What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character

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Overview

The New York Times best-selling sequel to "Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!"
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 moving—we meet Feynman’s first ...

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Overview

The New York Times best-selling sequel to "Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!"
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 moving—we meet Feynman’s first wife, Arlene, who taught him of love’s irreducible mystery as she lay dying in a hospital bed while he worked nearby on the atomic bomb at Los Alamos. We are also given a fascinating narrative of the investigation of the space shuttle Challenger’s explosion in 1986, and we relive the moment when Feynman revealed the disaster’s cause by an elegant experiment: dropping a ring of rubber into a glass of cold water and pulling it out, misshapen.

This companion volume to "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman" includes a remarkable behind the scenes account of the space shuttle Challenger investigation.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
Feynman’s voice echoes raw and direct through these pages.— James Gleick
James Gleick - The New York Times Book Review
“Feynman’s voice echoes raw and direct through these pages.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Roughly half of these 21 short, colloquial essays deal with Feynman's firsthand investigaton of the Challenger space-shuttle disaster. He casts himself in the role of intrepid detective, and the first-person singular pronoun keeps intruding on the worthwhile things he has to say about flight safety and lack of communication within NASA. An appendix offers his chilling technical observations on the shuttle's reliability or lack of it. The remaining pieces are mostly a blur of international conferences, purveying slight anecdotes. But two essays touch genuine depths of feeling: his tribute to his father, who taught him to cultivate a sense of wonder, and his account of his love affair with his first wife who died. In this posthumous miscellany, theoretical physicist Feynman displays only sporadically the adventurousness that captivated readers of Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman. October
Library Journal
Following the success of the late Nobel laureate's first commercial book, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman 1984, this second was perhaps an inevitability. The book has problems, but it is worthwhile nonetheless. In general, the new anecdotes lack the wit, novelty, and outrageousness of those in the earlier work. The book's second half is the high point; it is topical, entertaining, and illuminating, and telells of Feynman's work on the Rogers Commission, which investigated the Challenger space shuttle disaster. Readers who bypass the first part, which is rife with unconnected tales, will be happy to find this in their libraries. Gregg Sapp, Idaho State Univ. Lib., Boise
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393320923
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 248,973
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard P. Feynman was born in 1918 and grew up in Far Rockaway, New York. At the age of seventeen he entered MIT and in 1939 went to Princeton, then to Los Alamos, where he joined in the effort to build the atomic bomb. Following World War II he joined the physics faculty at Cornell, then went on to Caltech in 1951, where he taught until his death in 1988. He shared the Nobel Prize for physics in 1965, and served with distinction on the Shuttle Commission in 1986. A commemorative stamp in his name was issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 2005.

Ralph Leighton, Richard Feynman's great friend and collaborator, now lives in northern California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2011

    Anyone wanting to understand why the Challenger exploded in 1986 should read this!

    Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, died in 1988.

    Two years prior to his death, he served on the Rogers Commission which investigated the Challenger explosion that killed seven people including civilian Christa McAuliffe. He refused to allow it to be a whitewash. Having received a tip about the temperature on January 28th, 1986, he determined the O-rings failed since the rubber would not maintain its shape at low temperatures.

    He demonstrated the failure of the rubber at a press conference by taking some of the rubber used for the O-rings and placing it in ice water which is 32 F of course. It came out misshapen.

    He conducted a personal investigation separate from the rest of the commission. He also fought with the commission when he wrote an individual assessment of the program. Unless it was included in the report, he refused to sign on the report.

    His experiences with the Rogers Commission along with the censors who would read incoming and outgoing mail at Los Alamos in included in this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2014

    Overall, this book is really different compared to the typical b

    Overall, this book is really different compared to the typical books a teen would read. In all honesty, I wouldn't recommend that you read this if you do not have any interest in the Challenger Disaster. In contrast to his first book, "Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! Adventures of a Curious Character" this book for the most part revolves around the Challenger Disaster (as previously stated). Regardless, this book is still a great read if you love a writer with a sense of humor. Feynman's writing style is witty, and he just doesn't really care about speaking what's on his mind. His writing style is similar to Suzanne Collin's (Hunger Games Trilogy author). Although Collins speaks through the use a character, Feynman is his own character. Both capture what is inside the character’s minds, giving the reader a deeper understanding of the story as a whole. If you’re a fan of the way The Hunger Games was written, you’ll definitely enjoy this book. Feynman also includes some very moving stories, as well as some funny ones. Giving that this is a compilation book, it is very well written in the sense that all the stories thread together and flow nicely to create a big picture at the end. By the end of the book, you’ll feel like you really knew Feynman, and you were with him every step of the way! All in all, I strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in space and NASA, or to someone with a similar sense of humor and personality to Feynman!   -Cat D. 1st

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2014

    I liked how the author split the book up into two different part

    I liked how the author split the book up into two different parts. The shift from his young life as a widower to working to solve the Challenger explosion really intrigued me. This was a really good book for a 10th grade research project. The material was very easy to read and easy to get information out of
    Madison Ulman

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2014

    I really liked this book. It was well written and nicely put tog

    I really liked this book. It was well written and nicely put together. He is very funny and a good writer. Overall good experience with the book. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2014

    Reading the novel by Richard Feynman, a famous physicist, was pr

    Reading the novel by Richard Feynman, a famous physicist, was pretty interesting. As a 10th grade student, it was different from reading the books i usually read. I got to see into Feynman's life, and how he got to overcome some of his challenges in life. In the end, i got to read how he came to the conclusion of how the Challenger got destroyed. It was a decent read. (April B.)

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  • Posted April 15, 2014

    I started off reading this novel suspecting it would be unintere

    I started off reading this novel suspecting it would be uninteresting and only educational. I turned out to be wrong about the boring aspect, however it was quite informing. I enjoyed the book however the narrater was quite annoying. The writing style is quite nice because it is in first person and it is like he is telling a story, not just stating facts. It is nice how this book made me the reader interested in topics I never thought about previously.  My favorite part is when he talks about his dad and the bird. I however did not enjoy all the complaining and how full of himself the author was. That is why I gave this book three out of five stars because the authors attitude. To be honest I picked the book out because of the title and had not a big idea of what it would be about. The only mention related to the title was the chapter that contained the same heading. It should have been named something else so people know what it really is about. It had nothing really to do with the title because it mainly was about the challenger. My favorite part of the book was the childhood part and the romance between him and his wife. However after the second section started it was all about him and he was quite full of himself. He always was bias towards others and thought he was always the best. He would often down what other people had to say and during the book it got quite annoying. That is why I did not enjoy the book in the end. It captured my attention in the beginning but he ruined it with his boasting about himself. If I knew that he would do that I would not have read this book. I would not recommend this book to the average person but to someone who loves science and can ignore his terrible personality.

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  • Posted December 13, 2013

    Highly recommended

    I purchased this after watching the TV movie about the Challenger disaster. I was surprised to find that Dr. Feynman is a very enjoyable author. I will be reading more of his books and I'm sorry he's no longer with us.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2011

    This is Feynman.

    Overall a good book. This book is mostly about Feynman's role in the investigation of the Challenger explosion. This shouldn't be your first Feynman book but if you're familiar with Dick, you should read this.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Feynman's last musings

    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. It's the latter ones and his quirky and unorthodox approach to them that made Feynman endearing to the general public.

    His earlier book "Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman" was a classic and an inspiration to generations of young scientists who were shown that you can have lots of fun while pursuing a life in science. I myself had read it in single sitting, and had completely been mesmerized by Feynman's wit and irreverent attitude. "What Do You Care What Other People Think" is a further collection of stories and anecdotes from his life. Some of these had been told by others over the years, but in this book they all come together in a single volume as told by Feynman himself. Some of the events and stories presented come from the last few years of his life, and it is hard not to feel the poignancy of the fact that these were some of his last thoughts on subjects and situations that he cared about.

    Almost half of the book is dedicated to the investigation of the Challenger disaster. Feynman was on the presidential commission that investigated that disaster, and here we get a full insight into what had been going on during commission's session. Many reports have made it seem that Feynman had single handedly figured out the true cause of the disaster - the faulty o-rings that were not meant to be used in really low temperatures. In this book he sets the record straight and explains that although he was the public face that brought attention to the o-rings, there had been many people behind the scenes who had suspected a problem with them for quite a while. This part of the book is also a very useful and revealing glimpse into the workings of a big governmental and scientific agency like NASA.

    The book concludes with few musings on the responsibility of science for social problems. In these musings Feynman turns uncharacteristically philosophical, even almost spiritual. He might not have been the most sophisticated thinkers in these matters, but his instincts were very acute and well worth listening to.

    All of those who appreciate Feynman's work and brilliance will be grateful for this honest and easy-going narrative. It is also hard not to think that with Feynman's passing a whole era of Physics had come to an end. Those of us who think that somewhere along the way theoretical Physics had lost its way and had become a caricature of its former self, may wonder if all of that could have been avoided had Feynman lived for another ten years or so. We'll just never really know.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

    Review

    Richard Feynman truly put his all into this novel, "What Do You Care What Other People Think". Starting off on a personal level, Mr. Feynman takes the readers into his life as a hard working man. He did everything he could to stay to the side of his first wife, Arlene. He gives us a look into his job working on the atomic bomb. Moving on, Mr. Feynman takes his readers into his next job, working on the investigation of the Challenger's explosion. His intelligence level and sense of hard work makes it inspiring to others. He put 100% into that investigation. Mr. Feynman put his message forth and did whatever he could to prove it correct. He met and worked with some amazing people that are role models to many others. His love for what he does on a daily basis comes out of the pages when you read the novel. Mr. Feynman is truly an inspiration to the young audience. He gives proof that we could do whatever we are passionate about. As a young student, this was very inspiring. Mr. Feynman was a great physicist, but also an outstanding writer. "What Do You Care What Other People Think" deserves all the best.

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  • Posted February 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    What do I care what you think?

    Richard Feynman has lived his whole life following one ideal: not caring what others might say about him. Feynman recalls his previous endeavors in life such as growing up with his wife Arlene and the investigation of the Challenger's explosion. In his examination of the explosion, Feynman has trouble using the methods provided by the committee. Feynman utilizes his own methods, disregarding others' opinions, and is the only one who finds substantial information on the tragedy of the shuttle launch. Mr. Feynman did a terrific job of sending the message that no one can dictate your life, except yourself. The mystery was solved through Feynman's deductive reasoning instead of the Washington-media route, which involved endless public meetings and no actual work was accomplished. As a future engineer, I was quite entertained by the way Feynman applied his knowledge to the real world. I recommend that anyone else who enjoys logical reasoning to solve problems will not be able to put this book down. The only setback was the skipping around on the time-line. Mr. Feynman often jumped around, which introduced new people who were unknown to the audience. Halfway through, the read became smoother and stuck to one subject. I strongly recommend reading Feynman's first book "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" to get a full grasp of his adventurous life. Overall I believe his life story deserves a strong applause for its moral and attention grabbing ideas. "What Do You Care What Other People Think? : Further Adventures of a Curious Character" is worthy of a 5-star review .

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    Posted August 2, 2011

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