Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P

Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P - Richard P. Feynman For those who might not know, Richard Feynman was a Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist, canny self-promoter and renowned teacher who worked on the Manhatten Project before he had even finished his Doctoral Thesis. Many books by and about him have been published and he has become a kind of miniature industry since his death; almost anybody who attended one of his lectures and scribbled some notes has tried to get them published, there are biographies and a volume of letters, CDs of impromtu drumming - the list goes on...

I was put off reading this book for several years by the fact that "all but one" chapter had been published elsewhere; I was figuring I already owned most of its contents.

That turned out to be wrong; although published, most of these essays, anecdotes and lectures had not seen the mainstream and fewer than 6 of them had I read before. Unfortunately some of the material covers territory that is widely available elsewhere and hence adds nothing in terms of ideas or anecdotes for the Feynman fan of long standing.

The material that was entirely new to me was interesting and made the book worthwhile on its own, but a characteristic of this book is that Feynman's own voice comes through strongly, unfiltered through editors and that made even familiar stories interesting. Feynman's voice comes through because many of the pieces are transcriptions of talks or interviews he gave. The book also covers a wide range from the silly stories to the serious science to the discussions on the nature and ethics of science.

Feynman fans should read it and people who want to know what the Feynman Fuss is about could do worse than start here.