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Sylvia Nasar
Author, A Beautiful Mind
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Sylvia Nasar
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The first John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Business Journalism at Columbia University, Sylvia Nasar is known for the elegance of her prose and her mega-bestseller, A Beautiful Mind. A former economic correspondent for The New York Times, she is also the author of Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius in Modern Times, which received rave reviews following its release in 2011.

Nasar’s international bestseller, A Beautiful Mind, won the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award for biography and has been translated into over 30 languages. While working as an economics reporter for The New York Times, Nasar discovered the story of John Nash, the Princeton mathematical genius who suffered from schizophrenia for three decades before recovering and ultimately winning a Nobel Prize in economics. Her biography of Nash was the inspiration for Ron Howard’s Academy Award-winning film starring Russell Crowe and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the Helen Bernstein Journalism Award, and the Rhone Poulenc Prize for Science Writing.

Her latest book, Grand Pursuit, is an epic account of the making of modern economics — from Victorian England to modern-day India -- and how the insights of various thinkers transformed the world. An instant New York Times bestseller, The Economist said, "Grand Pursuit deserves a place not only in every economist’s study but also on every serious reader’s bedside table." It was named The Los Angeles Times Science & Technology Book of the Year.

Nasar has acted as a judge for the National Book Awards, Dow Jones News Service Awards, and The Los Angeles Times Book Awards; she currently serves on the advisory board of TeenScreen.Nasar completed her master’s degree in economics at New York University, conducting research with Nobel Laureate Wassily Leontief at the Institute for Economic Analysis for four years. She has been a visiting scholar at Cambridge University, the Russell Sage Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University.

A writer at Fortune and columnist at U.S. News & World Report before she joined The New York Times, Nasar’s work has appeared in The New YorkerNewsweekFastCompanyThe London Telegraph, and Vanity Fair.

Full Bio >
  • Nasar at ASU (2012)
  • Sylvia Nasar on Grand Pursuit (2011)
  • Nasar at 2011 National Book Festival (2011)
  • Sylvia Nasar’s Animated Guide to Economy (2011)
Speaking Topics
Five Things You Need to Know About Economics
Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius
A Beautiful Mind Revisited
Big Government, Small Government and the Grand Pursuit of Economic Thinkers
Globalization Then and Now: How Nations Create Their Destinies

What was true during the first wave of globalization in the 19th century is still true today: Living standards depend primarily on productivity growth. There is a huge local component in the economic success or failure, and most of our triumph will lie in local solutions. As Thomas Carlyle insisted in 1840, “what you have is less important than what you do with what you have.”

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Books & Other Works
  • A Beautiful Mind
  • Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius in Modern Times
“It was fantastic...We had people from the community and students from the 5C...It was indeed a very successful event.”
Scripps College
“We got great feedback, Sylvia Nasar was so gracious, she has tremendous warmth for her subject and we were very moved by her story.”
Strong Investments
“Thought you'd want an update on how things went with Sylvia. In one word -- spectacular. She's charming and erudite. The dinner guests were wowed. Had a good crowd at the Recital Hall. Her talk was fabulous and well-received. She's getting rave reviews from faculty and students today!”
Oakland University
“We all enjoyed Sylvia's visit immensely. The lecture was extremely interesting and thought-provoking, and she was especially engaging in the more informal afternoon session. It was a highly successful visit.”
Oberlin College
“The strong turnout of Northwestern and Kellogg students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the Evanston community, was a testament to interest in the topic and prominence of a speaker like yourself. We've received a good deal of positive feedback from those who attended who found your talk both compelling and relevant.”
Kellogg School of Management
“Thank you so much for your visit to our campus and for your excellent presentations to our students and faculty. Both presentations were energetic, insightful, and thoroughly informative. The Global Citizenship symposium was a fine success and in great part that was due to your efforts as keynote speaker in the evening. Very thought-provoking presentation.”
St. Mary's University of Minnesota
“The bottom line is that you were a smash! Everyone with whom I've spoken has given you rave reviews. You had great answers to questions and clearly knew the subject inside and out. Professionals in the behavioral health field commented that your superior intelligence showed through ("She has IQ points dripping out her ears").”
University of Arizona
“I wanted to tell you that she was just phenomenal. 'Powerful,' 'eloquent' were some of the words people used to describe it. I couldn't have expected more. I don't think anyone could have.”
Mental Health Association of Erie County
“Thursday was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Sylvia is remarkable. Our audience was so intrigued with her---not just John Nash. It could not have been better!”
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