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This book is yet another posthumous compilation of Feynman's musings. With each successive book - starting from the wonderful transcriptions of Leighton, Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman - they have been declining in quality for years. Well, this is a hodgepodge of paper scraps and even raw oral interviews that have been thrown together to exploit just about the last drop of these kinds of things, and I can say that I don't think the process should continue.

There are some amusing things in this book and some interesting details, but there really isn't anything special except for the fact that Feynman enjoys the personality cult associated with a zany physics genius. He was an original character and, in physics, a truly great thinker. But that doesn't make every last little thing that he ever said or scribbled down interesting, except to uncritical devotees who live with the fantasy that everything he said was better than worthwhile. Indeed, if you know about something in great depth he writes (well talks) about, his views appear as superficial as the rest of non-specialists on the subjects. Where he is truly interesting in on physics, mathematics, and science - and the overwhelming majority of what he produced on those subjects is already available.

I would not recommend this book, except as a source of Feynman trivia if that is your bag. Indeed, I had heard most of these things before - either in films about the man or from his earlier writings. As such, that makes this book the crassest attempt to commercially exploit the legacy of this great man yet again. If such a thing were possible, the editor should be ashamed.
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on 23 May 2011
This wonderful collection of interviews, extracts, articles, and speeches gives a fascinating insight into the way that Richard Feynman viewed the world. His exuberance and curiosity shine from every page and it is difficult not to be swept along in the wake of his enthusiasm.

However, Feynman's "casual manner towards proper grammar" (p.xv) in both spoken and written forms often result in awkward sentence structures and colloquialisms that, at times, defy understanding. Moreover, these selected pieces also reveal a spontaneous thinker whose ideas often seem to tumble out faster than he was able to (fully) articulate them. Whilst this spontaneity made Feynman an engaging and gifted scientist, it also gives the impression that he was frequently addressing his next thought before completing his previous: the effect is that his arguments can feel unfinished and, on philosophical and religious issues, strangely naive.

Nonetheless, Feynman was not only a spontaneous thinker but also an original one. His musings on the future of computing and nanotechnology (pp.27-52) were significantly ahead of their time and still appear prescient more than two-decades later. Furthermore, despite his protestations that seeking knowledge is (or should be) an end unto itself, he was also enormously practical and his minority report on the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster (pp.151-169) is an exemplar of forensic investigation that should serve as a template for achieving bureaucratic clarity! Notwithstanding these noteworthy contributions, the real jewel-in-the-crown is the (edited) transcript from Feynman's 1981 Horizon interview: it is undoubtedly worthy of the cover price in its own right.

In summary, those familiar with the idiosyncrasies of Feynman's delivery will love this collection and most likely "hear" every word in his distinctive drawl; however, for the uninitiated, it is perhaps not the best introduction to this remarkable man.
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on 6 January 2015
I love listening to Richard Feynman but this book baffled me after 3/4 chapters. He goes into some theoretical stuff I could not follow and that was also not very interesting from s physics point of view. A great man and maybe a great book but I struggled.
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on 7 February 2009
Interesting but you need to have some understanding of physics to actually get what the guys on about. It clears things up if you are confused but can be quite tough going in places.
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on 28 December 2014
Super Feynman stuff : sadly much of it is already published in " Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman ", and " What Do You Care What Other People Think ?" Still : I'm glad I bought it, if only for the intro by Freeman Dyson and the report on the Challenger Space Disaster. The latter could be re-titled " NASA'S DIRTY LAUNDRY WASHED IN PUBLIC ! " or " NASA'S NASTY SECRETS SPILLED ! " He clearly warned another accident could happen, and then it did . COLUMBIA was caused by, as described on . sic. " An investigation board determined that a large piece of foam fell from the shuttle's external tank and fatally breached the spacecraft wing. This problem with foam had been known for years, and NASA came under intense scrutiny in Congress and in the media for allowing the situation to continue.
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on 27 May 2013
This was different to he other Richard Feynman books I've read. It was just as amusing & able to convey big Physics stuff to the layman.

This book is a collection of articles that he had written. The scope of these is quote divers & it is naturally easy to pick up & put down. Be warned you will WANT to complete each paper before you do put it down. Feynman attributes his love of science to time spent with his father who was not a scientist or engineer. This is probably where his talent for writing this way comes from.
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on 1 May 2012
The book was originally published in 1999, it's title being taken from a BBC Horizon programme of the same name originally broadcast in 1981. It contains a transcript of that programme plus other writings and lectures. I have a 1999 copy and, to my knowledge, it was the first time the transcript of the 1981 Horizon programme had been published between the covers of a book. I recommend anyone who hasn't read it to actually do so.

Rob Crawford comments as if this book is a new publication when in fact it is a 2007 reprint. His description of the book is therefore inaccurate and misleading.
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on 23 October 2012
This man is a genius, in the true sense of the word! Don't worry if you haven't got a physics background (as I haven't). Feynman doesn't use much maths and complicated terms to explain things. He was a teacher so can explain things to 'laymen' with great ease!
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on 9 March 2014
What can I say its Richard Faynman- its like having a casual chat in a bar over a drink and he really makes it simple and understandable. Magic
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on 28 June 2013
I was a little disapointed with the content & found it rarther heavey going. Its not quite what I had envisaged
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