Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynmann is a book of the curious adventures Richard P. Feynmann, perhaps the most interesting and free-spirited theoretical physicist the world has ever come to know. In popular culture, Feynmann is remembered for his uncanny ability to teach, most memorably, the enthusiasm and passion paired with a high-level of competence as an educator.
Adventures of a Curious Character is the perfect description for this book! The entire book contains anecdotes from his life. From drumming with a Samba School in Rio during Carnival to safe-cracking during the Manhattan Project or moonlighting as an artist. Feynmann embodied the idea of living life on his terms, and had perhaps more fun than he should have doing so.
Feynmann was stubborn to the point where one could diagnose it as hubris. There are numerous anecdotes where he just stands his ground, and is unwilling to compromise. While some saw him as being petty or difficult, Feynmann remained unperturbed and continue to do things that he wanted. He was someone who knew what they stood for, and was not afraid of the consequences. In that way, he is a great example of living authentically.
Despite this stubborn streak that persisted, he was always open to picking up new things. It seemed as though theoretical physics was is default activity and life happens during the time in-between work. Learning how to drum, or how to draw people, picking safes, among a host of other niche interests.
What a marvel of man he was, not only one of the foremost scientific minds of the century, but he had a free-spiritedness and curiosity to match. His outlook on life is one I will forever admire and strive for.
Highly Recommended. This is essential reading for anyone feeling overwhelmed with life. Just because you have a day job, it doesn’t preclude you from enjoying the various fruits of the world.