A Beautiful Mind Synopsis
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The book A Beautiful Mind, a biography written by Sylvia Nasher that inspired a movie of the same name, is a biography of the unusual mathematician and economist John Nash. Most biographies of scholars detail the academic history and influence of their subject. The case of John Nash is out of the ordinary because even with his undeniable intellectual contributions to academia, his affliction of schizophrenia has kept him outside of the academic community for much of his life.
Nash's Schizophrenia Begins
Nash finished his PhD many years earlier than most and, before the age of 30, was on his way to being considered an eminent mathematician. As his academic star rose, psychological strain began taking its toll:
- His schizophrenic condition began emerging
- Increasing strange behavior eventually led to his being committed, involuntarily
- In the mental institution, Nash was given a schizophrenia diagnosis
For the next thirty years, Nash had sporadic periods of lucidity during which he continued his consistently impressive academic work. Most of the time, however, his condition rendered work impossible.
John Nash is known to popular culture perhaps less for his genius than for his unexpected apparent recovery from a condition considered as having no cure. Around 1994 to 1995, Nash's schizophrenia seemed somehow to "clear up" as he returned to a continuing state of more or less normal rationality. Yet more alluring in the popular mind is the self-care aspect of Nash's recovery, which merits a mention in any A Beautiful Mind synopsis.