One of my favorite books! This collection of anecdotes should be read by everyone, including non-scientists. Written by the late physicist Richard P. Feynman. Anyone who reads this should also read What Do You Care What Other People Think?.

From the back of the book:

"Richard Feynman (1918-1988), winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures. Here he recounts in his inimitable voice his experience trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek; cracking the uncrackable safes guarding the most deeply held nuclear secrets; accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums; painting a naked female toreador - and much else of an eyebrow-raising nature. In short, here is Feynman's life in all its eccentric glory - a combustible mixture of high intelligence, unlimited curiosity, and raging chutzpah."
This book, while entertaining and well-written, should not be read by anyone without a stomach for shameless self-promotion. While some of the anecdotes (the Las Vegas years and his safecracking exploits at Los Alamos come to mind) are indeed priceless, the gist of the book is essentially as follows:

"Look at me, see, aren't I brilliant and charismatic? What, isn't everybody as smart as me?"

This applies to "What Do You Care What Other People Think?" as well.

If you can put that behind you, it is indeed very entertaining. But sometimes Feynman crosses the line between chutzpah and insinuation. I'll bet he was a hard guy to get along with sometimes.

There is a story about him which is not reproduced in either book, (by the way to my knowledge he didn't write either book but both were compiled from stories told by him to other people which is why they come over very Feyncentric). He went on a camping trip with a friend of his and two other guys who didn't know him. He had recently won the Nobel Prize and was complaining about how that was all that people were interested in. His friend said to him, "look these guys don't know you so I won't tell them that you are this great physicist and then you can have a break from all of this pressure about the prize and stuff". They go camping and the friend has to go off into the woods for something. He comes back to find Feynman telling the other two about how he won a Nobel prize

I got this story from the following site which has a lot of info about him

This book is awesome! I had read Six Easy Pieces and Six Not-so-Easy Pieces by Richard P. Feynman, and I was starting to go through The Feynman Lectures on Physics, but this book was pure entertainment!

While the other Feynman books I had read were somewhat technical in nature, trying to explain how the universe works and interesting stuff like that, this book was just filled with fun and interesting stories from Feynman's Life.

What I learned after reading this book:

Mr. Feynman likes showgirls, topless bars, and gorgeous blonds. So much so that he will testify in court to prevent a nudie bar from getting shut down.

How to get a girl you meet at a bar to sleep with you? Just ask her "Will you sleep with me?" Before you waste money buying her drinks. She most likely will.

Drawing nude women takes a lot of practice with nude models.

How to impress people? Pick their locks.

How do you pick locks? By figuring out part of the combination in dubious ways, trial and error the rest of the numbers, and a good amount of bullshitting.

Mr. Feynman is very good at bullshitting his way though many instances in life.

I will NEVER be able to bullshit as well as Feynman.

What Los Alamos was like during the Manhattan Project.

School books mostly SUCK! Actually I figured this out myself, but Feynman just reassured me of the fact.

While throughout the entire books Feynman's love of Physics is never questioned, this book isn't about Physics. (Read one of his more technical books like the ones I listed at the beginning of this write-up). Rather than being technical, this book is more about the life experiences Feynman had and what he learned from them. Everyone can have fun reading this book and learning about it, even the non-science minded people. Really, it's more than just his experiences with women. READ IT!

Two stories that legendary physicist Richard Feynman tells about himself. The first one relates to the title of his best-selling book (and the title of this node).

Feynman had attended MIT as an undergraduate, where social etiquette was not on the value scale. He went to Princeton University for his master's degree in physics. The freshmen were invited to tea at the Dean's house. Feynman was told to wear a jacket and act properly. He was worried a bit, because the Dean's wife had the reputation as being a starched-pants dragon lady.

She appeared with a tea pot in her white-gloved hands. She poured. He thanked her, thinking he had passed a test. But it was only the beginning.

"And how do you take your tea, Mr. Feynman?" she asked.

"How do I take it?," he asked, probably thinking, I'm from Far Rockaway, New York. We don't take our tea anywhere, because we never drink the stuff back home.

"Do you take your tea with milk or lemon?" she asked.

He had to think about this a moment, and answered bravely, "Both!"

The society smile froze on her face in a horrified rictus. "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!"

And thus the title. The second story was from his interview by an Army psychologist before being permitted to work on the Manhattan project in Los Alamos in the early 1940s. Feynman held psychology in low esteem, considering it at best a pseudo-science.

The psychologist sat across from Feynman and asked him to hold his hands out, horizontal to the floor, presumably to see if he exhibited any shaking or trembling. Feynman put his hands out, with one palm up and one palm down.

"No, the other way," said the psychologist.

Feynman flipped his hands around, so that now one palm was down and the other palm up.

"No! The OTHER way!" The psychologist, perturbed, glared at Feynman...

... who once again commenced to flip his hands around to their original state.


The psychologist, red-faced, scribbled something into his report. Feynman thought he wasn't terribly articulate with his instructions, and was glad he hadn't wasted any more of Feynman's time.

He was cleared to work at Los Alamos.

I added this node because none of the previous nodes explained the origin of the phrase. The conversations weren't exactly as they appeared in the book. I wrote this from memory of the incidents from both Feynman's book and other biographies written about him.

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