
Published 1998 (Simon & Schuster)
Media type Paperback
Pages 459
ISBN 0-684-81906-6
OCLC 38377745
510/.92 B 21
LC Class QA29.N25 N37 1998

A Beautiful Mind is an unauthorized biography of Nobel Prize-winning economist and mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr. by Sylvia Nasar, professor of journalism at Columbia University. It inspired the 2001 film by the same name.


Starting with his childhood, the book covers Nash's years at Princeton and MIT, his work for the RAND Corporation, his family and his struggle with schizophrenia.

Although Nasar notes that Nash did not consider himself a homosexual, she describes his arrest for indecent exposure and firing from RAND amid the suspicion that he was a homosexual (then considered grounds for revoking one's security clearance[1]).

The book ends with Nash being awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994. The book is a detailed description of many aspects of Nash's life, and a close examination of his personality and motivations, giving an interesting perspective on the stresses placed on personal and professional relationships by severe mental illness.[2]


The book won the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award for biography, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for biography, and was shortlisted for the Rhône-Poulenc Prize in 1999.[3] The book also appeared on the New York Times' bestseller list for biography. It is particularly notable for describing Nash's genius as well as his struggle with mental illness.


  1. ^ A Beautiful Mind, pp. 185-186
  2. ^ "A Beautiful Mind (review)". Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  3. ^ Prizes for Science Books previous winners and shortlists, The Royal Society website