{Download} What Do You Care What Other People Think?Author Richard P. Feynman – Circuitwiringdiagram.co

One of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman possessed an unquenchable thirst for adventure and an unparalleled ability to tell the stories of his life What Do You Care What Other People Think? is Feynman’s last literary legacy, prepared with his friend and fellow drummer, Ralph Leighton Among its many tales—some funny, others intensely moving—we meet Feynman’s first wife, Arlene, who taught him of love’s irreducible mystery as she lay dying in a hospital bed while he worked nearby on the atomic bomb at Los Alamos We are also given a fascinating narrative of the investigation of the space shuttle Challenger’s explosion in 1986, and we relive the moment when Feynman revealed the disaster’s cause by an elegant experiment: dropping a ring of rubber into a glass of cold water and pulling it out, misshapen. 

10 thoughts on “What Do You Care What Other People Think?

  1. Manny Manny says:

    We were having a discussion about safety at NASA in another thread and I thought of this book, about half of which consists of an account of Feynman's role in the investigation following the Challenger disaster. One of the other reviewers complained that this section was too long, but I found it completely fascinating.

    Feynman was always very good at asking tough questions and at describing things as they are, not as they are supposed to be. The most famous bit is where he's at the press conference and demonstrates the critical problem with the O-ring by dropping one into a glass of ice-water. That was certainly dramatic. But I found the surrounding discussion even more interesting. As Feynman said, he was forced to make this dramatic gesture because he felt that the people in charge didn't actually want him to uncover the reason for the crash. They just wanted it to look like all due diligence had been applied.

    Also, when he started digging into the safety calculations, he rapidly discovered that they made no sense. NASA had all these claims about how careful they were, and how unlikely it was that anything could go wrong on a launch. They quoted figures like "a one in ten thousand chance of failure". So Feynman does the obvious piece of arithmetic and says, guys, do you honestly mean you could launch one Shuttle a day for 30 years and only get a single crash? Several technical people back down and say, no, of course not, the real figure is probably more like one in a hundred. There are too many unknowns. But the senior managers stick to their guns, and when he goes back to talk to the techies a second time they won't confirm their earlier comments.

    There is a really tragic story here about self-deception. The US politicians decided that space travel needed to be safe, but they didn't understand that it couldn't yet be done. Their unwillingness to accept this fact has almost killed manned space flight.

    The rest of the book is pretty good too. Warning: the chapter about his first wife and her early death from tuberculosis might make you cry.

  2. Roy Lotz Roy Lotz says:

    I had a conversation with a coworker a couple days ago about whether leadership can be taught. Can you make somebody into a great leader? If so, then why are so many people bad at leading? I really have no idea. But what I am far more certain about is whether there are natural born leaders; I’m sure there are, and I’m sure Feynman was one of them.

    Something about Feynman’s voice, about his way of seeing and thinking about the world, makes me respond quite automatically. I stop being skeptical; I’ll trust anything he says. As soon as he starts talking, I’m instantly won over. It’s strange. I’m not particularly prone to hero worship; and I’m generally very distrustful of leaders. Yet all of my natural cynicism and distrust are dispersed like a puff of air when faced with Feynman's charm.

    I’m not sure this says more about me or about Feynman. Perhaps I’m just particularly susceptible to his appeal. But I suspect that it isn’t just me, and that many others respond this way too. There is some mysterious element in his personality that everyone seems to notice. In another review, Manny suggested that Feynman might have been a mystic. I admit that I scoffed at the suggestion at the time. But now I think it’s very insightful. For there is something quasi-religious about Feynman’s combination of naïveté, simplicity, and keen wonder at the natural world; there is something indeed mystical about his way of cutting through everything distracting and irrelevant, of putting aside all unhelpful conventions, and getting to the core of the issue.

    Well, on to the book. This is the more serious older brother of Surely You’re Joking. The lighthearted tone that enlivened the earlier book is here almost absent. To the contrary, the second chapter of this book, which tells the story of Feynman’s first wife, is downright tragic. And the story of Feynman’s involvement with the Rogers Commission, investigating the Challenger Shuttle disaster, is detailed and lengthy. The materials collected into this book do feel like they’ve been thrown together; the parts don’t form a unified whole. But taken individually, everything here is well worth reading, both for the insight into Feynman’s character, and the exploration of institutional NASA stupidity.

    It’s a good thing Feynman is dead. If he was alive, I might have to quit my job and study physics under him, and that wouldn’t be fun for either of us—since I’d be a dull student.

  3. Tara Tara says:

    “His most valuable contribution to physics is as a sustainer of morale; when he bursts into the room with his latest brain-wave and proceeds to expound on it with the most lavish sound effects and waving about of the arms, life at least is not dull.”

    —Physicist Freeman Dyson on Richard Feynman, November 1947

    While this (never dull) volume isn’t quite as consistently interesting and entertaining as Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!, I can’t really give it any less than 4 stars because, hey, it’s still freakin’ Feynman, with his trademark ebullient sound effects, energetic arm-waving, and irrepressibly joyful spirit. Just in case you’re not familiar with him, Richard Feynman was an American theoretical physicist, known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics. For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. And, believe it or not, those are but a small fraction of his many and varied interests and accomplishments. Furthermore, he was also a very colorful, lovable character with a highly unique way of looking at things and an irresistibly jaunty sense of humor.

    Feynman’s infectious enthusiasm and curiosity are more prevalent in the first part of the book, which contains nine stories and essays; these provide some delightful snapshots of his life and mind. The second part is a rather detailed account of his time on the commission that investigated the NASA space shuttle Challenger explosion. This section was actually quite fascinating in its own right, and often surprisingly humorous—I frequently found myself chuckling as I read about Feynman’s eagerness and impatience to cut through all the bullshit official red tape and endless committee meetings and start doing some actual, you know, work. The book then ends with a wonderful speech of Feynman’s from 1955 titled “The Value of Science.” The following are a couple of my favorite parts:

    ”When we read about [scientific discoveries] in the newspaper, it says ‘Scientists say this discovery may have importance in the search for a cure for cancer.’ The paper is only interested in the use of the idea, not the idea itself. Hardly anyone can understand the importance of an idea, it is so remarkable. Except that, possibly, some children catch on. And when a child catches on to an idea like that, we have a scientist. It is too late for them to get the spirit when they are in our universities, so we must attempt to explain these ideas to children.”

    “We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on. It is our responsibility to leave the people of the future a free hand. In the impetuous youth of humanity, we can make grave errors that can stunt our growth for a long time. This we will do if we say we have the answers now, so young and ignorant as we are. If we suppress all discussion, all criticism, proclaiming ‘This is the answer, my friends; man is saved!’ we will doom humanity for a long time to the chains of authority, confined to the limits of our present imagination. It has been done so many times before.”

    Overall, this is a truly splendid book. I highly recommend it for fans of Feynman’s first autobiographical collection who want to spend just a little more time with that remarkable, endearing, brilliant guy.

  4. E. G. E. G. says:

    Preface, by Ralph Leighton

    --"What do You Care What Other People Think?" Further Adventures of a Curious Character


  5. Darwin8u Darwin8u says:

    "If we want to solve a problem that we have never solved before, we must leave the door to the unknown ajar."
    - Richard Feynman, What Do You Care What Other People Think?


    An interesting book. Not as good as Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character, but it is still a gem. Part 1 of the book (A Curious Character) contains roughly 9 essays spanning Feynman's life. Some of the essays are expansions of stories and essays from other books. Part 2 (Mr. Feynman Goes to Washington) details Dr. Feynman's time on the Roger's Commission investigating the Challenger accident. While not the Manhattan Project, Feynman's work on the Roger's Commission provides an amazing vehicle for looking at Feynman's unique way of tackling a project. At the end of the book, Feynman includes a beautiful essay on "The Value of Science".

  6. Lori Lori says:

    Somehow I came across Richard Feynman in the spring of 2012. I wish I had come across him sooner. I was not quite sure how to pronounce his last name so I asked my husband if he had ever heard of Richard "Feman" and he responded "Feynman?" At that time I knew very little about Richard Feynman and wished I had talked about him more with my husband. My husband passed away in June of 2012 and he had very much in common with Richard Feynman. In fact, my husband reminded me so much of him! So when I came across the audio version of Feynman's WHAT DO YOU CARE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK I really wished I had found that before my husband's passing. I think my husband would very much enjoyed the short autobiography. For ME, the short autobiography helped me immensely with my grief. On the first CD, Richard Feynman speaks of his very first love and his very first wife that was cut short with her passing. He said that there was more quality in the 10 years he spent with her so time (quantity) meant very little to him regarding that. My husband and I had only been married 14 1/2 years when he passed away unexpectedly. But since we were together 24/7 for a good 10 years - our quality of life packed into many years was phenomenal! I have gotten much enjoyment from listening to Dr. Feynman and his different views on life (and his many accomplishments and teachings) on YouTube. A brilliant, humble man - almost a reflection of my husband. This world lost two great men (my husband and Dr. Feynman).

  7. J. J. says:

    I was enthusiastic about reading this after reading "Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman?". The book is divided into two parts "A Curious Character" which deals with the people who influenced Feynman the most; his father and his wife Arline. Arline and Richard were perfect for each other alas their relationship was bitter sweet. Arline succumbed to tuberculosis and passed away at the age of twenty five. It's not all sad though Arline very much enjoyed seeing Richard succeed but made sure he stayed grounded and they both knew how to make what little time they had together count. Sixteen months after her death Feynman wrote this touching letter to Arline. www.lettersofnote.com/2012/02/i-love-...

    I loved the story about the walks he took in the woods with his father and their discussions about natural phenomena and how things work. Feynman's father was not from a scientific background but ignited a love for the subject in his son.

    The second part of the book which I didn't enjoy so much concerned the investigation of the shuttle Challenger disaster. Ailing at the time from cancer Feynman took on this project despite knowing that it would use up his strength and time. I felt the book listed a bit at this point for me and that I was getting bogged down in technical terminology. At the heart of this 'part' is a cautionary tale about the management of large organisations and their internal communication. Even Feynman's investigation was frustrated by the same problems. The organisational culture was expressed by the managerial political dogma versus the technical knowledge of engineers and the break down of communication between the two. Feynman's discoveries are quite the coup d'etat. As he puts it himself in the end "Nature cannot be fooled".

    Feynman is an interesting, quirky, man of intellectual integrity, who has a good sense of humour and writes about science in a refreshing and largely understandable way.

  8. Sarah Sarah says:

    This is five star because of one particular essay, called 'The Value of Science' In that essay, Feynman conveys his sense of wonder with the natural world and likens that sense of awe and mystery with religious experience - one few people not educated in science have the priviledge to encounter. He also emplasises something I believe, but have never seen written about explicitly before - that one huge contribution of science is the realisation that it's entirely possible to live your life and make decisions while not being sure, even about fundamental things. Science is all about uncertainty - hypotheses are only true until someone proves them wrong. We can never be sure about the meaning of the universe (at least, not through science). So, doing science teaches people how to suspend judgement, and to take other views and possibilities into account. This essay is essential reading for young scientists (what are your responsibilities to wider society?), and anyone interested in philosophy (without the jargon).
    Also really interesting is his account of being on the committee that investigated the Challenger disaster - a cautionary insight into how bureacracy can go badly wrong in even well-meaning organisations.
    I'm unsure how much of his autobiographical stuff is exaggerated, and I am not sure how easy he would have been to live with! But I wish he'd written more about his own personal philosophies and opinions, because I find myself agreeing with him an awful lot. And considering he was instrumental in the Manhattan Project, that in itself is thought-provoking.

  9. Joel Joel says:

    Once again, Feynman is touching, hilarious, frank, and insightful, all at once.

    This book, like the one preceding it, Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman, is a transcription of recordings made by Feynman’s drumming partner, Ralph Leighton. I have spent quite a few late nights watching interviews of Feynman on YouTube, including the story about the brown throated thrush, and I could actually hear his voice in my head as I was reading it.

    This book is not as linear as the first one, being more of a random collection of stories, drawings, letters, an account of his time on the Presidential commission investigating the Challenger disaster, and a talk he gave on the value of science. Nevertheless, it was just as entertaining, inspiring, and illuminating.

    I found the story of Feynman’s run-in with an angry crowd of feminists particularly funny. His story about a Negro (his words, not mine) taxi driver in Trinidad left me shaking my head, while the section on NASA had me banging my fists against the table. It is inspiring to see that despite Feynman’s respect for the US government, his scientific integrity made him prepared to be honestly critical of how it operates.

    I was afraid the book would end on a bad note with the somewhat vapid speech at the end, but there were some quite deep insights in there as well, and his closing remarks about not suppressing discussion and criticism was a perfect way to end it.

    Overall, not as meaty as some other books of this genre, but it was a quick entertaining read, and left me with many lessons I will carry with me.

  10. Ryan Ryan says:

    I think that while this book may work as a lighthearted romp and as wonderfully illuminating as to the life and thinking of Richard Feynman—easily the most interesting scientist I've ever read—it also naturally lends itself as probably a quintessential book on what it means to think as a scientist.

    I say this because while I understand what it means to think politically—"we must understand the players, the stakes, and what each person wants, along with what benefits whom", or something like this—and as an ideal businessperson—"how does this generate value, profit, and benefit for a consumer in a ethical way"—I can safely say I could not sum up neatly what it means to think as a scientist.

    But Feynman does an amazing job of showing what that means, because he thinks like one seemingly as naturally as one knows how to walk or breathe. This is chiefly shown when he is assisting the U.S. Federal Government and NASA investigate what happened during the Challenger explosion later in the work. He is apparently confused by both the politics of bureaucracy, and the lack of scientific understanding by those above the engineers and technical people. He eventually overcomes this, and mentions how in science, one needs to think of what works and what might be the best solution, regardless of authority or political or (I would assume, if acting in the purest way) business concerns. This was actually very insightful, and it was a delight seeing Feynman's childlike (real or feigned) ignorance blossom into seamless and fluid understandings that continuously helped him navigate through unfamiliar situations. Like when he accidentally gave a confidential report to a reporter, only to get it back and not in the press after hours of saying 'I have no idea of this works, I don't understand the news business, I made a mistake and was acting foolish.'

    Ultimately, I would argue one of the most important things I came to learn in this book is that one of the most important things a scientist must have—at least in my humble opinion—is doubt:

    "When a scientist doesn’t know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty darn sure of what the result is going to be, he is still in some doubt. We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress we must recognize our ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty—some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain"

    I think this sort of thinking is incredibly helpful in any sort of intellectual exploration, because once someone becomes too certain, the risk of becoming too fanatical, partisan, or close-minded greatly increases, which ultimately closes off the potential of learning more. I think Richard Feynman remained open-minded even until late in life, and if nothing else aside from the sheer entertainment value and insightful commentary on life, keeping an open and doubtful mind is probably the greatest takeaway I can think of from this fantastic book.