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Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!:…
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"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious… (original 1985; edition 2018)

by Richard P. Feynman (Author), Ralph Leighton (Editor), Bill Gates (Introduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,739120712 (4.25)144
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)
Member:dbarn
Title:"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character
Authors:Richard P. Feynman (Author)
Other authors:Ralph Leighton (Editor), Bill Gates (Introduction)
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2018), Edition: 1, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Physics, Autobiography

Work details

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard Feynman (1985)

Recently added bydkaine, private library, Ponyinc., TonyAnderson, teepy, jkrrish001, vgk7, mtsvickers
Legacy LibrariesEdward St. John Gorey
  1. 60
    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. 00
    Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman by James Gleick (SandraArdnas)
  4. 22
    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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» See also 144 mentions

English (112)  Hungarian (1)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (120)
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Do you want to be as smart as Dr. Richard Feynman (1918-1988) was? According to this Nobel-Laureate, he wasn't necessarily smarter than you. He just followed a set of "life lessons" which he described from incidents from his own life. Such as--

--look at problems as a challenge
--get out of your comfort zone; try to learn new things because when learning is fun, it is effortless and when you make mistakes you learn from them
--engage experts in conversation; and, a corollary, if something doesn't make sense try to find out why

If I had met Feynman in person, I don't think I would have liked him. The writing is not particularly good; it reads like he just chatted with someone who copied it down word for word without editing. It's off-hand and self-deprecating, perhaps to make us think he is a regular guy.

However, the last vignette, Cargo Cult Science, may be his best. He suggests that when you have a problem - such as the best way to teach reading or how to eliminate crime, two examples he gives - don't follow a cult belief. Create your own theory and test it from all angles finding out what works and what doesn't. Get opinions from others, but take care that you haven't fooled yourself, that the results you get don't just serve your own purposes - more grants, more fame, etc. Work with integrity. Can't quibble with that. ( )
  steller0707 | Aug 25, 2019 |
I enjoyed this memoir. It was really fun to read and very informative. Even though he's been dead for 28 years now, Feynman is still a legendary character. With his antics it is not hard to see why. From his elaborate pranks, to how people used to view him, to his fixing radios as a child, each story is quite interesting and really goes to show how he was educated and some of the ways that he thought of things.

The title comes from a little bit where he was at Princeton and they would have Tea at some time or another. Whenever he made a social faux paus, they would say that phrase, so it was really useful to hear that in his shoes.

So he talked about the safecracking he did at Los Alamos, how he met all these huge luminary names, but he wasn't scared to speak his mind, so Niels Bohr would come around and talk to him and hear critiques from him since he didn't know anyone by sight.

It also spoke of the time he got his Nobel Prize, so that was pretty interesting too. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
This is not a boring, stuffy biography about a boring, stuffy physicist. It's a collection of interesting and amusing anecdotes and stories, written in a very easy to read style. It reveals Feynman to be a quirky individual, with a great sense of humour and an unquenchable curiosity that leads him into many adventures. The narrative seems to wander aimlessly from anecdote to anecdote occasionally, but this is a pretty minor criticism. ( )
  adam.currey | May 21, 2019 |
One of those books that, had it not been hyped so much, I might have enjoyed a lot more. It definitely has its weak points and strong points, and unfortunately the weak points were more glaring because of people's heaps of praise. Suffice it to say that Feynman is not so great on "The Woman Question", as old-school European Marxists would call it, and sometimes he's kind of a trollish jerk. I guess it's easy to have a swelled head when you're a Nobel-prize-winning genius.

The women thing grated on me extra, I think, because most of the people who recommended this book to me were geeky science-y men (and Redditors, which is approximately the same thing), and their demographic can be particularly blind to misogyny, and sometimes even outright misogynist itself.

But as I said, there is plenty of good also. Lots of funny anecdotes and some good insight. I think the last segment, that speech to Caltech about being an honest scientist, was my fave. ( )
  xiaomarlo | Apr 17, 2019 |
Fun collection of stories about Feynman's life. I didn't really like the narrator's voice. ( )
  nx74defiant | Nov 12, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (37 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Feynman, Richardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hutchings, EdwardEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leighton, RalphAuthorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Balibar, FrançoiseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bou, LuisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cox, BrianIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hibbs, Albert R.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klíma, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
van Ryn, AudeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When I was about eleven or twelve I set up a lab in my house.
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Richard P. Feynman, premio Nobel per la fisica nel 1965, è stato uno dei maggiori fisici teorici del XX secolo. La sua vita, lungi dal rimanere confinata entro i limiti dell’impegno strettamente scientifico, ci si presenta in questo libro come un’esplosiva miscela di eventi incredibili resi possibili da quell’impasto del tutto unico di acuta intelligenza, curiosità irrefrenabile, costante scetticismo e radicato umorismo che è stato l’uomo Feynman. È davvero straordinario poter ritrovare nella stessa persona un tal numero di esperienze diverse e talora contraddittorie. 
Egli ha, di volta in volta, scassinato le più sicure casseforti di Los Alamos, dove si custodivano i segreti della bomba atomica, suonato la frigideira in una scuola di samba brasiliana, illustrato la fisica a “menti mostruose” come Einstein, von Neumann e Pauli, e lavorato come suonatore di bongo con una coreografa di successo, per tacere poi della sua attività di pittore, o di biologo, o di frequentatore di case da gioco. Per dare un’idea dell’unicità del personaggio, basta pensare che il futuro premio Nobel venne scartato dall’esercito americano perché “psichicamente deficiente”. Per anni le conversazione di Richard “Dick” Feynman con l’amico musicista Ralph Leighton sono state registrate e poi trascritte senza alterarne il tono confidenziale: un tributo a un grandissimo scienziato ma prima di tutto a un uomo per il quale la vita è davvero stata un instancabile susseguirsi di ricerca e scoperta.
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