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

by Richard P. Feynman, Ralph Leighton


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The New York Times best-selling sequel to "Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!"

Like the "funny, brilliant, bawdy" (The New Yorker) "Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!" this book’s many stories—some funny, others intensely moving—display Richard P. Feynman’s unquenchable thirst for adventure and unparalleled ability to recount important moments from his life.

Here 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 on the atomic bomb at nearby Los Alamos. We listen to the fascinating narrative of the investigation into the space shuttle Challenger’s explosion in 1986 and relive the moment when Feynman revealed the disaster’s cause through an elegant experiment: dropping a ring of rubber into a glass of cold water and pulling it out, misshapen. In "What Do You Care What Other People Think?" one of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century lets us see the man behind the genius.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393355642
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/06/2018
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 248,300
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Richard P. Feynman (1918–1988) was a professor at Cornell University and CalTech and received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1965. In 1986 he served with distinction on the Rogers Commission investigating the space shuttle Challenger disaster.

Ralph Leighton lives in northern California.

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What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
TheMadTurtle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A good friend of mine turned me onto Feynman a couple of years ago with "Surely You Must Be Joking". I just finished this one over the New Year holiday. It's a great book!I love Feynman and I love both of the two books I've read. The only thing keeping this from being a 5 star book, in my opinion, is that I could swear some of the material in this book was also contained in "Surely You Must Be Joking". I could be wrong about that, though. They could simply be additional stories taken from the same time-frame in Feynman's life. The first half of this book, however, seemed to be either the same or very similar as the other book. With so many Feynman books on the shelves today, I wonder if this isn't a problem with many of the others as well.The second half of this book is what really blew me away. For the most part, the second half of this book deals with Feynman's role researching the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Feynman's insights into beauracracy and the analogies to corporate America are spot on. And with the 20th anniversary of the disaster almost upon us, the material seemed somewhat timely as well.
rondoctor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent abridgement of the larger book "Classic Feynman".
claude_lambert on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
All the scientists I know are fond of Feynman's books. I think it is because we recognize ourselves in the enthusiasm and curiosity he has for science - and for anything in nature. The 2 books ("Surely, you're joking, Mr Feynman" and "What do you care what other people think") are collections of stories told by Richard Feynman and collected by his friend Ralph Leighton. There is no science in these books, just stories told with an inimitable sense of humor and sense of style. At the same time, these stories are unique: they tell you how a scientist thinks. I tagged "What do you care.." as a "life changing book" for two reasons. First, it does encourage you to do things your own way. Second, it shows a way out when you are prisoner of a system. Feynman became a member of a commission in charge of discovering the reasons of the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle in 1986. As usual, there was the official aim (find the cause) and the political view (let us support NASA); this happens in science more than you would imagine. You find yourself in committees that are supposed to do one thing, but in fact do something else. It can be very frustrating. Feynman found a way to do what he thought was right. You got to read this: it tells you how you can win against all odds.
xmaystarx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Love this guy! Read this one for a class now I need to re-read for fun.
tpi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not anywhere as good as the first part. About half of the book concerns shutle accident, and large parts of that os fairly boring. Also, there are a lot of Feynman's letters which are only of a minor interest - at least for me.
Lady_Lazarus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I expected this to be about science and scientific way of thinking from a personal view-point offered by Feynman, but I was disapponted. Most of the stories are about his travels to scientific meetings and the situations he faces there- which vaguely touch the world of physics - and bureaucracy he has to confront - nothing wrong with someone questioning it, but it shouldn't be the whole point.
Steve55 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having read James Gleick¿s book `Genius¿ I¿d discovered the fascinating work and life of Richard Feynman and was keen to learn more. This is the second of two books Feynman wrote. I happened to come across this book first and perhaps I¿ve read them in the wrong order, no matter.The book is autobiographical, but in a typical spirit of nonconformity is not a biography. Rather it is a collection of anecdotes written about episodes in Feynman's life. The first half of the book is a selection of these short stories, in no particular order, each describing in a matter of fact fashion an aspect of Feynman¿s life. Each as a side effect provides an insight to his thinking and attitude to life and learning. Clearly this material was a key resource for James Gleick¿s work and I had the feeling that these were stories which didn¿t find their way into Feynman¿s previous book `Surely You¿re Joking Mr Feynman¿. As a consequence Gleick¿s book provides a more rounded and complete picture which ties these snippets together. However Feynman¿s book has more to offer. The second half of the book has a detailed account of the work on investigating the cause of the Challenger Shuttle disaster. This description will be of interest to anyone who wants to find out the technical details of just what went wrong, but more interestingly has some fascinating insights into the afflictions that can infect the thinking of large organisations. In the case of NASA this led to mistaken understanding of safety and risk, which when compounded by poor communication between management and staff created a widespread blind spot, which extended well outside NASA, about the challenge and dangers of space flight. There are lessons here for any organisation, which even if they don¿t surface as safety issues, will undoubtedly have impacts in some aspect of the organisation¿s performance.For example a story which sticks in my mind involves the reusable solid rocket boosters, which were at the root of the disaster. After each flight these would fall into the sea, be retrieved and refurbished for reuse. These rockets were 12 feet across and built in several tubular sections each around 40 feet long which had to be placed on top of each other and bolted together using 180 bolts. It was found that in joining these sections, quite naturally given their use, the sections would not be perfectly circular. On occasion this called for the use of a giant press which would squeeze the section to shape across a diameter that was oversize. To do this the workers had to ensure that the press was applied directly 180 degrees across the diameter. They would do this by counting 90 of the 180 holes holes used to join the sections together. With such a large structure, this meant a fair amount of climbing and there was the possibility of mistakes by miscounting and subsequent damage to the rocket. The workers came up with a solution - apply paint marks to four of the holes, each at 90 degree spacing. Now instead of having to count 90 holes, you simply have to count to and from the nearest paint mark to ensure the holes you select are 180 degrees apart. The probability of a mistake is dramatically reduced.Feynman goes on to describe his incredulity at this solution being rejected by management as being too expensive! He learns however that it¿s not the cost of the paint, but the cost of changing the manuals that describe the procedures, that prevents this improvement.I fear that there are many organisations where these penalties of getting better make their management systems a ball and chain for the organisation.On a personal note, I¿ve left the best bit of the book until last, appropriately because it is the last nine pages. Here is reproduced a public address given in 1955 to the National Academy of Sciences titled `The Value of Science¿. Feynman gives a brilliant description of the absolute and essential role of exploration in creating advance, and the fact that non-scientists have little c
JeffV on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Richard Feynman was quite the character in the world of 20th century physics. A graduate of Cornell, he won a Nobel Prize for his work in quantum electrodynamics. His career included development of the atomic bomb at Los Alamos; and late in life, he was on the investigative committee determining the cause of the space shuttle Challenger disaster. It was his work on that committee that comprises the bulk of this book, which is comprised of memoirs, some written shortly before his death by cancer in 1988.Other parts of the book tell us more about Feynman as a person. He married his first wife, knowing she had incurable tuberculosis, and never was able to even kiss her. He talks some about adventures taken with his second wife, including visiting a remote inn in Japan where he had to convince the family that ran it to allow them to stay. Such stories help show us that Feynman lived a good life -- he was more than just a dedicated scientist and engineer. His investigation and report of the Challenger disaster was the most prominent portion of the book. In the course of the investigation, he finds politically-motivated negligence, but also gives kudos to the engineers who tried to warn of problems prior to the launch. The most telling statistic was the administrators pinned the chance of catastrophe at 1/100,000; while the data presented by the engineers was at a more reasonable 1/100. Better still, the book was well-written in layman's terms; even when Feynman spoke of material properties, he did so in a manner understandable by all.
lilygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has the smallest sliver of a sense of humor. I found myself frequently laughing out loud and thoroughly enjoying his quirky humor and insights into human behaviors.
ashishg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sequel to Surely You're Joking, this book is trifle more serious in tone than previous, but gives more insight into his methods and approaches to work. Also more information about his personal life is provided.
pbirch01 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Billed as the sequel to "Surely You Must be Joking Mr. Feynman", "What Do you Care..." ends up being more like the leftover scraps slapped together in a book form rather than a bona fide sequel. In "Surely...", we were introduced to Richard Feynman, a "Curious Character" who was both curious about physics and a curiously unique man who had many different kinds of adventures. The first hundred or so pages of this book brings us back to that character with stories that are entertaining but not quite as incredible as the stories from "Surely...". The last 150+ pages deal with Feynman's role on the commission investigating the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. These chapters turned a lighthearted and breezy read into a morose and gloomy mood. In addition to the somber nature of the Commission, the technical detail of the chapters as well as the actual report of Feynman cause the book to drag. In short, Feynman is an interesting character who was both intelligent and funny. I highly recommend reading more about him but this is not the best book to learn more about this Curious Character.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.)
TaraMadisonHinkel More than 1 year ago
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.
MikePalmIsland1989 More than 1 year ago
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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Tunguz More than 1 year ago
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.