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

Richard P. Feynman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)

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Product Description

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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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.

From Library Journal

Raymond Todd gives an extraordinary performance bringing to evanescent life the amusing adventures of this Nobel prize-winning physicist. Feynman was the quintessential inquirer whose investigations led him, at times, to sophisticated equations, at other times to a kind of social mischief that is delightful in its purity and inspiring in its intellectual courage. Based upon an impromptu talk during drum-playing sessions with his friend Ralph Leighton, this surprise best seller is packed with unforgettable anecdotes. Working at Los Alamos, Feynman cracked safes containing the secrets of the bomb. He challenged an abacus salesman to an arithmetical duel. He trained himself to sniff like a bloodhound. He played frigideira in a Brazilian samba band. In Las Vegas, he learned the ways of gamblers and show girls. He gave his first physics lecture in front of Einstein. Refreshingly honest, iconoclastic, thought-provoking, this one-of-a-kind classic is a must for every collection.?Peter Josyph, New York
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"There are two types of genius. Ordinary geniuses do great things, but they leave you room to believe that you could do the same if only you worked hard enough. Then there are magicians, and you can have no idea how they do it. Feynman was a magician" -- Hans Bethe, theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate "A storyteller in the tradition of Mark Twain. He proves once again that it is possible to laugh out loud and scratch your head at the same time" New York Times Book Review "Quintessential Feynman - funny, brilliant, bawdy...enormously entertaining" New Yorker "Buzzes with energy, anecdote and life. It almost makes you want to become a physicist" Science Digest --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Richard Feynman was, until his death in 1988, the most famous physicist in the world. Only an infinitesimal part of the general population could understand his mathematical physics, but his outgoing and sunny personality, his gift for exposition, his habit of playing the bongo drums, and his testimony to the Presidential Commission on the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster turned him into a celebrity. Richard Feynman died in 1988 after a long illness. Freeman Dyson, of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, called him 'the most original mind of his generation', while in its obituary The New York Times described him as 'arguably the most brilliant, iconoclastic and influential of the postwar generation of theoretical physicists'. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From AudioFile

Having won the Nobel Prize in physics, as well as having solved the mystery of liquid helium and the probabilities of gambling odds with Nick the Greek, Mr. Feynman's escapades are worthy of being read aloud. Subtitled Adventures of a Curious Character, this memoir presents his many interests with enthusiasm. Raymond Todd seems to get as much pleasure out of the diversities of Feynman's career as the scientist did through living them. J.P. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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