John Urschel is a former offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens and a PhD candidate at MIT. He has a bachelor's and master's degree in mathematics from Penn State, and in 2013, he won the Sullivan Award, given to "the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States," and the Campbell Trophy, awarded to the country's top scholar-athlete in college football.
Louisa Thomas is the author of Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams and Conscience: Two Soldiers, Two Pacifists, One Family -- A Test of Will and Faith in World War I. She is a contributor at the New Yorker and a former writer and editor for Grantland. Her writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the New York Times, Vogue, and other places. John and Louisa live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with their daughter.
"Captivating. . . . Urschel's brilliant memoir explores the challenges of making difficult choices and the rewards of following one's passions in life." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
"[Mind and Matter] follow[s] Urschel through the academic
and athletic rigors that expose the sharp contrasts and surprising
connections between the two passions that shape his life--one
taxing his brain with proofs and calculations, the other toughening
his muscles with gridiron competition. The candid narrative conveys
both the intellectual excitement of mathematically formulating the
irregularities of an asteroid's orbit and the physical trauma of
sustaining a concussion in blocking a blitzing linebacker. A
piquantly improbable memoir."--Booklist "The most creative people
are those who can embrace very different disciplines: Einstein
loving music and physics, Leonardo da Vinci with his art and
engineering. John Urschel, in this delightful memoir written with
Louisa Thomas, describes his passion for both football and
mathematics. He makes Joe Paterno's fall and Newton's three-body
problem of moving objects equally interesting. But this book is
about something much deeper: the importance of grit and
determination in all fields of endeavor. Urschel has mastered that
in his life, and he can inspire all of us to do so as well."
--Walter Isaacson, author of Leonardo da Vinci "A charming memoir on the joys of solving puzzles and pushing yourself past your so-called limits. It's not every day that you read a book by an NFL lineman who's working on a math PhD at MIT, and John Urschel reminds us that a full life depends on exercising both your brain and your body."
--Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take "John Urschel's charming autobiography-so-far about his journey through the highest levels of football and mathematics will give you some hope that the ideal of the student-athlete is still alive; and you'll learn some math, too."
--Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to Be Wrong "Meet 'The Most Interesting Man in the World' John Urschel. Having reached the highest level in football, he's on his way to doing the same in math. His beautifully written memoir is a fun, fast-paced look at the route to excellence, and a tribute to old-school virtues like hard work, determination, and curiosity."
--Steven Strogatz, professor of mathematics at Cornell University and author of The Joy of x