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Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! | [Richard P. Feynman]

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!

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. Here, woven with his scintillating views on modern science, Feynman relates the defining moments of his accomplished life.
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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 (2303 )
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Story
4.4 (1246 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Amy San Mateo, CA, USA 07-25-12
    Amy San Mateo, CA, USA 07-25-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Probably the best book I've read in a long time"
    If you could sum up Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! in three words, what would they be?

    Unbelievable brilliant tomfoolery


    What did you like best about this story?

    It's true


    Which character – as performed by Raymond Todd – was your favorite?

    Mr. Feynman of course


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Not really


    Any additional comments?

    A crazy fun read full of oh-no-he-didn't moments. Definitely worth a re-listen/reread. What strikes me most is that, as he says in the book, interesting stuff doesn't happen to him all of the time, but he makes sure to pay attention when interesting things do happen. I think that's just a generally good rule for living: you have to stay put sometimes to notice the little things that happen that are out of the ordinary. It also helps to be a good storyteller like Mr. Feynman.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Warnie Plano, TX, United States 07-19-12
    Warnie Plano, TX, United States 07-19-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Funny Feynman"

    Very entertaining--Feynman's stories are pretty much always amusing--there's a child-like quality about him here, in his love of pranks and his ability to throw himself into whatever topic he might be curious about. There's also something childish about him at times--in his way of handling authority or rules or events he doesn't like. I can't decide whether I would have loved this man had I known him in real life, or whether he would have driven me absolutely crazy. Maybe a little of both. Anyway, this is definitely well worth a read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 07-09-12
    Jennifer 07-09-12
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    2
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    "Funniest Physicist on the Planet!"
    What did you love best about Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!?

    His sense of humor.


    What does Raymond Todd bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The way he uses his voice to tell the story with such fluctuations and intonaitons adds so much to the humor and life of Richard Feynman.


    Any additional comments?

    If you like humor and science this book is for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russ United States 06-28-12
    Russ United States 06-28-12
    ratings
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    1
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    Story
    "Wish he was still around."
    Where does Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Best audiobook so far.


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

    Its a biography. I've read/listened to several, but none compare to the breadth of experiences, knowledge, humor, and pure honesty and openess as this how Dick tells his storys.


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

    No.


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

    No. I listen while driving or running.


    Any additional comments?

    Seriously considering buying 6 more copies and giving them away. Already bought for my dad for Fathers Day.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. A. Newton Singapore (and Park City, UT USA) 06-14-12
    E. A. Newton Singapore (and Park City, UT USA) 06-14-12 Member Since 2014

    Avid reader with an inability to sit still... thank God for Audible :)

    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "Now I know why..."
    What was one of the most memorable moments of Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!?

    One of my favorite parts of this book is where Dr. Feynman is at Princeton for his Masters and the dean brings in a hypnotist. Dr. Feynman's attempt to be "one of many" who are chosen to work with the hypnotist was a riot and Raymond Todd conveyed the situation perfectly. It especially reminded me of my own escapades!.


    What does Raymond Todd bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    I love his voice and I can just hear Dr. Feynman saying "I get it, OK?!" He so perfectly conveys Feynman's personality, naivete, and lovable nature that you feel as though you're listening to Feynman himself.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The story of an incredible man whose life inspires you to do all those things you've always been curious about.


    Any additional comments?

    Do not miss this book - regardless of whether or not you're interested in science, you'd be remiss to miss this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vitaliy 05-14-12
    Vitaliy 05-14-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "An excellent autobiography!"
    Would you listen to Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! again? Why?

    Yes, I would listen to it again. It is a very engaging read by Mr. Raymond Todd, but beyond performance, I found this book to be very substantive in how it reveals this hero of science and learning. It is a must listen/read for anyone with intellectual aspirations.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This is a one-character book.


    What about Raymond Todd’s performance did you like?

    Excellent voice impressions!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    LMFAO! And cried when Richard talked about his late wife.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kerry 03-20-12
    Kerry 03-20-12

    I have existed since the beginning of time at the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the heavens!!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An intreging intresting and very funny Man."
    Where does Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I have listen to this book several times, it was one of the first books I bought from Audible, I find that Mr. Feynman was a very interesting person with a very wide interest who had wit and imagination he lead a life worth living and reading about.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Marietta, GA, United States 03-19-12
    Michelle Marietta, GA, United States 03-19-12 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    "Candid Stories from Feynman"
    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Feynman (duh!). I was surprised by some aspects of his social life: particularly his adventures in bars and lounges. Feynman tells stories of those days that expose him as something of a cad. Whether he would happily accept the moniker or be offended is unclear. Given the choice I'd rather be the wife of a friend of Feynman than to be any woman who caught his eye at a party or in a bar.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    He was good but a bit tense; relaxing his voice would have improved the audiobook. It sounded almost like he restrained his breath while speaking. Releasing more of his exhale while he spoke would have improved my enjoyment...perhaps his, too.


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

    Not really.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kerry Topeka, KS, United States 02-13-12
    Kerry Topeka, KS, United States 02-13-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
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    2
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    "Interesting and telling"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, it's an interesting life story of a mostly obscure scientific mind.


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

    No


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    His message about the politicization of our education system needs to get out.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark 01-24-12
    Mark 01-24-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "A fun romp through the great mans life"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. After reading and hearing so much about him, it was amazingly refreshing to hear a humorous and interesting book which covers the 'human' aspects of his life. The story if funny and not at all heavy in mathematical content. An amazing man with a great set of stories..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 81-90 of 121 results PREVIOUS1891013NEXT
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  • Simon
    BristolUnited Kingdom
    8/6/09
    Overall
    "Endlessly interesting"

    This is a fantastic book, and you urge it to continue as Feynman leads us through his life, from the mundane to the truly extra-ordinary. What really sets this book apart is the complete, unashamed honesty with which he approaches every situation. That one man could have won the Nobel Prize (that "damn" prize), worked on the atomic bomb, become a paid musician and paid artist and given evidence in a trial supporting a strip club just sums up the sort of character Feynman was. Someone who loved life and embraced every opportunity. That enthusiasm comes through in his breathless-at-times writing style and unstructured format, but you really don't care. It's like listening to the world's most interesting person talk in a bar.

    The only slight downside is the variable audio quality and the narrator's penchant for doing voices and accents, which can be jarring at times. It certainly doesn't ruin this fantastic book though.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Chris
    BILLERICAY, United Kingdom
    7/4/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wish I'd known him!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I would, particularly to somebody who understood some maths & physics.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!?

    People thought he was being pretentious because he learned Portuguese when living in Brazil. They set out to tease him by introducing him to a lady who had been brought up in China and greeted him in Chinese. He boldly replied with a bit of nonsense which sounded Chinese and she said "Wouldn't you just know it, I speak Mandarin and he speaks Cantonese?!"


    What does Raymond Todd bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    I actually have the book, but he makes some wonderful sound effects and noises which you don't get from the printed page.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Mainly it made me laugh, but the chapter when he witnessed the first A-bomb test made me sad - particularly when he went on to like, admire and work with Japanese colleagues.


    Any additional comments?

    If you're not sure and think this might be a bit stuffy and erudite, take a chance on it - you'll be glad you did.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Chris
    London, United Kingdom
    10/20/11
    Overall
    "An absolute joy to read"

    I was expecting heavy going, well you would wouldn't you? But this was a pleasure to read; stories from theoretical physics through to picking up girls in a bar, all told by a 20th Century genius.

    I couldn't recommend this highly enough.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Pratima
    Waltham cross, United Kingdom
    8/21/11
    Overall
    "Excellent - interesting, witty and insightful!"

    One of the best audiobooks I listened to. Extremely enjoyable and some lovely insights to life:)

    Well worth a listen!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • mollyeyre
    Leicestershire UK
    11/15/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating man"

    I have read in one review that the reviewer considered Mr F to be self centred and a womaniser. I disagree very strongly, in all his brilliance he has a certain naivety and sees things in a straight uncomplicated manor. I found this book fascinating and read well. My only complaint is that the editing wasn't up to Audible's usual standards, there were a few passages that were repeated - as in - for the recording process to be able to be picked up accurately. There was also one spot where the words 'jumped', even when I backtracked and played it again in case I had done something accidentally .

    All in all an excellent read

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sue McW
    UK
    8/18/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting Insight"

    This is an interesting insight into the life of a scientist with a very unusual mind and outlook on life. The narrator's tone suits the piece. It also gives a good picture of life in America in the 50's and 60's. Although the book seems quite long, and the tone can be a little monotonous in places. I would suggest reading in stages - not all at once.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    Sutton, United Kingdom
    7/28/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing"

    I loved the paper book, so looked forward to this. However the quality let it down. it's not a dreadful recording, but the presenter's voice came across as too childish which seemed to change the tone of some parts of the book and there were a few repeated sentences. Somehow the excitement of a genius that played with science felt more like a blundering amateur.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. R. D. Cox
    London
    5/31/11
    Overall
    "A wicked genius - a beautiful life"

    I know more about the world having read this world - and it is even more fun than I suspected

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Megan
    TONBRIDGE, United Kingdom
    1/5/13
    Overall
    "Great book well read"

    A collection of autobiographical stories the Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman. Some funny, others fascinating and others awe inspiring. Expressively read by someone whose voice I could imagine to sound very similar to Richard Feynman.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Rupert Matthews
    4/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing"

    After reading this he is now a hero of mine. The book takes you through all the major moments in his life, such a varied way to live you wouldn't expect it. I need to start living like he did

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 31 results PREVIOUS124NEXT

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