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"What Do You Care What Other People Think?": Further Adventures of a Curious Character Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 183 customer reviews

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Length: 256 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A thoughtful companion volume to the earlier Surely You Are Joking Mr. Feynman!. Perhaps the most intriguing parts of the book are the behind-the-scenes descriptions of science and policy colliding in the presidential commission to determine the cause of the Challenger space shuttle explosion; and the scientific sleuthing behind his famously elegant O-ring-in-ice-water demonstration. Not as rollicking as his other memoirs, but in some ways more profound.

From Publishers Weekly

Roughly half of these 21 short, colloquial essays deal with Feynman's firsthand investigaton of the Challenger space-shuttle disaster. He casts himself in the role of intrepid detective, and the first-person singular pronoun keeps intruding on the worthwhile things he has to say about flight safety and lack of communication within NASA. An appendix offers his chilling technical observations on the shuttle's reliability or lack of it. The remaining pieces are mostly a blur of international conferences, purveying slight anecdotes. But two essays touch genuine depths of feeling: his tribute to his father, who taught him to cultivate a sense of wonder, and his account of his love affair with his first wife (who died). In this posthumous miscellany, theoretical physicist Feynman displays only sporadically the adventurousness that captivated readers of Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3798 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (February 14, 2011)
  • Publication Date: February 14, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004OA6KIS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,262 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Here is another book of wonderful biographical anecdotes of one of the most intriguing scientists who has ever lived. However, those who are looking for merely a continuing edition of the tremendously popular (not to mention hilarious!) SURELY YOU'RE JOKING MR. FEYNMAN should take note: this present work does not qualify as that.
To be sure, there are a handful of chapters which would fit right into SYJMF. However, 2 major sections cover some exceptionally serious topics which are hardly material for Feynman's typical humor. One section details his love for his first wife as well as her untimely terminal illness. The other covers his work on the commission to disinter the technical problems that led to the explosion of the Space Shuttle CHALLENGER in 1986. These major sections encompass roughly 3/4 of the book.
The chapter on his wife's suffering is especially poignant and touched me very deeply. Feynman was a man whose love and compassion matched his intellect. I could not but feel empathy and admiration for the way he took care of his bride, knowing all along that she would not live long. His decision to be straight with her about her condition, instead of feeding her some fairy-tale story about how she had a good chance of recovery, was both painful and edifying to read.
The section on the CHALLENGER goes into great detail on everything that went wrong that fateful day in '86 as the nation watched the disaster on TV. To this day, I have not seen a television documentary cover this story as I think it should be covered.
I recently saw a special on the CHALLENGER on the DISCOVERY channel. It did an excellent job of focusing on how the engineers at THIOKOL were screaming at NASA not to launch, well into the wee hours of the morning of the catastrophe.
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Format: Paperback
The title of this review may sound as a little bit of an overstatement, given Leonardo Da Vinci's stature, but it is a very close way to depict this distinguished North American physicist who, among MANY other things, won the Nobel Prize, worked in Project Manhattan (at Los Alamos lab) and was part of the team that investigated (and discovered) the cause of the explosion of the Challenger. If this could already be enough to elevate him a lot, you'll discover through this book how his life was constituted by one of the most interesting and rich cultural mosaics one can imagine.
Always struggling to look at things "differently", Feynman became a very sought-after educator, teaching at the United States most prestigious universities, as well as other schools in places like Brazil.
At the end of the day, Feynman's most important teachings might come as: 'Never take yourself too seriously' (as other reviewers have already commented), 'Always keep an open mind' and 'Focus your efforts on what really matters'.
If you enjoy this book (which I'm sure you will), check out what could be considered the first part of it: 'Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!' : Adventures of a Curious Character; as well as Tuva or Bust! Richard Feynman's Last Journey - both, highly recommendable.
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Format: Paperback
A sort of sequel to "Surely You're Joking...," this book has fewer laughs but still kept me fascinated by the mind of Richard Feynman. "Surely You're Joking..." was filled with short humorous anecdotes, not necessarily related, coming together as a sketchy autobiography. "What Do You Care..." is a little different in form and has two main themes: Feynman's relationship with Arlene, his first wife, and his challenges with the Challenger space shuttle investigation.
In this book, as opposed to "Surely You're Joking..." we get stories that we can follow for a longer time, and so there is a little more depth to them. Arlene's character is described more fully here, so we can understand their relationship better, and that was interesting. But I was more drawn to the Challenger story, which consists of his difficulties in finding information on the causes of the explosion while having to deal with bureaucracy and the unscientific minds of management. Sure, there must be tons of biases in here (he's a very opinionated guy), but Feynman's adventures are nonetheless filled with wonderful insights about life and science. And the last chapter, "The Value of Science" deals with things that many have forgotten or have never learned about science, doubt, and integrity.
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Format: Hardcover
Richard Feynman (1918-1988) had a very full and adventurous life as can be gleaned from this great book. The first half is mostly autobiographical and anecdotal and in the typical Feynman way, he leaves nothing to the imagination. He spent the latter part of his life as a Professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, Ca.

For hobbies he loved bongos and drums and occasionally performed with a drumming group at Caltech, but was content to spend hours drumming with close friends such as Ralph Leighton at his home. Feynman also enjoyed drawing and painting and some of his artwork is depicted in this book. The artwork was exacting and professional. There are several photos covering Feynman's life and concluding with space shuttle photos and diagrams.

The second half of the book, and some would say the most potent part, is dedicated to Feynman's participation in the investigation of the 1986 space shuttle "Challenger" accident. Feynman demonstrated the ultimate in dogged pursuit of the cause and was not to be intimidated or put-off by NASA and military officials who would have been happy not disclose the damning facts that they were thoroughly warned about safety issues before the launch, yet chose to ignore these warnings in deference to then Pres. Reagan's desire for a political feather in his cap by launching the shuttle on his schedule.

Who knows what, if anything, was explained to Reagan that the weather was too cold to launch (the shuttle was not suppose to be launched in less than 53 degree weather and the temperature at launch time was 29 degrees!). What is known is that the NASA management chose to ignore the warnings and heeded the beck and call of the President to launch.
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