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"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  119,762 ratings  ·  4,338 reviews

A New York Times bestseller—the outrageous exploits of one of this century's greatest scientific minds and a legendary American original.

Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures. Here he recounts in his inimitable voice his experience trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Gr
Paperback, 400 pages
Published February 6th 2018 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1985)
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Carlos I think its useful to read for anyone. Feynman's views on education, science, and the world coupled with his curiosity is both down to earth and…moreI think its useful to read for anyone. Feynman's views on education, science, and the world coupled with his curiosity is both down to earth and inspirational. (less)
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Jun 30, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book of anecdotes is written in a very casual, fun way that makes it easy to read. The problem is that the author, Nobel-Prize-winning physicist Dick Feynman, is annoying. All the anecdotes involve him discovering a hidden talent, using it, delighting others (or himself if that's his real goal) and then being applauded for it (sometimes only by himself). For example, he discovers that he's a great artist, musician, safecracker, and critic. Everything revolves around him showing off and bein ...more
Otis Chandler
Dec 17, 2006 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Curious cats
Recommended to Otis by: Adrian
This book was a pure delight. The subtitle "Adventures of a Curious Character" is spot-on. Feynman gave an amazingly human and honest view into his philosophy and take on life, thought a series of stories.

One thing that struck me most deeply was his passion for learning new things. You would think a world-famous Physicist would just be passionate for Physics - but Feynman was curious about everything he saw. He dabbled in art and was successful enough to have a show, he joined a Brazilian Bongo
da AL
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hadn't thought a Nobel pprize-winning physicist could be so fun loving & down-to-earth. He was a man ahead of his time when it came to many things -- & of his time when it came to his ideas about 'pretty girls' (as he calls women). The audiobook reader did a great job, but what a shame Feynman didn't read it himself before he passed on...
Brendon Schrodinger
“Would you like cream or lemon in your tea, Mr. Feynman?” It’s Mrs. Eisenhart, pouring tea.

“I’ll have both, thank you,” I say, still looking for where I’m going to sit, when suddenly I hear “Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh. Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman.”

The title of this collection comes from a tale that took place early in Feynman's career where he was invited for an afternoon tea with the dean of his university. The dean's wife is serving and asks him the above question. Richard never drinks tea an
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
“You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It's their mistake, not my failing.”
― Richard Feynman, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!


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 d
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Nobody ever figures out what life is all about,and it doesn't matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough."(Video Review)
The story of Feynman changed fundamentally, what I think about the world around me.
The story of Richard and his father helped me to understand, that many parents could help their children to a more fulfilling life. Parents could pique the interest of the child very early and could give him real answers if he asks why aga
Everyone has a collection of favorite stories that they enjoy telling; but it's unusual for the stories to be so good that a friend insists on writing them down, so that other people can appreciate them too. When I read this book, I almost feel that Feynman's telling the stories himself. Well, when that happens in real life, you always want to join in; here's my personal best effort at a Feynman-type anecdote. I hope it's now far enough in the past that the people concerned will see the funny si ...more
Sep 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Feynman is a physicist who taught at Cornell and Princeton, worked on the Manhattan Project and won the Nobel Prize. He's also a complete hoot. The book is a series of autobiographical stories -- pranks pulled as a student at MIT and at Los Alamos, teaching himself to paint, scientific discoveries he made, his three marriages, how he was rejected by the draft board for being mentally suspect (they asked him if he ever heard voices and he said yes he did and then went on to describe what he found ...more
Roy Lotz
I'll never make that mistake again, reading the experts' opinions. Of course, you only live one life, and you make all your mistakes, and learn what not to do, and that's the end of you.

I can usually tell when I’m going to give a book 5 stars by one sign: I can’t shut up about it. Well, I couldn’t and can’t shut up about this book; it was simply great. This greatness sort of snuck up on me. I’d recently read a collection of anecdotes by a scientist (A Primate’s Memoir) and found it rather disa
Nov 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There’s presumably a rule where only smart people are awarded Nobel Prizes in Physics. Richard Feynman was no exception. This memoir is filled with anecdotes from his childhood spent fixing radios, his experiences as a young man doing bomb research at Los Alamos up through his days as a renowned professor at Cal Tech. The central theme was always that this is one smart cookie. It was interesting to pick up on his thought processes. It probably didn’t feature as much pure science as most of his o ...more
Tess J
Jul 04, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Listen, I read this a long time ago but here's the thing about it. I'm a big sience fan, and I've always heard how brilliant and funny Richard Feynman was, especially because of his connection to the UofC. But I loathed this book. I suppose it's a memoir, and I don't know if it's ghost written or not, but what was supposed to endear me to Mr Feynman made him revolting to me. According to this book, he treated other people like dirt and thought it was hilarious, he correlated pure intelligence wi ...more
Peter Frazier
May 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This amusing little book of anecdotes had an alarmingly influential role in my life. It convinced me of the odd notion that it would be a good idea to go to Caltech and major in physics. In retrospect, this would have been a better idea had I been born around 1930 and was starting my scientific career around 1940, but nowadays it's a tough slog in physics, both money-wise and also discovery-wise. I think that people like Bohr and Planck and Einstein and Feynman discovered all the good stuff in p ...more
Nov 27, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One of the problems with reading a book written by a genius is that you have to ask yourself whether any perceived deficiencies in the text are due to the author, or due to your own failure to comprehend his brilliance. That said, I wasn't thrilled by this book. On a purely technical level, it would have benefited from a stronger editor. While there's a rough chronological order to the material, there tends to be a lot of jumping around both within and between the chapters. A few times, Feynman ...more

Che la forza sia con te

Richard Feynman è un fisico, premio Nobel nel 1965. Un uomo indubbiamente intelligente, curioso, entusiasta del mondo della tecnica e della scienza.

In questo libro racconta tramite aneddoti la sua vita, fatta di studi importanti (uno per tutti la partecipazione allo sviluppo della bomba atomica a Los Alamos) ma anche di episodi curiosi o apparentemente insignificanti.

Purtroppo non è sufficiente essere intelligenti per scrivere bene. Non basta essere curiosi per incuriosire
Apr 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Inder by: Dad
Laugh out loud funny. My dad read this outloud to us when we were kids - I'm guessing at the exact year - and the whole family literally cried with laughter many times during the performance.

Feyman's other memoirs are good too, but this is the funniest. I still think of it often. For instance, every time I use a combination lock, I think of his safe-cracking phase, and how it's every child's dream to learn how to crack safes and get at all that secret and valuable stuff. Which really sums up th
Dec 16, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The Nobel prize winning physicist, acclaimed drummer, artist, expert on Mayan astronomy, safecracker, prankster, etc, etc, tells “crazy adventures” of his life. They’re really not “crazy adventures,” these anecdotes; my own father's are easily just as rich and bizarre. Feynman came off to me as a somewhat unpleasant character: he was full to the brim of himself; his false modesty (“I’m too dim to realize when to keep my mouth shut, I just say what I think”) was cloying and annoying, as were his ...more
Lance Greenfield
Brilliant, inspirational and very funny!

There can be no argument that Richard P Feynman was a genius. He has been a hero of mine since I was very young, probably because my father also greatly admires him and spoke to me about Feynman and his unique personality from time to time.

There are some great stories in this book and they will make you laugh out loud. Feynman was always so full of life and he was curious about absolutely everything from a very early age. He would always want to know, "Ho
Sabbir Ahmed
Noble laureate physicist Hans Bethe বলেছিলেন, "দুই রকমের জিনিযাস আছেন। সাধারণ জিনিযাসেরা মহান সব কাজ করে থাকেন, কিনতু সবসমযেই এটা চিনতা করার সুযোগ থেকে যায যে, যথেষট পরিমাণে খাটলে আপনিও বুঝি ওটা করতে পারতেন। আরেকরকমের জিনিযাস অনেকটা যাদুকরের মতন, আপনি কিছুতেই ভেবে উঠতে পারবেন না, তারা সেটা কিভাবে করল। ফাইনমযান ছিলেন একজন যাদুকরী জিনিযাস। "

সেই যাদুকরের সাথে পরিচয় মিলল এই বইয়ে। রিচারড ফাইনমযান একজন নোবেল বিজয়ী পদারথবিদ বললে আসলে তার সমপরকে যেন কিছুই বলা হল না।
একজন পদারথবিদ পরিচয়ের পাশাপাশি তার আরও
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Richard Feynman u ovoj knjizi ne piše o kvantnoj elektrodinamici, polju u kojemu je dao najveći doprinos fizici. Ovo su, kako i sam podnaslov kaže Adventures of a Curious Character, avanture znatiželjnog/neobičnog lika.

Feynman ovdje piše o nekim njemu najzanimljivijim događajima iz života koji su zabavni za ispričati. O tome kako se, već kao mali, počeo interesirati kako stvari funkcioniraju. Počeo je s rastavljanjem jednog radio prijemnika, a uskoro postao majstor za njih za cijelo susjedstvo.
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If not for copyright laws, this book could easily have been entitled, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”. This is a captivating story of an amazing life that could not have been better had it been scripted at birth.

Mr. Feynman has done it all. I loved the feeling of tagging along on this brilliant, Nobel-prize winning physicist’s life. A little eccentric yes, but the narrative flows in a very conversational manner (which is a style I like very much). From his early life, to his work on the atomic bomb,
Romanas Wolfsborg
This is the manual of curiosity and intelligence by the great physicist -- Richard Feynman. An incredible life of one of the prodigious thinkers is summarized in less than 400 pages. I would not have put it down even if the book was 4000 pages long, so interesting is the story, a real page-turner.

Apparently, by not taking life so seriously Dr. Feynman achieved some remarkably serious things which led to Nobel prize, and other remarkable accomplishments. How many other Nobel prize laureates have
Pooja Dhami
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before I read this engaging memoir, I knew him as Richard Phillips Feynman, one of the greatest physicists that ever lived.
Henceforth, this name will evoke images of a prankster, a musician, a safe cracker, a biologist, a Brazilian band member, an artist who visited several brothels to sell his painting and a man who refused to grow old.
These anecdotes from his life are sure to tickle your funny bone.
Reza Mahmoudi
دلیل اینکه میگویم من یک آدم «ضدروشنفکر» و «غیر فرهنگی» هستم احتمالا به زمانی بر می گردد که در دبیرستان بودم. همیشه نگران این موضوع بودم که یک مرد نازک نارنجی باشم و نمی خواستم خیلی حساس و نازک بین جلوه کنم. از نظر من، یک مرد واقعی هرگز به شعر و امثال آن توجهی نمی کرد. هرگز برای من مهم نبود که یک شعر چگونه نوشته می شود. بنابراین نسبت به آدم هایی که ادبیات فرانسه می خواندند یا به موسیقی و شعر می پرداختند یا به نوعی با این کارهای ظریف سر و کار داشتند، گرایشی منفی پیدا کردم. من به آدم هایی که آهنگر ...more
Elizabeth K.
This was disappointing, because I've been wanting to read this for a while because he is so renown for being quite the hilarious character as well as a Nobel prize-winning physicist. This is a collection of essays that serves as a memoir; many are not directly related to physics, but that's definitely the theme. After reading this, my conclusion is that Feynman was mostly a world class knob. He lost me fairly early into it, when he described how you could see physics in action in the everyday wo ...more
Andrej Karpathy
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I love this book so much. I really want to give it 6/5. I read and re-read it often, and Feynman is one of my personal top heroes.
What a fascinating personality! To follow your dreams, make them happen, make a living out of them, ultimately all this work to be of help for others and above all to enjoy life as you wish to - this is what I call to live your life to the fullest!

Mr. Feynman stories are simply wonderful! They are not just funny - they present a man which desire to learn was his motto in life (he owes this desire to his father, a very remarkable man). According to him, anything can be learned as long as you wis
Peter Mcloughlin
What if a regular guy from Coney Island was a genius. He'd be Richard Feynman. In this autobiography, Feynman goes over his adventures growing up in NYC, at MIT, Princeton, Cornell, Caltech and other locales. He writes in a down to earth style of a wise guy who revolutionized Quantum Field Theory. The book doesn't go much into his physics but his experiences as a prankster and tinkerer and safecracker and adventurer as he goes from one episode to another. Interesting guy.
Veronika Sebechlebská
O tom, ako:

1) vykrádať sejfy
2) baliť baby v bare
3) konštruovať atómové bomby
4) pozerať na svet otvorenými očami
5) počítať z hlavy tretie odmocniny
6) mať v p**i
7) opravovať rádiá
8) a tiež o tom, že nikdy nie je naškodu naučiť sa hrať na bongo.

Body 6, 4 a 2 sa mi zatiaľ osvedčili a koketujem s 8
Bod 5 odporúčam neskúšať, ak vaše IQ nie je dosť vysoké na to, aby mohlo v aute sedieť na prednom sedadle

Edit: po zrelom uvážení som sa rozhodla, že do trojky nejdem, lebo pri mojich technických schopnost
Sep 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book's been recommended to me by my boyfriend and after giving it a 5-page trial, I got sucked right into it!

I partially read it, partially listened to the audiobook (which was, imho, done really well and was so pleasant to listen to while doing puzzle or gaming or whatnot).

I loved the very beginning, his childhood, where he was so curious and so sweet about his early discoveries. The rest of his science-related work as well as hobbies (drumming, painting, lock-picking, math duels, pranks,
Titas (I read in bed)
Physics is like sex!
Today we will talk about a scientist who was an extraordinary man, known as a teacher, lover, master safe cracker (who stole papers of Manhattan Project), fan of Las Vegas’s strip clubs, exceptional liar, musician, artist and probably the most brilliant, influential, and iconoclastic figure in his field in the post-World War II era.

How does one define a role model? A prodigy, hard-worker, achiever, winner in the field one is interested in, right? Well in that case the Nobel P
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Richard Phillips Feynman was an American physicist known for the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as work in particle physics (he proposed the parton model). For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman was a joint recipient of the Nobel Pr ...more
“You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It's their mistake, not my failing.” 1166 likes
“All the time you're saying to yourself, 'I could do that, but I won't,' — which is just another way of saying that you can't.” 215 likes
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