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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

4.3 (1748 )
5 star
 (979)
4 star
 (469)
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 (201)
2 star
 (62)
1 star
 (37)
Overall
4.4 (763 )
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 (484)
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 (177)
3 star
 (68)
2 star
 (25)
1 star
 (9)
Story
4.3 (756 )
5 star
 (408)
4 star
 (221)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (8)
Performance
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  •  
    Cortis Kensington, CA, USA 07-03-05
    Cortis Kensington, CA, USA 07-03-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "Surely You're Joking"

    Some interesting anecdotes but they get tiring after a while. It becomes painfully clear that Feynman was a fundamentally insecure man who was continually seeking to overcome that flaw by proving to others how clever he was.

    6 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James E. Dimitroff Dallas, TX 09-11-03
    James E. Dimitroff Dallas, TX 09-11-03 Listener Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    116
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    41
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    1
    Overall
    "Very Entertaining..."

    This listen is more about the man than his theories, which I like. You'll find yourself shaking your head from side to side laughing out loud. The narrating is good, and shows character, not dull and lifeless. Covering from his life as a teenager who could repair radios, to an young man who could crack safes! This one gets all five stars from me.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    zephyr451 Bellevue, WA USA 10-29-03
    zephyr451 Bellevue, WA USA 10-29-03 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    75
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Well written, funny."

    While I did find some parts were a bit slow, on the whole I did like the book. Richard Feynman clearly conveys his joy and passion for learning, not to mention his joy for life. His numerous stories also bring a smile to your face at level of mischievousness he was able to reach.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Downey, CA, USA 04-19-08
    William Downey, CA, USA 04-19-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    0
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    "Not for everyone"

    I can understand how some people would really appreciate this book but it is not for everyone. I was surprised by how this guy was always looking for girls and talked so frequently about his lusting. It felt out of place but he does go on and on and on about himself.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Mansfield, Texas, United States 11-04-03
    Chris Mansfield, Texas, United States 11-04-03 Member Since 2002

    I enjoy listening to audiobooks while woking in my shop or around the house -sort of mental multitasking.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    145
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    389
    39
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    4
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    Overall
    "Don't Spend Your Money on This One"

    Don't down load this unless you think you might enjoy listening to hours of totally unconnected thoughts and ramblings from what sounds like a slightly senile person. This book reminds me of listening to a person confined to a nursing home think back over thier life, and recount events only meaningful to them.

    8 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    diane Belleville, Illinois, United States 09-13-03
    diane Belleville, Illinois, United States 09-13-03 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    10
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    1
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    "I LOVE IT"

    I LOVE THE STORIES AND MEMORIES, GREAT STYLE, TALENTED MAN, ARTIST, MUSICIAN, AND NOW WRITER TOO, WHAT A MAN!

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 81-86 of 86 results PREVIOUS189NEXT
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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
  • 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
  • Dr. G. Wilson
    Oxford
    9/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointingly not Feynman but a biography"
    What disappointed you about Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!?

    I'd expected lectures by Feynman not a load of long winded anecdotes told by a sleepy drawling American who was obviously reading with too little preparation.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Richard P. Feynman again?

    By Feynman yes, but not this.


    What didn’t you like about Raymond Todd’s performance?

    As I said the pace is wrong, the accent is wrong and the preparation inadequate.


    What character would you cut from Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!?

    The narrator.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • H. L. Mason
    Spain
    9/8/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "GREAT FUN"
    Where does Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very near the top


    What did you like best about this story?

    An extremely amusing and entertaining description of the various incidents that have have punctuated the author's life, given in a well spaced out chronological order. What stands out more than anything else is the author's exceptional sense of humour.


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

    No


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

    No


    Any additional comments?

    This was a very genial romp through the life of a very distinguished personality with a supreme gift for self effacement - just what a Nobel Prize winner should be. What a refreshing contrast to the suffocating banality of today's "celebrity culture".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 22 results PREVIOUS123NEXT

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