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

Richard P. Feynman
Richard P. Feynman Published in September 19, 2018, 3:58 am
 'What Do You Care What Other People Think?' Further Adventures of a Curious Character:Comoparardefumar

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


Steven Unwin
Steven Unwin Reply to on 14 February 2009
Having read Genius: Richard Feynman and Modern Physics 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.

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 comprehension of the real learning process by which this advance is made. For me this short concluding section of the book was worth the price alone, illustrated by the books concluding paragraph..

"It is our responsibility as scientists, knowing the great progress which comes from a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance, the great progress that is the fruit of this freedom of thought, to proclaim the value of this freedom; to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed; and to demand this freedom as our duty to all coming generations."
In short, if you want to find out about Feynman, Genius is a more complete read, having read that you may be inspired to read this book to find out more. However if you want to learn of lessons from the Challenger disaster, or simply read the description of exploration in `The Value of Science',this is a book well worth reading.
Mole Reply to on 9 January 2011
This is a follow on from Feynman's first book "Surely you are joking Mr Feynman". It sort of picks up from where the other left off, but about half of the book is devoted to his activities as part of the panel investigating the Challenger Shuttle disaster.

What I did find odd was that he seemed surprised at the behaviour and reaction of the others on the same panel; many of his comments indicate a level of bewilderment at the way that things were done and how the process was carried out. From his previous book, I would have expected him to be a lot more savvy towards the nature of those that work much more in the public sector. I wonder if he was in fact playing a double game; knowing exactly what he faced, but then pretending a level of frustration to indicate that he was not part of the same set-up. Of course, we will never know, but it is interesting to speculate.

Both parts of the book are well worth reading, and this book is one that will probably require more than one viewing.
DunedinBubo Reply to on 2 June 2015
"Surely you're joking..." has a sobering undercurrent, though each anecdote (which it is for the most part) exudes the infectious joy of a mind that thought differently. When I first read "What do you care...", it felt like that joyful mind had been suffocated by committee and minds more ordinary. Not as light or infectious as "Surely...", but perhaps the more significant book in terms of the insight into the concept of risk, it's uses and abuses, and also how objective understanding is controlled and manipulated for political (note the small p) ends.
Nimrod Reply to on 14 June 2013
Unlike the other Feynman book I reviewed, this does have a definite storyline that provides an inside view of a number of various events about which we mostly only know the headlines. Two of the most notable of these were the Manhatten Project and the Challenger Investigation.

However, it also shows the matter of fact approach by both Feynman and his first wife to her terminal illness, though unless you have similar strength of character, it won't act as a blueprint in similar circumstances. They were both remarkable people.

I do recommend this book, even though written by a man who was way above the intelligence level of most of us, because he also had the ability to engage lesser mortals by his clarity of explanation.
NodNodPilot Reply to on 22 April 2013
This book is centered around specific events in his life and needs to be read with companion bio's. Having said that, this is an excellent read on its own account. Every now and then a 'special' person is set amongst us and RPF is one of those. A brilliant mind but not one that has lost common sense and the ability to communicate with the ordinary person - especially those who show the same values of honesty and genuineness. I first came accross RPF in a recent TV documentary about the ill fated Challenger mission and the subsequent enquiry. RPF showed and single minded devotion to get to the truth when others around were over influenced by politics and self interest.
Gruff999 Reply to on 6 April 2013
I already owned two Feynman books "Surely you`re joking" and "The pleasure of finding things out". But there was a recent T.V. docu-drama about Feymans time on the Challenger investigation (starring William Hurt as Feynman) which was largely based on this book. As other reviewers have said it is a little more of the same sort of stuff as "Surely..." and the rest is about the Challenger.

Some people have reached the conclusion that the "O-rings" fault was simply 'given' to Feynman to 'discover', but what the documentary and this book show is that Feynman actually uncovered many more problems, and many of them vastly more significant. That was his real contribution. That, and his example of not putting up with bureacracy, or being told what how he should go about things - more of that healthy disrespect for authority!

This is a quicker read than "Surely.." and "The Pleasure of finding things out." and either of those other books are a better introduction, but this has it`s place. You can never get enough Feynman.

Finally, for Feynman enthusiasts, look out for the book "Genius" by James Gleik - a full biography of Feynman and his contribution to Physics. I`ve started it (got it for £2.99 in a remainders shop!) so can`t give a full review here.

And, as a special treat, have a look at this website: [Letters of Note dot com] where you can find some of Feynmans letters in the archive section. One in particular, a love letter to his wife written some time after her death, is particularly moving.
Book Lover
Book Lover Reply to on 30 August 2013
I love Richard Feynman.

I'm sure he and I would have had beautiful children.

I think he would have understood me, too.

I'm not sure I'd have understood him - I assume this very interesting account of some parts of his life is heavily dumbed-down for the non-astro physicist. Whoever helped him (or he, if no-one did) did a great job.

I urge you to buy it and read it - a brilliant scientist with a sense of humour!
Gaarghoile Reply to on 29 September 2017
What a nice fellow and he was a genius as well so now he speaks to us in his book and he comes over as being one of us shame he left before we arrived this book is a classic
Bookworm Reply to on 29 April 2013
I recently watched the excellent documentary "The Challenger" based on this book and just had to read the original. The book is also about Feynman's life but a large section of it is about his part in the enquiry into the disaster. His integrity shines through and you can rapidly see that but for Mr F this would have been yet another whitewash. Wish there were more guys like this who stand up to be counted whatever the consequences.
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