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A Beautiful Mind

Sylvia Nasar

A biography of the game theorist John Forbes Nash.

In the late 1940s, at the age of just 21, John Nash revolutionised our understanding of game theory, an area of research which seeks to explain how individuals, corporations or nations compete against each other. Half a century later he was short-listed for the Nobel Prize in Economics, which resulted in a controversy so great that it almost tore apart the committee responsible for the award.

However, it was not the significance of his breakthrough which was under debate, but rather his mental state. For three decades, Nash had suffered from severe paranoid schizophrenia, which had cost him his job, his family, and his freedom…

(extract from Simon Singh’s review, Sunday Telegraph, 8 September 1998)