A Beautiful Mind (book)

A Beautiful Mind (1998) is an unauthorized biography of Nobel Prize-winning economist and mathematician John Nash by Sylvia Nasar, professor of journalism at Columbia University. It won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1998 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in biography.[1] The book was later adapted into the film by the same name in 2001 directed by Ron Howard and starring Russell Crowe as Nash.

A Beautiful Mind
A Beautiful Mind (book).JPG
Front cover
AuthorSylvia Nasar
Original titleA Beautiful Mind: a Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr., Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, 1994
CountryUnited States
SubjectJohn Forbes Nash Jr.
Published1998 (Simon & Schuster)
Media typePrint (Hardcover, paperback)
510/.92 B 21
LC ClassQA29.N25 N37 1998


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, then considered grounds for revoking one's security clearance.[2]

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, including the nature of his mathematical genius, and a close examination of his personality and motivations.


The book won the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award for biography, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for biography,[3] and was shortlisted for the Rhône-Poulenc Prize in 1999.[4] The book also appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List for biography.


John Milnor notes the ethical issues posed by the book, an unauthorized biography and prepared without the cooperation of the subject.[5]


The book inspired the film A Beautiful Mind, directed by Ron Howard and starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly as John Nash and his wife Alicia Nash respectively. It won numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay for 2001 at the 74th Academy Awards.[6][7]


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