Although I’d heard of Feynman for years now–people I know were excited by the Feynman Lectures volumes–I didn’t really know who he was. Oh, I could probably have given you the fact that he was a physicist, and maybe that he had won the Nobel prize, and just recently Jill told me about a Feynman anecdote that she had read by Stephen Jay Gould. After Surely You’re Joking, I know much more about Feynman, and why he interests people. As far from the stereotype of the scientist that you can get, yet still having some geeky characteristics that he wasn’t afraid to admit to, Surely You’re Joking is a portrait of the man in his own words. In fact, the best way to approach this book is as if you had stumbled on to it in a dimly-lit bar, sat down next to it, exchanging turns buying drinks and talking about each other. Just like a conversation, some things are funny, some things don’t make sense, and–as a one-sided conversation–they all revolve around a single subject.
A.T. Campbell recommended this book, which I had somehow overlooked in past years, and was glad to have it pointed out to me again.
[Finished 21 August 1993]