Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
So many gems...here's one more to appreciate
on February 13, 2011
I won't repeat the many good points other reviewers have made. This book is truly a gem. One more cool thing I noticed is that Feynman's letters provide a wonderful glimpse into how he kept others from wasting his valuable time. Turns out Feynman was a master of "begging off" when he didn't see value in doing things -- a key skill for a Nobel Prize winner who got far more requests than he could ever take up! And, not surprisingly, he did this with candor, brevity and often with humor. Though his beg-off letters aren't grouped together, the many examples in this volume could round out a Feynman "how to" guide for declining unwanted offers.
Here are just a few samples of Feynman's prose when saying NO:
...in response to an inquiry about returning to Los Alamos as a summertime consultant, he writes: "My plans for the summer are not definite. I expect to loaf around a great deal...I would just as soon not bother about filling out all the blanks for the contract until there is some definite reason for it."
...declining a request to contribute to a book about Hans Bethe, he offers: "I like Hans so very much that I feel I 'ought' to do what you want--but who invented this infernal idea of writing an article for a guy when he gets to be 60? Isn't there an easier way to show friendship and regard? I feel like I feel on Mothers Day."
...and declining a request to visit a colleague and well-wisher shortly after receiving the Nobel prize, he says: "I am sorry I shall not be able to stop in New York, either coming or going as I have a letter from a professor [the person requesting the visit] suggesting that I take very good care of my time."
There are a number of other examples, but you get the idea. It's just one more way to enjoy this great collection!