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What Do You Care What Other People Think?

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  11,229 ratings  ·  402 reviews
One of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman possessed an unquenchable thirst for adventure and an unparalleled ability to tell the stories of his life. "What Do You Care What Other People Think?" is Feynman s last literary legacy, prepared with his friend and fellow drummer, Ralph Leighton. Among its many tales some funny, others intensely movi ...more
Paperback, 255 pages
Published January 11th 2001 by W.W. Norton & Company (first published 1988)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Manny
We were having a discussion about safety at NASA in another thread and I thought of this book, about half of which consists of an account of Feynman's role in the investigation following the Challenger disaster. One of the other reviewers complained that this section was too long, but I found it completely fascinating.

Feynman was always very good at asking tough questions and at describing things as they are, not as they are supposed to be. The most famous bit is where he's at the press conferen
...more
J.
I was enthusiastic about reading this after reading "Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman?". The book is divided into two parts "A Curious Character" which deals with the people who influenced Feynman the most; his father and his wife Arline. Arline and Richard were perfect for each other alas their relationship was bitter sweet. Arline succumbed to tuberculosis and passed away at the age of twenty five. It's not all sad though Arline very much enjoyed seeing Richard succeed but made sure he stayed ...more
Lori
Somehow I came across Richard Feynman in the spring of 2012. I wish I had come across him sooner. I was not quite sure how to pronounce his last name so I asked my husband if he had ever heard of Richard "Feman" and he responded "Feynman?" At that time I knew very little about Richard Feynman and wished I had talked about him more with my husband. My husband passed away in June of 2012 and he had very much in common with Richard Feynman. In fact, my husband reminded me so much of him! So when I ...more
Sarah
This is five star because of one particular essay, called 'The Value of Science' In that essay, Feynman conveys his sense of wonder with the natural world and likens that sense of awe and mystery with religious experience - one few people not educated in science have the priviledge to encounter. He also emplasises something I believe, but have never seen written about explicitly before - that one huge contribution of science is the realisation that it's entirely possible to live your life and ma ...more
Erik Simon
The powers that be were foolish enough to ask Richard Feynman to be on the special commission tasked with investigating why the space shuttle blew up. They must not have known he would actually pursue an answer. The head of the commission was William Rogers, Nixon's Secretary of State whom Kissinger made sure had no real duties or powers in that role, so he was the perfect guy to sabotage this space shuttle commission, making sure it accomplished nothing. And were Feynman not on it, Rogers proba ...more
Troy
I liked this a lot, especially the chapters about Feynman's experiences as a commissioner in the Challenger shuttle accident investigation. The last quote by Feynman at the very end stood out and struck me, as a sort of inter-ocular impact:

"It is our responsibility as scientists, knowing the great progress which comes from a satifactory philosophy of ignorance, the great progress which is the fruit of freedom of thought, to proclaim the value of this freedom; to teach how doubt is not to be fear
...more
Kim
Really difficult to review this without comparing it to "Surely You're Joking", which is a shame since this book is pretty good all on its own, but is a bit scattershot (which it admits right at the beginning), and about half of it covers the Challenger explosion in more details than I really cared about. For the Feynman completist or NASA disaster junkie this will be really interesting, for the average reader probably not.

However the first essay, about how parents can instill a love of learning
...more
Chintogtokh Otgoid
A really lopsided book, compared to "Surely You're Joking".

That said, the story about his life with Arline was heartbreaking yet beautiful, the bit about the past-looking Greeks was strangely reminiscent of my own culture, and the letters written by his friends were absolutely wonderful.
Honest Dave
This book is a collection of stories told by the Nobel laureate, Richard Feynman. The first half of the book is largely focused on several of Feynman's early influences, particularly his first wife, Arlene. A few of these stories are light, but a lot are emotionally heavy as Feynman recounts how he and Arlene dealt with her battle with tuberculosis. Even in such a trying situation, Richard and Arlene's positive and pragmatic personalities shine through and inspire.

The second half of the book con
...more
Anshul Thakur
‘What do you care what other people think’ was what Feynman said to Arlene, his love, and his first wife whom, he married despite knowing that she had tuberculosis and would not survive more than a few years. He said it when she was studying philosophy, and he was helping her out, much before he became her fiance. It is also the same term that Arlene, a wild and free character that she was, used to tease Feynman when he was shy of doing something that he might have wanted to do, for himself or f ...more
E. C. Koch
Another great memoir by the incomparable R. P. Feynman. He's funny, he's brilliant, and he has the rare gift of being able to explain the most complex ideas in the simplest way. His philosophy of life, love of science, and ability to say "I don't know" is inspirational, or it is to me at least. For all his accomplishments he seems to have no sense of superiority or egotism. Rather he's humble and genuine and just so damn funny. It's joie de vivre really. Anyway, I love his companion memoirs and ...more
Katie
Why should you read this book? Because Richard P. Feynman won a Nobel Prize in physics and you haven’t, kiddo, that’s why. Ok, now we’ve got that out of the way and we can talk about Feynman’s ego, which will take the rest of this space, and possibly the rest of Goodreads’ bandwidth.

Actually, I really enjoyed Feynman’s memoir. The first part recalls his education as a scientist, mostly recalling his father, his first wife, and his school friends. This is highly recommended for anyone with the re
...more
Bojan Tunguz
Richard Feynman is one of the most famous twentieth century Physicists. He is one of those rare scientists who have managed to go beyond the success in the narrow confines of his field of research and become a public celebrity. A big part of this success comes from his persona which combined incredible brilliance with the irreverent and down-to-earth attitude to most problems in life, be they "big" ones like working on the atomic bomb, or the everyday ones that almost all of us are familiar with ...more
Kathleen
Feynman was a great story teller, but not necessarily a great writer which is unfortunate. I could have loved this book--I did love this book--but the writing drew me out at points. For instance, the tense confusion irritates me sometimes while I read this book. Still, the stories are absolutely worth it.

The latter half of the book is given to Feynman's participation in the Challenger Investigation and it is truly fascinating. His style of investigating--asking very simple questions and pointin
...more
Danna
Hooray for serendipity! A random choice of audio-book for the daily commute has resulted in an exceptional experience. Definitely not necessary to have read the first book "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! Adventures of a Curious Character" though I'm going to look for that next. I highly recommend this to everyone, and found the audio version to be a special treat. I don't think I would have enjoyed it quite so much if I'd read it silently; it's meant to be a conversation, and lovely to exper ...more
mirela Darau
At the end of it, I find it one of the most curious books I ever read. It starts you up with Feynman's youth and bits of childhood - all very witty and humorous tales, so I was expecting it to continue this way (I love his colloquial way of writing and his straightforwardness in life!!).
But, no, there are some letters - in my first opinion - of nothing special, telling about how he missed there and there, and how he thought of the queen of Belgium (?) and who knows who :)
And then comes the Cha
...more
Charles
Not sure how this ended up on my bookshelf at school, but I'm sure glad I picked it up on a whim. It was a quick read, and I learned very much.

I started with the second half -- Feynman's narrative of his investigation into the Challenger space shuttle explosion. Much to my relief, his explanation never got too technical for me. Having several good friends who work for NASA, I found myself relating to his anecdotes about the dangers of bureaucracy. I enjoyed the investigation, imagining Feynman
...more
Sriram
Further adventures of a curious character. The book starts of with Feynman's relationship with his first wife. This part seems more like a typical love-story. Then it moves onto random events here and there in his life. Finally the most interesting stuff seems to be the part where Feynman goes to Washington investigating the Challenger space shuttle crash. Shows how a management which wants to just be sweet with other people may ruin the whole process. (view spoiler) ...more
Joe
Feb 26, 2008 Joe rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: dorks, dweebs, nerds, anyone with even a cursory appreciation for knowledge and discovery
Shelves: physics
I promised myself that i would review this book without comparing it to Surely You're Joking, the seminal work of a curious character. So here goes...

What Do You Care was pretty good but there was a lot of focus on the Challenger explosion, perhaps more than someone looking for a light, charming read could bear.

I found myself really enjoying the stories due to my adoration for this man I was never fortunate enough to meet, but I felt that the book (while only a memoir of sorts) didn't explore Fe
...more
Jess
Someone recommended "Surely You're Joking, Mister Feynman" to a Facebook friend of mine and now I can't stop being sad that Feynman died before I had a chance to stalk him obsessively and try to meet him by pretending to understand what the hell he's talking about in all the scientific parts of his books. My one sad claim is that I dated a guy who graduated from the college where Feynman taught. Over a decade after Professor Feynman died, but still...

I'd recommend starting with the title I menti
...more
Garreth Heidt
Like many here, I read this book and longed to have met the man. I've read almost all of his other works, but this was my first introduction to him, and while I might agree there's more in the first set of memoirs (Surely...), this volume reveals much more about Richard Feynman as a real human being instead of as a Nobel Prize winner. For me, that's the kicker.

The second section, about the Challenger commission, is also fascinating if only because Feynman so clearly plays up his role as a dick
...more
Zaphoddent
Oh the ego!!! Thankfully, there are less lordly accounts of the Challenger disaster investigation. The implication that no one else would have solved the problem (which he admits he did not actually solve) is galling!

Ignoring the accounts of the investigation, what this really boils down to is: he’d been told one too many times that he was quirkily funny and he started to believe the hype. For me, given the level of his genius, such gullibility is a little bit pathetic. The stories were just ok
...more
Mike
Feb 21, 2010 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
More by the Laughing Physicist. (Okay, I suspect no one ever coined that phrase about Feynman, but they could have!)

Why did I give this one a four stars instead of five like the first volume? It wasn't because the book is any less entertaining, that's for certain. Simply put, the first volume/book had such an impact when I read it that I just had to put it at five stars. Had I read them in reverse order then this is the volume that would be scored a five. (That's symmetry for you - a topic cover
...more
Melody
This audio CD of Feynman's second collection of autobiographical bits is a lot of fun to listen to. The part about the President's Commission on the Challenger Shuttle disaster was very powerful and wryly funny. Feynman was such a scientist, so intent of finding things out that he simply ignored the conventions, if he was even aware of them, and his wide-eyed, naive search for answers was always a delight. The only part of this book I didn't like is the appendix- which was the entire Feynman rep ...more
Anton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nichole
Sep 05, 2013 Nichole rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nichole by: J
Funny, light-hearted and surprisingly relatable, this book is filled with Richard Feynman's personal musings and anecdotes; each page overflowing with his curious and down-to-earth personality. The best part of this book however, is the elementary way he shares his experience on the Rogers Commission for the space shuttle Challenger disaster. It chronicles his approach to searching for the answers to his often simple questions, all the while without caring much for what other people will think. ...more
Rohan
I have to confess I never followed Richard Feynman's work and had no clue about his achievements until a month back and I was pondering all this while why his books were so popular and highly rated. So as soon as I finished this book, the first thought that came to my mind is: this guy even though a Physicist is not a bad writer. His observations of minor things and his thought process has been very nicely presented in this book. No doubt in my mind that the next few months will be spent on cove ...more
Jeff Yoak
I really love reading the Feynman books. They always inspire me to want to be a better person. I did find that this one was a little slow for me in the second part this time. Already knowing the story of Feynman's involvement in the Challenger investigation, it doesn't make for amazing re-reading in the way that Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! Adventures of a Curious Character does.

Jeff Rudisel
Top notch stuff.
A delight.
Ann
I read this book because I wanted to know about Feynman's investigation into the Space Shuttle disaster. And I was somewhat disappointed :

- it turns out that he had not identified the O-rings as being the cause of the fire; it had been suggested to him by another member of the commission, who in turn had heard it from a NASA whistleblower who wished to remain anonymous

- I think the naivete act was a little overdone. Richard Feynman found out that in a big corporation, management doesn't listen t
...more
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1429989
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
More about Richard P. Feynman...
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics By Its Most Brilliant Teacher QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman The Feynman Lectures on Physics

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“Why make yourself miserable saying things like, "Why do we have such bad luck? What has God done to us? What have we done to deserve this?" - all of which, if you understand reality and take it completely into your heart, are irrelevant and unsolvable. They are just things that nobody can know. Your situation is just an accident of life.” 22 likes
“We have been led to imagine all sorts of things infinitely more marvelous than the imagining of poets and dreamers of the past. It shows that the imagination of nature is far, far greater than the imagination of man. For instance, how much more remarkable it is for us all to be stuck-half of us upside down-by a mysterious attraction, to a spinning ball that has been swinging in space for billions of years, than to be carried on the back of an elephant supported on a tortoise swimming in a bottomless sea.” 13 likes
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