- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (February 6, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393355624
- ISBN-13: 978-0393355628
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,350 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character 1st Edition
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“A storyteller in the tradition of Mark Twain. Feynman proves once again that it is possible to laugh out loud and scratch your head at the same time.”
- K. C. Cole, New York Times Book Review
“Quintessential Feynman―funny, brilliant, bawdy…enormously entertaining.”
- The New Yorker
“Books like this are temptations―to give up reading and devote life to rereading…The book is a litmus paper: anyone who can read it without laughing out loud is bad crazy.”
- Los Angeles Times Book Review
“A chain reaction is not a bad analogy for Feynman’s life. From a critical mass of gray matter it goes off in all directions, producing both heat and light.”
“Feynman is legendary among his colleagues for his brilliance and his eccentricity…It’s not hard to smile all the way through.”
About the Author
Richard P. Feynman (1918–1988) was a professor at Cornell University and CalTech and received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1965. In 1986 he served with distinction on the Rogers Commission investigating the space shuttle Challenger disaster.
Ralph Leighton lives in northern California.
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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.