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Barrett Honors College presents 2012 Flinn Foundation Centennial Lecture

Sylvia Nasar
August 30, 2012

Sylvia Nasar, a former economics correspondent for The New York Times and a prolific author best known for her mega-bestseller "A Beautiful Mind," will give the 2012 Flinn Foundation Centennial Lecture presented by Barrett the Honors College at Arizona State University.

The event will take place at 7 p.m., Oct. 4, at the Galvin Playhouse inside the Nelson Fine Arts Center, on the Tempe campus. Admission is free, however, tickets are required. For tickets and information, go to

Nasar’s international best-seller, "A Beautiful Mind," won the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award for biography and has been translated into more than 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.

Nasar’s biography of Nash inspired Ron Howard’s Academy Award winning film starring Russell Crowe. The book also was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the Helen Bernstein Journalism Award, and the Rhone Poulenc Prize for Science Writing.

Nasar’s latest book "Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius in Modern Times" will be the focus of her Centennial Lecture presentation. The book 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. "Grand Pursuit" was named the Los Angeles Times Science & Technology Book of the Year.

“'Grand Pursuit' deserves a place not only in every economist’s study but also on every serious reader’s bedside table,” The Economist said of the book, which received rave reviews when it was released in 2011.   

Nasar is the first James S. and John L. Knight Professor of Business Journalism at Columbia University and co-directs the M.A. program in business journalism. 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. Nasar was a writer at Fortune magazine and columnist at U.S. News & World Report before she joined The New York Times. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Newsweek, FastCompany, The London Telegraph, and Vanity Fair. 

An interview with Sylvia Nasar is at A review of "Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius" is at

About the Centennial Lecture: In 1985, The Flinn Foundation established an endowment to commemorate Arizona State University’s 100th year. The gift created the ASU Centennial Lecture, and in 1989 it provided the Barrett Honors College resources to bring some of the world’s most influential intellects to campus. The Centennial Lecture has become one of ASU’s premiere events, featuring noted diplomats, scientists, playwrights and authors.