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"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman": Adventures of a Curious Character Hardcover – January 1, 1985
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Dr. Feynman’s delight with life shines through everything--nothing gets him down for long. The reasons for this attitude are his ever-present compulsion to learn and discover, his urge to follow his insatiable curiosity (about everything!) wherever it might lead, his willingness to simply state whatever he thinks when asked, and his refusal to always take life so seriously. It is evident that Dr. Feynman has achieved what many can only dream of--living a meaningful and accomplished life while still being able to find absolute joy and fun in so much of how we spend that life.
It’s hard to imagine anyone that would not find this an interesting and enjoyable read. Although Dr. Feynman is a physicist, this is not a science book, and the reader really needs nothing in the way of a scientific background to fully enjoy it.
The book is divided into five parts corresponding to different parts of the author’s life. Within each part, the stories themselves are rarely more than half a dozen pages long, and none depend on the others. Although I read it cover-to-cover in order, it would be easy to open to any of the stories and read it independently. It is one of those books one could pick up when there are only a few minutes to read. But your experience may be like mine, and you may not want to put it down again!
Highly recommended for just about anyone!
The book is not tightly organized but it is smartly written. Guys like Einstein, Feynman, Carl Sagan will all wrestle from time to time with the non-scientific question of what preceded the Big Bang, if only by asking fleetingly if there is some principle of causation behind it all. Obviously I don't know if God exists or what it all means. But it is hard for me to think that such a towering intellect encased in such a lovely witty and wise person results from mere accident. I'll go no further.
The last chapter is something else entirely: an entire philosophy and ethos of scientific thought rolled into a few pages. I found Feynman's principles and ideals for scientific integrity almost unbelievably precious: to never compromise on experimentation, to never make claims you can't back up with hard evidence, and most importantly, to never fool yourself into thinking that you're more right than you actually are.
Although only the scientifically or mathematically trained will understand much about Feynman's actual work, his life philosophy and its implications are something that everyone can benefit from. The world would be a better place if each of us tried to replicate just a little of his intellectual integrity. I almost didn't believe such beautiful, pure intellectual idealism wasn't possible until I read this book.
This casual telling of myriad anecdotes from Feynman's life is precious and airy, even when dealing with early nuclear secrets, death, and other heavy topics.
If you're not sold on buying this book, be sure to watch several of the popular Richard Feynman videos on YouTube. This book is better than any of them. Enjoy.
Top international reviews
I'm no native English speaker and I had no problems following it.
I would recommend it to anyone interested (even slightly) in science, but as well to anyone who feels that he/she has to say something in this world.
A beautiful history of a man who always lived his life as he wanted and did it brilliantly!
Clearly it's from his point of view, and only covers areas he felt like discussing, so there's very little about his marriage (although there is another book which has more detail on that), and nothing about the Challenger disaster (again, another book).
But the anecdotes are interesting, some are hilarious, and I've managed to get my son to read and enjoy this as well. His time with the Manhattan Project is a particular source of amusement, and his move to Brazil is another rich fountain of anecdotes.
The Big Bang Theory has probably brought his name to the attention of another generation of people.
You've probably got at least 2 series' worth of material in this book.
Now I am experimenting with my life everywhere.
This is one of my favourite books of all time.
Sciences was never my cup of tea at school and I found physics dry and boring. To my amazement, reading this book has changed my views about hard subjects such as Physics and Chemistry. Sciences “can” be very interesting and full of surprises and “mess”.
the short chapters meant that I was constantly reading a new chapter a bit like when watching the next episode of your favorite program.
It will be just as interesting for children as for adults and gives a great insight into how science and the world in general works.
Not for you if you want a warts and all look at the man, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.
In between the various stages of the work on the project, he also developed a taste for bating authority, by proving that what they thought of as high security was irrelevant. I particularly loved his descriptions of how he regularly broke into secure desks, cabinets and even safes; not by physically forcing his way in, but by understanding human nature and the mathematics of codes used.
It's a small book, an easy read and one that I really enjoyed.