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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 (1691 )
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  •  
    Steven Petersen Portland, OR United States 08-19-06
    Steven Petersen Portland, OR United States 08-19-06 Member Since 2005
    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.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew London, N/A, United Kingdom 06-27-03
    Andrew London, N/A, United Kingdom 06-27-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    42
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    "A wonderful book..."

    I'd heard of this guy but had never got around to actually reading any of his books. This is a great way to get to know Mr Feynman without getting into physics, maths, etc. The narrator does an amazing job. By far the best book I have read/listened in a long time. And yes, I did laugh out loud in public a couple of times.

    42 of 46 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Brown Deer, WI, United States 10-16-07
    Charles Brown Deer, WI, United States 10-16-07 Member Since 2005

    I make my living as a truck driver. I fill the space between deliveries with audio books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    108
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    "Inspiring book, HORRIBLE reader."

    It's a testament to Feynman's interesting life and perspective that I was able to sit through a reading by what I consider the absolute worst reader ever. Listen to a sample of this one before buying it. The reader uses the same limited cadence and inflection for everything! From a funny story about a cocktail party to a death in the family, the reader's delivery is static. To make things worse, he reads everything with what sounds to me like a haughty, almost concieted tone. Feynman was well known for his self confidence, but not for arrogance.

    As for the content of the book, only a small percentage is directly related to physics. This book has more insights on how to live life than anything.

    29 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cher Hartford, KY, USA 10-07-07
    Cher Hartford, KY, USA 10-07-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Endearing"

    This book demonstrates that the most brilliant teacher of the 20th century was also a dear man. No lukewarm list of achievements, this spyglass peeks in on the daily life of genius as child through his extraordinary and colorful life.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Wichita, KS, USA 05-25-05
    Joe Wichita, KS, USA 05-25-05 Member Since 2003
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    5
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    "Great story about an interesting man..."

    I've known about Feynman for more than 10 years, but never taken the time to read his work. I selected this book as an intro to the man and as a test to determine if I wanted to read/listen to more of his work. IT WAS EXCELLENT! A fantastic glimpse into the great scientific minds of the 20th century. Feynman was an incredibly observant and witty fella, and this book displays these attributes admirably. FYI, the narrator took a little getting used to, but after the first chapter or two I actually began enjoying his voice and intonations.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Blaine Los Angeles CA 03-03-03
    S. Blaine Los Angeles CA 03-03-03 Member Since 2001

    sblaine

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    "Well Worth the Read"

    If you don't openly smile while listening to this book (particularly the first 60% of it) then you've passed on. A physicist with a sense of humor should not be missed.

    33 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miriam Lawrence 09-15-04 Member Since 2000
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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.

    38 of 45 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen Raleigh, NC, USA 02-17-04
    Ellen Raleigh, NC, USA 02-17-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What was Mr. Feynman like?"

    If you have any idea of the influence this scientist on the world of physics you should love hearing how he came up with his ideas. If you don't all the more reason to learn about this unique and fastinating man. I had a great deal of trouble with the tone of the narrator and found it distracting. I prefer a straight read without an attempt to mimic the speach of the author. This is subjective, but you might want to check it out to see if you would prefer to read than listen to this fastinating book. A look into the thought processes of a genius. Check it out!

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Mystic, CT 01-14-11
    Ted Mystic, CT 01-14-11 Member Since 2006
    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad Grimm SANDY, UT, US 11-09-09
    Brad Grimm SANDY, UT, US 11-09-09 Listener Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
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    "Hilarious and inspiring"

    I didn't know quite what to expect with this book. But I found Feynman's life to be quite inspiring, and hilarious every step of the way. I didn't know his name before, but he's an instant idol of mine.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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