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Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track Paperback – April 25, 2006
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Feynman was single-minded in his devotion to science: "This [physics research] is, in my mind, of even more importance than my love for Arline" (his first wife). Yet he was surely loving and devoted to her, as is particularly clear in a heart-breaking letter he wrote to Arline after her death.
He was willing to correspond with ordinary people---particularly young people and teachers---about science, giving them good advice about what science is and how it should be studied and how it should be taught. "Stay human and on your pupil's side" was one bit of advice he gave to a mathematics teacher struggling to help his students with "new math." "You must fall in love with some activity" was a recurring theme in his advice to young people.
Feynman even responded to at least one crank (who accused Feynman and others of suppressing the crank's views on relativity), pressing him respectfully but persistently to answer a simple question that got to the heart of the scientific issue. (He evidently never got an answer.)
He refused all offers of honorary degrees, as a matter of principle, knowing how hard he had worked to get his earned degree.Read more ›
The first book contains several intriguing stories, mainly from Feynman's personal life, which are entertaining in their own right, but also provide insight into the personality of this unique individual. Highly recommended! The second book starts off in a similar spirit, but concludes with a more serious discussion of the Challenger accident investigation. Not as entertaining, but still interesting.
This book is simply a collection of letters to and from Feynman throughout his lifetime. As such, some of the letters, lacking background knowledge, can feel a bit out of place at times. However, having a general framework of reference from the other two books, I found this one much more revealing in details about Feynman's character than any of the two other books. However, I'm not sure how much I would have gotten out of it if this had been my first Feynman book. Thus, I would strongly recommend you read at least "Surely You're Joking" before you pick this one up.
Overall, the value of this book lies in bringing together different stories we have read about in the two other books, giving us a warm and fuzzy feeling of closure. Many of the letters describe the behind-the-scenes personal details missing from the somewhat neutral story descriptions in the first two books, thereby completing the picture of this "curious character".
I am also a fan of Richard Feynman. I voraciously read "Surely Your Joking Mr. Feynman!" and "What do You Care What Other People Think?".
So, when my friend accidentally found "Perfectly Reasonable Deviations From The Beaten Track: The Letters Of Richard P. Feynman" at Borders bookstore, my eyes opened wide and my heart skipped a beat! Had someone edited a new book of collected letters written by Feynman himself? My two favorite mediums--Letters and Feynmanisms--in one wonderful book.
Thank the editors! They have amassed a treasure indeed. Here you will be able to get to know with even greater depth, the man that is Richard Feynman. A must have for all Feynman lovers across the globe!
This book consisting of letters to and from this sharp, funny, sensistive and most curious human being is yet the most personal. Thank you, Michelle Feynman, for reading through mountains of paperwork and putting together such a wonderful book. These letters make you wonder, think, sometimes even cry -but most of all, laugh!!!
Everybody interested in Feynman biography and character cannot miss this chance to meet him at his most personal book for which we all should thank his daughter Michelle Feynman. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR MAKING THE WORLD WISER ABOUT A GREAT SCIENTIST AND HUMAN BEING.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not a hardcover. Not even the whole book, only a few chapters.Published 2 months ago by Brenden Heidrich
Anyone reading the Feynman books should start with Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman. What an extraordinary likeable person he was
This book gives so much insight into just... Read more
Private letters of Richard Feynman provide the reader with precious insight in the inner ego of the genius physicist. Read morePublished 9 months ago by traveller2
Feynman letters. A great insight into Feynman and especially his passion for teaching. He is the teacher that you wish you had.Published 12 months ago by A. KIM
The book came at the expected deadline, and it is of great quality. The content itself is amazing and interestingPublished 17 months ago by Martin Stojanovik
The book is essentially a collection of all his letters and other correspondence. Too much, and most of it is not that enlightening or interesting. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Bob
Great casual reading. I graduated from Cal Tech and even had Feynman as an occasional guest lecturer in my Physics 129 course. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Margaret J. Lynne