Review: Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard P. Feynman

I believe that reading and subsequently learning, is a vital step toward self-improvement. Reading challenges what we already think we know. It opens the world to you; new people, new places, new ways of doing things. Reading sparks that internal conversation that you have. My journey was precipitated by being gifted Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. It challenged the way I had viewed my personal finances and the lack of self-control I exhibited in many other daily habits. That is why I have made reading such a big part of my life and set certain goals to achieve. I want to share with you what I am reading so that maybe one of the books I review can have that same effect on you.

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard P. Feynman

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman is one of those books that is recommended so often and by famous, successful people like Bill Gates and Kevin Rose It was among Tim Ferriss’ most recommended books in his omnibus Tools of Titans. While it is undeniable that Feynman led a very interesting life, the book was a bit of a disappointment and generally not fun to read. I wasn’t a fan of the disjointed, conversation style writing. It was like having a conversation with someone with severe ADHD; except over the course of several hours.

I never felt like I could connect with the author in anyway. While it may seem like this was because Feynman is a highly intelligent physicist, it had more to do with the way he glossed over certain topics. His first wife’s passing seemed to be an after thought despite there being clear evidence of the emotional toll it took from him. Why not humanize your autobiography? There is also barely any mention of his other wives (2 more) nor his children (2 of them as well). Maybe it’s the period of my life in which I read Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman. To me, my whole world is my daughter Olivia and my wife Jessica. I can’t imagine an autobiography of my life that only devoted a few lines to them.

The general insight provided and the reason it is so often recommended is the out-of-box thought processes that Feynman follows. Feynman not only recognizes absurdities in government, academia, and society, but also challenges them directly. These are good lessons to learn. Similar in fashion to Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead, but without the style that can imprint these lessons unto the reader.

I listened to this book using Overdrive. Overdrive links your local public library with your electronic devices for free. This is my go to method for listening to audio books. If an audio book is not available of Overdrive, then I turn to Audible. Audible has a much larger selection, but does have a membership fee. Well worth it in my opinion.


Author: David Matthews

Welcome to my site!

I started this site as a way of discussing what I’ve learned about the relationship between personal finances and physical fitness. What I have learned allowed me to lose 50lbs and improve my creditscore 150 points in the same year.

Husband. Father. West Virginia University Grad. Licensed Insurance and Financial Professional. Sports fan (Phila, WVU, and Manchester City). Huge nerd (like Magic: The Gathering huge)

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