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.
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, and gives an interesting perspective on the stresses placed on personal and professional relationships by severe mental illness. 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. 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. References