"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" : Adventures of a Curious Character as Told to Ralph Leighton, Paperback

"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" : Adventures of a Curious Character as Told to Ralph Leighton Paperback

4 out of 5 (4 ratings)


Winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965, Richard Feynman was one of the world's greatest theoretical physicists, but he was also a man who fell, often jumped, into adventure.

An artist, safecracker, practical joker and storyteller, Feynman's life was a series of combustible combinations made possible by his unique mixture of high intelligence, unquenchable curiosity and eternal scepticism.

Over a period of years, Feynman's conversations with his friend Ralph Leighton were first taped and then set down as they appear here, little changed from their spoken form, giving a wise, funny, passionate and totally honest self-portrait of one of the greatest men of our age.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Autobiography: general
  • ISBN: 9780099173311



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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

This guy has reached the highest accolades of scientific achievement but all the time managed to maintain his feet on the ground. Sometimes he almost reminds me of the hero in "The curious incident of the dog in the night-time". He is very, very bright, insatiably curious and yet, at the same time, incredibly naive and unknowing.This gets him into lots of scrapes and adventures from which he always emerges wiser and with his own special brand of moral integrity fully intact.We get behind the scene glimpses of the Manhattan project and his major contributions to science in a very special person to person view. Inspiration to squeeze everything you can out of life.I loved this book.

Review by

And no, he isn't.When you think of a Noble Prize winning Physicist you would be forgiven for picturing a rather dry and crusty, tweed wearing character. But how wrong you would be when it comes to the marvel that was and is Richard P Feynman.Feynman was part of The Manhattan Project and many other 'discoveries' that changed the world of physics. But this collection of stories, edited in a somewhat random fashion, have little to nothing to do with the physics. The book is a collection of anecdotes that chronicle aspects of the great mans life and I can't overstate what an interesting and entertaining read they are. Don't be put off by his stature in the world of science, this is a wonderful read for anyone; and I mean anyone.From his safe cracking, art shows, appearances as a drummer in Brazil and as a musician for a ballet To his mixing with profession gamblers in Las Vegas and frequenting of 'Gentlemens Clubs'. The extremely strange to the out right hilarious and outrageous, this man has obviously lived a life that would put the rest of us to shame.And what a read / ride it is.

Review by

A collection of anecdotes from Richard Feynman; gives some interesting incidents from his youth, which I found strangely familiar - hooking up burglar alarms to his bedroom door, setting fire to things, playing with magnets etc. Whilst coming across in places as trying a little too hard to be a quirky misfit, on the whole this is an interesting set of recollections from one of the more prominent post-war physicists.

Review by

Sort of autobiogrpahy of the life of the famous physicist. Doesn't actually contain much science at all, mostly it s justa series of tales of what he was doing besides science throughout his life. It is an intersting cultural snapshot of life in the US through the mid 1900s.Richard had a curiosu mind, honest and straightforward. He didn't really give a damm about anyone else's feelings. Understanding the world around was key, vital and people didn't need to get precious about it. He'd happily admit he was wrong if that ever happened. He frequently comments on how he didn't understand something straightaway, and how he often felt a fake when offered or promoted positions of responsability. If Feynman feels that way I'm sure us ordinary people can cope with little doubt!There are some great scenes surrounding the Atomic bomb Manhatten project. ANd his frequent irritation with all the attention his Nobel Prize got him. I would have liked a nit more detail on the science behind that as it was barely mentioned. I could have coped with a lot more science in general. But this is the popular face of Feynmen. Living and free thinking - logically thinking through and understanding everything around him. I'm sure modern feminists will be outraged at his attitude to women - he goes on great quests to try and understand their behavior, just looking for ways to have sex. I read it as commentary on the times as they were then. There is no explanation from Feynman, no attempt to cast historical cultures in todays lights. A lot of the set-up for formal dances, introductions etc, seems very odd now. It was the changing of cultures from the old way to the more current interactions. I don't think Feynman himself thought women were in anyway inferior, it certainly didn't come across that way. But there are few instances of him dealing with them at a professional level.At times it is very funny. But ther eis little personal emotion in it. He describes making time to visit his terminally ill wife, briefly, amd after that there are just names he associates with rather than the depth of emotion that must have been there. I did feel that this was a censored public account of his life, and that there were far more riotious stories that could have been told! It was interesting reading - how someone so intelligent looks at the world and is just another guy most of the time.