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Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! Audiobook

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!

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Publisher's Summary

With his characteristic eyebrow-raising behavior, Richard P. Feynman once provoked the wife of a Princeton dean to remark, "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!" But the many scientific and personal achievements of this Nobel Prize-winning physicist are no laughing matter. In addition to solving the mystery of liquid helium, Feynman has been commissioned to paint a naked female toreador and asked to crack the uncrackable safes guarding the atomic bomb's most critical secrets. He has traded ideas with Einstein and Bohr, discussed gambling odds with Nick the Greek, and accompanied a ballet on the bongo drums. Here, woven with his scintillating views on modern science, Feynman relates the defining moments of his accomplished life.

©1985 by Richard P. Feynman; (P)1997 by Blackstone Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"A chain reaction is not a bad analogy for Feynman's life. From a critical mass of gray matter it goes off in all directions, producing both heat and light." (Time)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (3688 )
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Story
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Performance
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  •  
    Steven Petersen Portland, OR United States 08-19-06
    Steven Petersen Portland, OR United States 08-19-06 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My favorite audio book"

    I love this book - I'm actually listening to it for the second time, which I almost never do. I think the narrator takes the perfect tone for the material, and I found Feynman's stories to be fascinating and quite amusing - especially the parts about Los Alamos. I don't read or listen to many autobiographies, but by the end of this one I found myself regretting that I never met him.

    28 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miriam Lawrence 09-15-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrible narration"

    I bought this title with great anticipation -- my husband has read all of Feynman's books and raved about them. And the book itself did seem promising. But for the first time in the many years now that I've been using Audible, I had to stop listening to this one just a chapter or so in, because the reader was so awful. He read every sentence in this strange, sing-songy voice that made me insane and had no relevance to the words he was reading. I just couldn't stand it anymore. I'll have to try to find the time to read Feynman's books in print. I strongly suggest listening to a sample before you purchase this one--maybe my reaction to the reader was a fluke, but better safe than sorry.

    73 of 88 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 04-19-15
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 04-19-15

    I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "He was curious, was a risk-taker. He was a genius."

    I've been circling this book, 'The Feynman Lectures on Physics', and Gleck's 'Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman' for awhile. This one seemed the most fun and easiest place to start. I was driving from Taos/Santa Fe back to Phoenix last week and as I drove past Los Alamos, it was just the particle collision in my brain I needed to start on Feynman.

    Often, memoirs are hard to read because you know a bunch of it is façade. A person is showing you a part of them for a purpose. They want to be viewed as smart, important, funny, etc. They carefully guide you through a Potemkin village of their life. Richard Feynman's memoir is different. Not that I don't think Feynman had an ego. He might have even had an agenda with the book. But, for the most part, he seemed much more interested in the stories he wanted to tell, rather than on how they would make him look. He wasn't all that worried about how he looked so much. His entire life was built around doing what he wanted, exploring what he found interesting, violating taboos, beating his own drums and cutting his own path.

    He was a Nobel-prize winning polymath physicist whose other talents included playing drums, teaching, drawing naked girls, picking locks, making atomic bombs, practical jokes, and telling stories. He wasn't interested in the usual trappings of success. Many of those things annoyed him. He was curious. He was a risk-taker. He was a genius.

    25 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Monty Westbrook, ME 03-16-15
    Stephanie Monty Westbrook, ME 03-16-15 Member Since 2015

    stifoo

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    "I'm so glad people like this wrote it down!"
    What did you love best about Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!?

    Raw, honest and hilarious. I love how he explains why he makes the choices he makes. The strength of the character is appealing and refreshing. We need more people to stick to their guns no matter the consequence when they have decided to do a thing, make a bet or go against the grain...it's just more interesting to see a thing through. I'm a mid 30's female and feel like we would have made fine friends. Do they make them like this anymore? I'll take 2 please!

    You know a book is good when you wish you could have met the person IRL. He would probably never describe himself this way but I can see the impish twinkle in his eyes...


    What did you like best about this story?

    I'm glad when someone with a different way of thinking is able to navigate this crazy world and manages to stretch themselves past being comfortable in the pursuit of discovery, fun and expression without being so badly bruised by the experience. Here, here for intolerance to bureaucracy and pomp. How funny it would be today to try and get away with signing less than 13 times! I agree that if you trust someone enough to sign a thing that they should trust you to deliver the expense report, sans receipts..ROFL


    What about Raymond Todd’s performance did you like?

    Smooth voice, easy to listen to. Good characterization, voice acting and accents.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes but I had to listen in pieces. I could have listened to the entirety if I had time.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anton Vikoch 02-18-15 Member Since 2012
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    "very nice and fun"

    it was a very nice and fun audio book. interesting to see what things have changed and what have remained the same.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Mystic, CT 01-14-11
    Ted Mystic, CT 01-14-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a character"

    The personal side of Richard Feynman is very unexpected for a brilliant physicist, he was fun, almost goofy, and open about it.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex Marysville, KS, United States 01-07-11
    Alex Marysville, KS, United States 01-07-11 Member Since 2001
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    "A Favorite"

    I love books like this one. Lots of interesting anecdotes from a person smarter than me (that part isn't to tough to achieve!). I have hundreds of audio books but I always like to come back to this one every couple of years. My father listened to part of it with me and got hooked, himself. We still talk about the parts of it we enjoyed the most.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gabriel Studio City, CA, USA 01-09-05
    Gabriel Studio City, CA, USA 01-09-05
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    "Excellent book!"

    Feynman's book is a fantastic account of a tremendously interesting life. Very funny and constantly engaging. I found the reader fairly good, and I looked forward to getting into the car so I could hear more. Highly recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gretchen Underwood 05-25-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I can't believe a narrator managed to kill this."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would absolutely recommend the book (and have several times in the past); however, I would recommend that they read the book, rather than listening to this audiobook. The narrator killed a book that I have always enjoyed.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    These are Feynman's stories and the narrator was not at all a convincing Feynman.


    Did Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! inspire you to do anything?

    Grab my copy of the book off of the shelf and read it again.


    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike 02-27-15
    Mike 02-27-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Curious mind in real world is never bored"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! to be better than the print version?

    i didn't read the printed version


    Any additional comments?

    i don't know why but there is around 5-10 seconds( may be more) missing at 35th chapter around 12:36. Except for that everything is perfect.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • R. E. Beckett
    UK
    8/31/16
    Overall
    Story
    "Great. My favourite person."

    Great. My favourite person. Tho I prefer the narrator of The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jamie
    7/18/16
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    "The life of a magician"

    A delightful series of reminiscences from the life of Richard Feynman that give a real insight into the man and his mind. This book doesn't concentrate on his achievements in physics, by instead on his other talents such as drawing, playing the drums and on safe cracking. You find he was anything but a one dimensional character.
    Delightfully read by Raymond Todd.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fireblade
    7/12/16
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    Story
    "Great Book"

    This is the third time I think I have bought this book and never have I regretted it, I only regret losing the others. Feynman is amazing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • S. S. Allen
    Bexhill, East Sussex
    6/15/16
    Overall
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    "Great book."

    The personality of Mr. Feynman was one of intense curiosity for everything he came across. His stories are great fun and I felt I came to know a little of how he thought. His entry into reviewing text books for education of children in America showed a disconnect between teaching and learning. Sadly the same applies in the UK. His take on this this was most of the text books were of poor quality. It should be essential reading for all those who set syllabi. This is only one of many topics he covers and his departure into safe cracking was amusing. Highly recommended. The reader did an excellent job of bringing this book to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Brian
    6/14/16
    Overall
    "A true testament"

    Everything from science, philosophy, dating, soft drugs, education and military in trepidation. An interesting fella.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Christopher
    4/11/16
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    "great book"

    narrated well, incredibly interesting, such an inspiration and creates so much wonder. this book should be in schools curriculum (well, certain bits)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paulius
    2/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Listen"

    Great Listen, interesting story, useful and relavent to anyone's life. narrator is also great and pleasant

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Munzor
    1/4/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "fun, interesting and well narrated"

    This is a collection of anecdotes and stories, great for listening in small bits of spare time. No risk of losing track if you take a long break like with a story book.

    The life of a logical rational inquisitive mind that still participates in fun and other human silliness.

    The narration is great, it's like the man is really talking to you with all the appropriate emotion and emphasis.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dan
    12/1/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Astoundingly Entertaining"
    If you could sum up Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! in three words, what would they be?

    Witty, charming and thought-provoking.


    What other book might you compare Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! to, and why?

    it's not like other autobiographies, rather it is a collection of stories that Feynman felt compelled to share with the world. I can't say I've read/listened to another book like it yet.


    Have you listened to any of Raymond Todd’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    First time listening to Raymond Todd. I felt he captured Feynman's personality brilliantly and he was able to alternate between a questioning tone (during Feynman's explorations of new ideas and hobbies) and an assertive one (during Feynman's explanations to others) with a fitting ease.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    No idea.


    Any additional comments?

    Well worth a listen, even to those not interested in Physics or even any kind of science. Richard Feynman was simply a genuinely interesting and entertaining man with some great stories to tell.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • FergusG
    11/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
    "dreadful narration "

    awful narration. I only could stand 5 minutes- can I have my money back?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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