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Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman [Paperback]

Richard P Feynman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 1997
In a hugely popular best-seller, the late Nobel Prize-winning physicist recounts in his own inimitable style exchanging ideas on atomic physics with Alfred Einstein, painting a naked toreador, and accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums. Reprint.

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From Amazon

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

From Publishers Weekly

History will remember Nobel Prize–winning physicist Feynman (1918–1988), for his work in quantum physics and his role in the investigation of the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle. Contemporary readers and listeners, however, will remember him best for his reputation as a free-thinking iconoclast whose personal adventures were hilarious, insightful and inspiring. Todd does a fabulous job of conveying Feynman's infectious enthusiasm and childlike sense of wonder with his energetic portrayal of the scientist. He's adept even in difficult sections, such as when Feynman "speaks Italian" and "Chinese"—inventing completely made-up but accurate sounding languages. Todd does a good job of portraying Feynman's inquisitive manner and conveys the book's message and attitude with aplomb. While he sounds nothing like the late physicist (Feynman— the subject of James Gleick's Genius—had a thick Long Island accent and sounded more like a cross between Yogi Bear and The Honeymooners' Ed Norton), Todd's clean, polite voice is a revelation. Based on the Norton paperback. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
WHEN I WAS about eleven or twelve I set up a lab in my house. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best book I have ever read July 17 2012
By Shanto
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of the best book I have ever read. This is hilarious, witty and the point is this is not from any entertainer or comedian, but from on the most brilliant mind the world has ever seen. This book is inspiring. I am lucky to have on in my collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I absolutely LOVE this book July 17 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I absolutely LOVE this book. I have never laughed so much while reading a book as I did with this one.

If there was any place I could go back in time to, it would be to one of Feynman's lectures!!

anyone looking for a hilarious uplifting, fun book-Read this!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Always a pleasure to read Feb. 4 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I always was facinated by this physicist. I read many times is classics on physics. But never have quite the time to read thos little book. Now, It is a pleasure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Interesting July 3 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is exactly what I was expecting. Interesting life stories from a great character, written in a very funny manner. It's also really inspiring.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read June 18 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An interesting glimpse into the mind of a brilliant, straightforward and honest thinker. I wish I could have had him as a teacher.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable man! Feb. 9 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a great read. Feynman is a remarkable man, calls it as he sees it and he is pretty darn perceptive. Loved this book, recommended it to friends.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just plain hilarious! July 3 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I can't see why so many idiots give Feynman's books bad reviews and say "the guy is OVERRATED man!" These people are probably just jealous because Feynman was UNDOUBTEDLY the coolest smart-person who ever lived. Moreover, this is the book which provides conclusive proof of that fact. Anyone who says Feynman was overrated is blatantly wrong -- In fact, I have been interning at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, where I met a man named Don Thompson who actually met Feynman when he did his post-doctoral work at Caltech. As Don says, "Feynman was just as funny, brilliant, and vibrant as all the books and accounts say he was." So, buy this book, and don't believe all the idiots who give it bad reviews.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A compilation of chronologically lined-up short stories about Feynman's life, this book cannot be called an autobiography; we just get the « greatest hits ». We discover a really smart man through his relations with authority, art, science, religion, psychology, music and more. Feynman worked as a physicist but you don't find the typical introverted lab-coat nerd personality; instead we get to know a curious man with passions from lock picking to drums. Feynman mentions scientific stuff he works on to give context, but no more; we often forget he's a physicist (one of the most important physicists of the 20th Century, no less!): the book thus can be enjoyed by anybody, especially... you.
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