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"What Do You Care What Other People Think?": Further Adventures of a Curious Character Paperback – January 17, 2001
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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The New York Times bestseller: sequel to "Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!"âfunny, poignant, instructive.One of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman possessed an unquenchable thirst for adventure and an unparalleled ability to tell the stories of his life. "What Do You Care What Other People Think?" is Feynman’s last literary legacy, which he prepared as he struggled with cancer. Among its many talesâsome funny, others intensely movingâwe meet Feynman’s first wife, Arlene, who taught him of love’s irreducible mystery as she lay dying in a hospital bed while he worked nearby on the atomic bomb at Los Alamos. We are also given a fascinating narrative of the investigation of the space shuttle Challenger’s explosion in 1986, and we relive the moment when Feynman revealed the disaster’s cause by an elegant experiment: dropping a ring of rubber into a glass of cold water and pulling it out, misshapen.
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Feynman was undoubtedly one of the great names of twentieth century science, and a remarkable individual. His "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!” is an exceptional book: definitely 5++. The sequel, “What do you care what other people think?”, is perhaps not quite as good, being somewhat disjointed, but it is clearly still a solid 5 stars. A fascinating read.
The second and greater part of this book deals with Feynman's presence on the committee investigating the 1986 crash of the Space Shuttle Challenger, capturing the incredible dissatisfaction felt by him as he is plunged into the administrative bureaucracy of Washington and NASA. The descriptions of the shuttle and its faulty components are illustrated clearly with the help of figures and photographs. These illustrations help the reader visualize the circumstances of the crash and where the the major fault within the shuttle actually lay. These are particularly helpful in eliminating any ambiguity in the description of technical rocket components (O-rings, etc). Despite the serious content, this part of the book retains the strong elements of humor found within rest of the book. It manages to paint a ludicrous picture of the way things tended to be handled in NASA (e.g. NASA informing an official that the probability of failure of an manned rocket is 1 in 100,000 which implied that "you could fly the shuttle every day for an average of 300 years between accidents- every day, one flight, for 300 years- which is obviously crazy!"). He also points towards the general errors made by large organizations such as NASA due to the divide between levels of management by narrating personal conversations with the management, engineers and workers. The perspicuous manner with which he describes his involvement in the investigation almost makes the reader feel as if he were right alongside Feynman while he was dealt the task of investigating the crash.
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed "Surely You're Joking..." and is willing to put his mind to a bit more work to enjoy the second part of the book. Overall, it is a great book that any Feynman fan will be willing to appreciate!