Erin Rogers's Reviews > Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard P. Feynman
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Nov 12, 11

bookshelves: autobiography
Read in November, 2011

Even if you’ve never heard of the Nobel-prize winning physicist Richard Feynman, you have absolutely heard of his work: The Manhattan Project. Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman an autobiography that reads like a collection of short stories. Each chapter is a different anecdote from the incredibly influential life of Dick Feynman. What I found most interesting about this book is that “the bomb” is the central theme of only ONE of these chapters, and even then, it plays second fiddle to the recounting of Mr. Feynman’s propensity to crack the safes of his colleagues (we’re talking J. Robert Oppenheimer and Niels Bohr here for Pete’s sake!) and playing traditional Native American Indian drums in the wilderness of Los Alamos. He is a perpetually interesting and interested character, always seeking out new experiences and searching for authentic and true knowledge and understanding. The autobiography relates stories about picking up show girls in Las Vegas, lecturing to Einstein, and dabbling in Mayan ruins. Mr. Feynman is a scientist and a jokester. He’s witty, brilliant, and completely unimpressed with those he calls, “pompous fools”. It was a hoot to read a story about a true intellectual and the mischief he couldn’t help but cause.

My main critique is that the prose is a bit clunky at times. However, as one who finds herself intimately connected to a science-minded individual, I felt oddly comforted with the lack of frivolous language and thinking, “I bet this is just how Mr. Feynman talks to his wife (infinite tangents included!) when they sit down to dinner.” And I very much enjoyed being part of the conversation in this book.
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