Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track

  • by Richard P. Feynman
  • Narrated by Richard Poe, Johanna Parker
  • 9 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Few scientists have enthralled more people than Richard P. Feynman, the Nobel Prize winner and best-selling author of Six Easy Pieces and Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! Beloved for his engaging character and zest for life, he is an American icon. In this selection of letters, Feynman's towering genius and singular personality shine like dazzling stars. A brilliant physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, Feynman believed the excitement of discovery was matched by the bliss of sharing. That joy is evident here, whether Feynman's subject is quantum physics or the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. The letters also show a personal side to this extraordinary man, a man who dearly loved his wife and enthusiastically shared his thoughts with those who sought them.
Most of Feynman's personal correspondence has remained private for years. Now, at long last, the most personal reflections of this fascinating man can be relished by all.


What the Critics Say

"The Feynman adored by his colleagues and the public, exuberant, irreverent, and intelligent, comes back to life through his own words." (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Absolutely delightful

This was one of the most enjoyable audio books I have listened to. The readers were fine, and the content was wonderful. Particularly memorable were the one-two punch of Feynman's letter to his mother describing the first atomic bomb test, followed immediately by a love letter to his wife Arlene, written more than a year after her death. Very moving. Other highlights for me were his advice to people to never stop pursuing the things in life that they are really crazy about. Feynman was a fine example of the great results that can come from doing that. I am a physicist, but the book is highly recommended to anyone who would like to spend some time with a great soul--no knowledge of physics required.
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- csk


If you think reading letters selected from a person's correspondence with his parents, friends, and admirers would be interesting, this is the perfect book for you. For everybody else, they're just letters, and they're not addressed to you. Feynman was an interesting person, and this book allows you to get more insight into his character. But it's really a message that even interesting people have normal everyday lives. I enjoyed hearing some of Feynman's advice to people who think he has all the answers, and his efforts to emulate Groucho Marx were amusing ("I'd never consent to join a club that would have me as a member"). And experiencing some of the tradgedies in Feynman's life even in a secondhand fashion makes him seem more human. But at the end of the day, this is not a coherent story, which makes the book seem to drag on. Though the substance was mediocre, I thought the narration was fine.
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- Daniel

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-19-2005
  • Publisher: Recorded Books