Top critical review
If you want to know what Mr Feynman thought about himself and the world...
on 17 June 2014
...then you should read this book. You will be surprised that a Nobel price winner still feels such a need to tell the world what a great guy he is, whatever he does and whatever he thinks is better than else. Even apparent self criticism is de facto used to enhance his image. You will also learn what he thinks of his colleagues, about other areas of science and in particular "cargo science", a term to which he devotes a whole chapter, without ever defining it. No need, it is encompassing all but physics and mathematics.
You will also learn that a great brain is not necessarily a great spirit. Mr Feynman's work has tremendously contributed to scientific progress, and he was certainly a very sympathetic guy to talk to, in a bar. But he had a limited horizon. For him, physics and mathematics was all you need to know about the world. In this respect it is interesting that on the 360 pages of this book you won't see one single mention of the term "axiom". Perhaps Mr Feynman avoided thinking beyond axioms, for good reasons.
Otherwise, you learn incidentally that the development of the atomic bomb was an incredible makeshift job, poorly organized and supervised by the US army. And that Mr Feynman didn't loose a single instant before, during or after his work in Los Alamos thinking about its effects on human lives. True, he didn't have much time, when spending his spare time learning how to crack all kind of safes. Or engage with pretty women whenever they crossed his path.
To conclude, this book leaves you with mixed feelings. There are interesting aspects, such as his desacralization of the inner circles of scientific research, but at the end you feel somehow disappointed that such great brains can be so confined.