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The Man from the Future: The Visionary Life of John von Neumann Hardcover – February 22, 2022

4.4 out of 5 stars 416 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Bhattacharya's] crystal-clear prose…mak[es] for a tour de force of enjoyable science writing….[A] marvelously bracing biography of the ideas of John von Neumann, ideas that continue to grow and flourish with a life of their own."
Stephen Budiansky, Wall Street Journal

"Vivid…[
The Man From the Future is] devoted to exploring the ideas and technological inquiries [von Neumann] inspired."
Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

"Lucid and rewarding….Bhattacharya composes a rich intellectual map of von Neumann’s pursuits, shading in their histories and evolutions, and tracing the routes and connections between them."
Samanth Subramanian, The New Republic

"Examines the tremendous impact von Neumann had on various scientific disciplines in eight exceptional chapters."
Dov Greenbaum and Mark Gerstein, Science

"Rather like the books of Stephen Hawking or Carlo Rovelli…this one is rewarding on different levels. Everyone can grasp the significance of the puzzles posed, and if readers want to follow the genius through the steps of his solutions then Bhattacharya is a clear and authoritative guide."
The Economist

"Non-Euclidean geometry, set theory, the prisoner’s dilemma, Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, self-replicating machines, game theory and nonlocality are among the astonishing range of topics that science journalist Ananyo Bhattacharya covers as he takes us on a whistle-stop tour through Von Neumann’s restless mind…[A] splendid new biography."
Manjit Kumar, Guardian

"Bhattacharya both begins and concludes this impressive biography of John von Neumann by celebrating his contribution to the 'march of ideas.'"
Francis P. Sempa, New York Journal of Books

"Bhattacharya tells the story tremendously well, situating von Neumann’s work―in fields from quantum mechanics to game theory to cellular automata―as comfortably as I’ve ever seen it done. He’s also good at deadpan humor."
David Bodanis, Financial Times

"Bhattacharya is a first-class science writer with an impeccable pedigree and he does the best job I have seen of explaining the significance of von Neumann's work across many different fields… A fine tribute to von Neumann's genius and his contributions to science."
John Gribbin, Literary Review

"[An] agile, intelligent, intellectually enraptured account of Von Neumann’s life."
Simon Ings, Sunday Telegraph

"Any future intelligence capable of sending a representative back in time to help invent itself will be intelligent enough to conceal this from us. Ananyo Bhattacharya’s
The Man from the Future is therefore unable to confirm this suggestion, but much else about John von Neumann’s presence in the twentieth century is revealed along the way."
George Dyson, author of Turing's Cathedral

"Despite his central contributions to the theory of computation, economics, logic, complexity, and quantum physics, somehow John von Neumann never became a household name to rival Einstein and Feynman. Ananyo Bhattacharya’s biography deserves to change that. Consistently clear and careful without sacrificing elegance or accessibility, it does full justice to this legendary figure of twentieth-century science."
Philip Ball, author of Beyond Weird

"An engaging and fascinating book that blends science and history. I loved it."
Paul Davies, author of The Demon in the Machine

"This is a sparkling book, with an intoxicating mix of pen-portraits and grand historical narrative. Above all, it fizzes with a dizzying mix of deliciously vital ideas.
The Man from the Future is a staggering achievement."
Tim Harford, author of How to Make the World Add Up

"More than just a biography,
The Man from the Future elucidates the breath-taking scientific progress in the mid-20th century, skillfully woven together in the story of one man, John von Neumann."
Sabine Hossenfelder, author of Lost in Math

"A gripping tale of the most significant mathematical, scientific and geopolitical events of the early 20th century. Bhattacharya’s storytelling seamlessly weaves together the science, the vibrant social and historical context, and the private idiosyncrasies of John von Neumann and the fascinating geniuses around him, without mythologizing."
Andrew Steele, author of Ageless

"Sharp, expansive….A salient portrait of one of the most electrifying and productive scientists of the past century."
Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Ananyo Bhattacharya, who holds a PhD in biophysics from Imperial College London, has worked as a science correspondent at the Economist, an editor at Nature, and a medical researcher at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in San Diego, California. He lives in London.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ W. W. Norton & Company (February 22, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1324003995
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1324003991
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.4 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 416 ratings

About the author

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Ananyo Bhattacharya is a science writer who has worked at the Economist and Nature. Before journalism, he was a medical researcher at the Burnham Institute in San Diego, California. He holds a degree in physics from the University of Oxford and a PhD in protein crystallography from Imperial College London.

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
416 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2021
43 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on October 24, 2021
21 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on March 19, 2022
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Reviewed in the United States on February 27, 2022
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Top reviews from other countries

Mr. Adrian Mcmenamin
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a biography
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 14, 2021
6 people found this helpful
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JohnT
5.0 out of 5 stars A well done biography on one of the most important figures of the 20th Century - no just in science!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 23, 2021
5 people found this helpful
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Abiola O. Lapite
5.0 out of 5 stars A book of ideas about a man who loved them.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 25, 2021
3 people found this helpful
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S. Curry
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book about a brilliant man
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 19, 2021
4 people found this helpful
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George61
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating man, you must read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 29, 2022
One person found this helpful
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