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Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman! :…

"Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!" : adventures of a curious character (1985)

by Richard Feynman

Other authors: Edward Hutchings, Ralph Leighton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,44291597 (4.24)125
  1. 20
    What Do You Care What Other People Think? by Richard P. Feynman (qball56k)
    qball56k: If you liked Surely You're Joking, you'll probably like the sequel as well. It's in many ways a more personal look at one of the most famous physicists of the 20th century.
  2. 10
    Absolute Zero Gravity: Science Jokes, Quotes and Anecdotes by Betsy Devine (Musecologist)
  3. 21
    Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain (noise)
    noise: Both Tony Bourdain and Richard Feynman have (had) an incredible knack for writing highly informative and page turning memoirs. If you've read one but not the other, you're in for a treat.

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Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
I wish I had found this book earlier during my college days because it contains a lot of examples of what all scientific experiments he performed, how he went about solving day-to-day problems with science, and the breakthroughs he made with them.

There was a time I would have found all this really fascinating. But not anymore. After working in an office for 8 years with damn idiots as bosses I have given up all my love for science. I just want to read about hope and dreams now. I tried giving this book a lot of time but it didn't work out.

Yesterday I again sat down to read it but found that it doesn't really relieve the pain that I seem to be permanently stuck with.

I'm guessing college going people and those who have still maintained an interest in science stuff would love this book. ( )
  MugenHere | Jul 12, 2015 |
Richard Feynman sure is full of hot air! This book is boring and pretentious. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
Sometimes its just good to read about a mad scientists and see what passion in this field can do.
  ogroft | Apr 14, 2015 |
Before you read this book, do yourself a favor and watch a youtube clip of RF giving a speech. Listen for at least 5 minutes. It won't take much to absorb his rather unique style of speaking into your consciousness and this will greatly enhance this first person account of his life experiences. Besides making a significant contribution to the Manhattan Project at Los Alomos, and receiving a Nobel Prize, Feynman (pronounced fine-men) constantly developed many varied interests and pursued them passionately. If asked to give a one word description of the guy, I guess I would use that word - passionate. There are many interesting passages in the book, and one of the things I really admired about him was his broad view of education, particularly during his graduate studies. While at Princeton, he met a number of students and professors in departments other than his physics major, and sat in on many of their courses just because he found the subject interesting. And because he was a brilliant guy, he caught on quickly to basic issues and often made his unique contributions in those fields as well. And it was interesting times - he was a student in the 30's, at Los Alamos during WWll and taught for years afterwards (and played the drums, and marched at Rio's Carnival, etc.) He mentions his wives briefly but says next to nothing about his kids. And he had a fondness for women and met a number at clubs and bars. Not my expectations of a physicist, but an incredibly interesting guy. What he was not, was a great writer. When he described problems and solutions, he raced over the details much like his mind thought. It was impossible to get a clear grasp of what he was trying to communicate in many of these passages. But then he always preferred speaking to audiences with a depth of knowledge in the field and was frustrated with those that couldn't keep pace. A great guy but I wouldn't want him for a professor in one of my EE classes. Four stars is probably a generous rating, but if you only get through a portion of this book you will be glad that you got to experience and know a little bit about Feynman. ( )
  maneekuhi | May 3, 2014 |
This was an entertaining and occasionally insightful collection of anecdotes from Richard Feynman's life. On rare occasions, the need to explain some mathematical point revealed (once again) how dim I am on these subjects. However, this is Feynman's most popular book, and it's intended for a general audience, so the stories never turn on these points. Very consistently, Feynman proves to be very funny, interesting, and self-admittedly mischievous.

In skimming some reviews here on Goodreads, I saw that a few readers found Feynman a bit irritating. This is an interesting response. I can see how his irreverence and tendency toward argument could rub some the wrong way. But either through virtue of judicious editing or a truly balanced personal character, the Feynman who emerges from this book is a responsible, compassionate, and hard-working guy. And of course he is brilliant, idiosyncratic, and amusing at the same time. You'd be hard-pressed to find another Nobel Prize-winning physicist with this same combination of qualities. ( )
  phredfrancis | Feb 8, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (71 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Feynman, Richardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hutchings, Edwardsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leighton, Ralphsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Balibar, FrançoiseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bou, LuisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hibbs, Albert R.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klíma, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393316041, Paperback)

A series of anecdotes shouldn't by rights add up to an autobiography, but that's just one of the many pieces of received wisdom that Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman (1918-88) cheerfully ignores in his engagingly eccentric book, a bestseller ever since its initial publication in 1985. Fiercely independent (read the chapter entitled "Judging Books by Their Covers"), intolerant of stupidity even when it comes packaged as high intellectualism (check out "Is Electricity Fire?"), unafraid to offend (see "You Just Ask Them?"), Feynman informs by entertaining. It's possible to enjoy Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman simply as a bunch of hilarious yarns with the smart-alecky author as know-it-all hero. At some point, however, attentive readers realize that underneath all the merriment simmers a running commentary on what constitutes authentic knowledge: learning by understanding, not by rote; refusal to give up on seemingly insoluble problems; and total disrespect for fancy ideas that have no grounding in the real world. Feynman himself had all these qualities in spades, and they come through with vigor and verve in his no-bull prose. No wonder his students--and readers around the world--adored him. --Wendy Smith

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:16 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In this phenomenal bestseller, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard P. Feynman recounts his adventures trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek, painting a naked female toreador, accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums--and much else of an eyebrow-raising and hilarious nature. Photos.… (more)

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