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Showing 1-10 of 33 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 62 reviews
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!
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on November 1, 2013
This compilation of letters of the Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman was compiled by his daughter. It gives some unique insight into the thoughts and opinions of a great mind. In some cases Feynman displays compassion for common people, but in others, he displays an arrogance that can be unsettling. Nonetheless, these letters make Feynman to be a more real person than his legendary persona. His daughter has done a service for the history of science. Reminds me of those letters between Galileo and his daughter, that were so revealing when they were first published.
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on March 30, 2013
For fans of Feynman this will be a rewarding read; the human side of a unique genius. The book is a compilation of the many letters between Feynman and not only his peers but letters he got from young people in high school and others from the general public. It begins with his early marriage to his first wife that died from TB while he was working at Los Alamos on the first Atomic Bomb, a very sad and very human story we can all relate to. So from the early 1940's up through his illness and death in 1988 we get a marvelous story of a very decent man who had a serious love for life and humanity.

This is a book I will read again. We lost a very unique mind and soul in 1988, way too early, in my opinion.
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on March 5, 2014
No author ever wrote books about the deeper aspects of physics, which could be easily understood by any high
school graduate, before Feynman or after Feynman. He was the master "story teller" and "guru" of physics during
his lifetime. Many short subjects are covered in this excellent publication, including most of his best magazine
articles and lectures. His review of math text books, near the end, could stand up even today, since most current
math textbooks used in schools nationwide have the same problems he detailed in his great critique. Once you
start reading this tome, it is difficult to put it down, even when you need to get some sleep. It is that good.
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on February 3, 2012
This was a book that I bought off here and as soon as I received it I diligently read it over the course of a few days. It was interesting to see how he responded to people personally because I have only read the stories he had to tell from his books. I would recommend this book to anyone seeking more information about the personal life of Richard Feynman and will note that it is a very worthwhile read if you're interested in his life. It takes his life from 21 years old up (it was weird reading it because I am 21 now) to a year before his death, I think. Life goes by so fast and he made the most of it as you will see from reading his letters.
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on November 3, 2016
Starting the book I was fascinated by the stories the letters tell of a most extraordinary man. I continued to read with enthusiasm, but after a while the letters seemed to repeat quite a bit, especially in the responses to congratulatory letters. A fantastic man, a too-long collection.
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on January 28, 2016
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 how much so. The book consists of letters he both wrote and received from other people. It is a book that will never leave my house.
Many kudos to his daughter for compiling it to share with the world. And also many thanks to her
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on November 26, 2010
Im from the Uk and firstly I'd like to say thank you to Michelle Feynman (Richard Feynmans Daughter) for putting this book together. My interest in Feynman began at age of about 8 or 9 I think when I saw this extraordinary man on a BBC TV documentary program, I'm from the UK. Something about the voice and facial expressions, he just looked interesting, happy and fun. What I didnt realise was how unique a person he was, i just thought all scientists were like that!! Anyhow many many years passed (well 10) and i ended up doing a physics degree (nothing directly to do with Feynman just a coincedence, i had completely forgotten about the TV program), i started reading about famous physicists and Feynman just stuck out to me as an special. Richard Feynman born in Far Rockaway New York, (a fineman from a far rock away, conspiracy theorist know yourselves out!) So I read a few more books about him eg. 'surely your joking...', 'pleasure of finging things out...' etc. amd then in about 1993 i saw that bbc program and it all came back, this was (one of) the guy that got me so interested in science, and I now science has got me all interested in him!. I think seeing Feynman did have an affect on me through that TV program, i think it really did! I'm of ordinary intelligence and dont have extraordinary thinking or imaginative powers, but i can appreciare those that do, and I'm sure if he inspired me he has inpired others and those others HAVE gone on to do great things.

I love this book, it really lets you get another glimpse at one of the most honest, kind, original and fundamentally decent human thinkers to walk around on out little planet, thank you so much...
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on February 26, 2017
Not what I expected but, nevertheless interesting.
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VINE VOICEon October 22, 2005
Almost everything written by and about Feynman is refreshing, like a breath of mountain air, or, more often than not, a much-needed slap on the face. These letters are no exception. Much of this effect is a result of his take-no-prisoners attitude when it comes to purveyors of intellectual hokum-In particular, his insistence that what one is working on be falsifiable. In other words, if what you're working on is not testable or not at least foreseeably testable to see if you are correct or incorrect, then what you are doing is not science, it is philosophy, and rather bad philosophy at that.

These sort of refreshing reminders are particularly important today when "string theory" is all the rage, as popularised by Brian Greene et al, a theory which, even Greene admits, will probably not be testable in your or my lifetime.-Feynman, terse as always in such matters, expresses his opinion about string theory in one of these letters---"I don't believe in it." It is ironic that Greene cites Feynman so often in his books.

But String theory aside, Feynman enthusiasts will find perhaps a wider, more three-dimensional perspective in these letters than in other books.---They will find, in his letters to friends students admirers etc., wonder of wonders - a wise, articulate man.
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