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Summary

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out is a magnificent treasury of the best short works of Richard P. Feynman, from interviews and speeches to lectures and printed articles. A sweeping, wide-ranging collection, it presents an intimate and fascinating view of a life in science - a life like no other. From his ruminations on science in our culture to his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, this book will delight anyone interested in the world of ideas.

"From the irregular trivia of ordinary life mixed with a bit of scientific doodling and failure to the intense dramatic concentration as one closes in on the truth and the final elation (plus, with gradually decreasing frequency, the sudden sharp pangs of doubt) - that is how science is done." (Richard P. Feynman to James D. Watson)

©1999 Michelle Feynman and Carl Feynman (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

"The most original mind of his generation." (Freeman Dyson, renowned theoretical physicist and mathematician)
"A sparkling collection." ( Wall Street Journal)
"Feynman’s distinctive voice rings out in this book…Feynman is both interesting and quotable." ( Scientific American)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

All you want to hear is already in the first book.

Not worth listening if you have already gone through "Surely you're joking...". and if not listen that instead. A lot of repetition and new material is not anything special.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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How children should be raised

What made the experience of listening to The Pleasure of Finding Things Out the most enjoyable?

Inspiring and vivid stories, full of insights into life, human behaviour, raising children, and nature...

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Pleasure of Finding Things Out?

Melville Feynman's deep understanding of inertia, and the way he explained it to his son

What does Sean Runnette bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Colour

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The story about Arlene.

Any additional comments?

There is some overlap with other books, such as 'What do you care what other people think?'

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Classic short works by Feynman

The great physicist Richard Feynman tells many stories here including the legendary battle with the censors of Los Alamos, his research into safebreaking and many others.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

very challenging but enjoyable

Loved the intelligence and narrative style. Makes characters come alive and yells the story of theoretical Physics. Hardest part is Feynemann's misogynistic outlook. Just shows that even the greatest intellects and storytellers are prone to accept values and beliefs that have no basis in fact. Don't let this spoil the book for you. It's worth every minute.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Old. Out dated. With some sparks of insights

Don’t expect epiphanies. There is some interesting thoughts and stories about his father. Most the stories are written 40 years ago so it’s outdated, not only technically but also socially. Shockingly outdated are expressions about the “female mind”. Valuable are the opinion on education and scientific methods. This book might be interesting to someone that will be a father/mother, though she/he would have to skim out a bit of tech-memorabilia.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A fair insight into Feynman but a poor adaptation

This collection of talks, interviews and articles does a fair job of giving insight into the inner working of Feynman's mind.

It's obvious from these works that Feynman had a great talent for science, however it also shines a small light into the other parts of his personality, not always flattering and I wish this small light had a greater intensity. An undertone of jarring sexism pervades throughout, with numerous mentions of "great men", with an unexpected mention of how he thought women's mind incapable of analytical thought… shocker. The book only touches lightly on his ethics, whereby he acknowledged that the people (he'll say men, but they weren't just men) working on the Manhattan Project (developing the atomic bomb) could have stopped what they were doing once Hitler was defeated, but didn't because they didn't stop to think. He failed to really acknowledge any responsibility for that project in bringing about the nuclear world we now live in, or to really explore the topic, which would have been interesting.

Despite a lecture given on Galileo's birthday extolling the thought process Galileo had put in place, I found Feynman could not help but revel in the authorities of his age, these "great men", very aristotelian.

There is a little repetition within the book, but only because a few of the essays, lectures and interviews have a little crossover in their subject areas. I found this helped to remember some of the stories, personally, and so it didn't bother me, ok. (Tee hee – classic Feynman sentence ending right there.)

On the adaptation itself – I found it came up short. Some audiobook production companies seem to think adapting a book to audiobook is merely asking someone to read the book out loud, and if this were the case I would say Sean Runnette does a good job. However, having the same person reading an interview between two people fell flat. Some of it may have been the adaptation of the source material itself, but having someone repeat Feynman's word saying so-and-so "was so high", I knew Feynman would have been demonstrating just how high it was… a decent adaptation would have interjected with a description. As it was, it meant I had no idea what he was talking about in that moment.

It is popular in today's society to hold these scientists up on a pedestal to extoll their greatness, as if they had a hand in it themselves. From what I understand, Feynman did great science using the talents he was fortunate enough to be born with. In other aspects of his life he seems to me to be as flawed as the rest of us.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An insightful and fascinating view of the man.

What to expect from the collected short works of a Nobel Prize winner and collaborator with the greatest minds of his generation in the manhattan project? Well, something different to what I expected at least. You get a sense of the boy, his relationship with his father, his sense of mischief, his appropriate lack of deference to pretty much any established authority or received wisdom and an absolute commitment to the discipline and higher value of scientific method. A fascinating listen that has left me thinking, and personally that is what I want from a book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Delightful insight into a brilliant mind

This book is a collection of interviews and talks by Feynman. These talks give an insight into the brilliant mind of one of the 20th century’s most notable scientists.

Feynman was irreverent, playful, curious, and honest. A great role model for any curious person!

The talks are well curated and organised, and the narration is very close to Feynman’s own communication style...okay?

An enjoyable listen while out walking.

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brilliant

various topics that would enrich anyone's world view. Definitely worth your time. ps this is just a collection of unrelated talks

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    5 out of 5 stars

Definitely worth reeding

What did you like most about The Pleasure of Finding Things Out?

It is a very funny book about a life of famous Nobel prize winner.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ashton F.
  • 06-06-15

Narrator even sounds like Feynman!

What a great and interesting man! This audiobook captures his essence and personality. It's filled with interesting stories and thought-provoking Passages.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Erlend
  • 06-04-16

Interesting, but material is covered in better book.

This is basically "surely you'r joking mr feynman", but not so much stitched together. Buy the other one instead.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mattias Tammet
  • 17-11-15

You will have heard some of it already

There's a lot of overlap between the stories, so it feels unedited. Other than that, the usual fare for Feynman - funny and insightful. Lovely voice performance as well.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • UniquePerspective
  • 08-03-16

surely you're joking

I think Surely you're joking Mr Feynman is a much better read. If you have read that book then this book will have some duplication in stories.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Darwin8u
  • 04-06-16

Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool."
― Richard Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

It is hard to not love Feynman. You can love his as a scientist, as a man, as a genius, as a teacher, as an iconoclast. He is the real deal. 'The Pleasure of Finding Things Out' is a series of 13 speeches, articles, essays, interviews by or with Richard Feynman. These are guilty pleasure reads for people who adore those great physicists of the early 2oth centuries who were lucky AND brilliant enough to be physicists when physics jumped from classical to quantum. These guys were amazing. Feynman wasn't among the first wave of theoretical physicists to dance in the quantum space, but he was a huge member of the second wave.

The thing that makes Feynman so interesting is just his unpretentious quirkiness, his love of telling stories, his ability to quickly grasp the root of a problem (whether in physics, biology, or religion) and give you an honest answer.

The only drawback to this collection is it repeats several stories. Feynman retold many of his favorite stories (locks at Los Alamos) or ideas (cargo cult science). So if you've read Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character or Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman many of these stories have been heard before. Even inside of this book a couple stories get retold a bit. It is unavoidable, but still a bit of a draw back.

Anyway, this isn't a deep dive into science. It is a flirtation with the curiosity that drives scientists. It is the recollections of one of the most fascinating characters to come out of the Manhattan Project and the post-quantum revolution period of physics. So, if you haven't read much on Feynman I might recommend reading 'Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!' first, but I'd still not neglect to check this out as well.

16 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Humble filmmaker
  • 10-04-16

Perfect for introduction to Feynman or for long time fans

Not every section is equally interesting and relevant, but this is only because some are more interesting and relevant than anything written that long ago has any right to be.

The reader manages to sound much like Feynman himself, and really nails the cadence and emphasis.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-07-18

Not as I anticipated

I expected to learn some physics and about the joy of finding things out. A part about how Feynman learned to enjoy finding things out was nice but some parts seemed irrelevant, like a big part talking about how to make technology more compact.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • eam
  • 17-06-18

A good book

the narration could have been better. the book itself was good but not as good as others Feynman works.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-06-18

Good listen, but some repeated stories

This book contains many interesting stories from Feynman. He is great with words and ideas, and sharing his passions with others.

I thought one or two of the lectures were a little dull (probably just because of how things have changed over the last ~50 years), but most of them were very engaging. If you have read Surely You’re Joking, then you will notice one or two repeat stories in here also. Overall still very good despite these two criticisms.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kenneth Kosten
  • 04-11-17

Richard Feynman Stories

This book is a collection of Richard Feynman's short stories. There are some gems in this books (like when he is reviewing the plans for the purification plant to make the materials for the first nuclear bomb - whole family found it laugh out loud worthy) and there are some stories that really drag (like when he talks about computing machines of the future - which have yet to materialize). It is 257 page wandering through stories from his life. It certainly would not make my top 100 audible books, but it was an interesting insight into the mind of a physicist. I would say the title is misleading. It is not about the excitement of finding things out as I had hoped, but the stories of a person during the cold war age. There are a few pictures in the book, but none of them are needed to understand the audio version of this book. AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY