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Publisher's Summary

In this collection of lectures that Richard Feynman originally gave in 1963, unpublished during his lifetime, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist discusses several of the ultimate questions of science. What is the nature of the tension between science and religious faith? Why does uncertainty play such a crucial role in the scientific imagination? Is this really a scientific age?

Marked by Feynman's characteristic combination of rationality and humor, these lectures provide an intimate glimpse at the man behind the legend. He says at the start of his final lecture, "I dedicate this lecture to showing what ridiculous conclusions and rare statements such a man as myself can make." Rare, perhaps, and irreverent, sure. But ridiculous? Not even close.

©1998 Michelle Feynman and Carl Feynman (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What listeners say about The Meaning of it All

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Meh....

Mostly highlights of "Surely you're joking, Mr Feynman." From the onset, he admits to getting out of his depth with non-scientific statements, and accordingly, I found many of his philosophies to be straightforwardder, but shallow, opinions. Clearly a very nice man, engaged with his world and his time. Lovingly self-deprecating understanding the limits of his knowledge. My only criticism is that I thought at first this was a book he had written and thus had given time to think things through. However this is really a post-mortem compilation of lectures, speeches, and anecdotes, some of which comes off as random thoughts blurted out that were simply inaccurate.

Lastly, the title conveys to the reader an expectation of learning some insight on Dr Feynman's personal philosophy of life. Instead we get the idea from the text, quite wrongly I assume, that he never gave "the meaning of it all" much thought. In place of searching for meaning, mechanisms, or truth, this book leads one to believe Dr Feynman never sought such questions. This I doubt. The meaning of it all?......."just because"......

13 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful

Feynman does not dissapoint in this series of three lectures. In other Feynman titles, Feynman will veil some of his views, in these lectures he lets it all out. Great book.

9 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable

It’s worth reading. Concise, precise ant to the point. Easy to follow. Beautiful description of science.

2 people found this helpful

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Cowardly work

Dude can’t answer the question he ventured to answer because he can’t know anything. He knows horoscopes are nonsense (how he knows that is a mystery, presumably by revelation?) but he has no idea if capitalism is better than socialism??

This is skepticism run amok. The author explicitly calls this fence sitting and considers it a virtue. Do not recommend.

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Must Listen/Read For All

This book is truly insightful. I’m not a physicist, nor have I ever been interested in any form of philosophical readings, but The Meaning of it All is an incredible read for everyone, regardless of their occupation or specialty. Feynman does an excellent job of explaining humanity, ethics, morality, religion, government, etc and, while remaining neutral on all these topics, he is able to show how science is NOT at odds with or disproving of any of these ideas. I specifically enjoyed his discussion on morality and religion because he clearly emphasizes that these beliefs can coexist with scientific theories. I highly recommend!

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Great!

I love these lectures! Fun, insightful, and they aged well. These are still very relevant.

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Teach in schools

I think if this book was taught in school, we would have a lot more critical thinkers and a much larger love of learning. Also, a lot less flat earthers! Definitely worth the listen!

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Was hoping for better

I was hoping for a lot better. While there were insights and interesting thoughts in the book, they were connected loosely without leading to anywhere of significance. A great part of the disappointment came from the narrator - the life of Feynman's original lectures was simply not there.

3 people found this helpful

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What a remarkable experience!

Maybe it’s because I am very deeply interested and fascinated by the workings of the Brain, or better, by the combined workings of the Body’s Systems and the Brain to create the Conscious Human Mind, that I found it such a joy to listen to Feynman’s words. His meandering considerations of the underpinnings of logic, belief, analogy, and their application in Religion, Politics, Ideology and Modern Culture was a pleasure to read.

While some of his references were obviously dated, it was amazing to hear how many of the issues he raised in trying to explain the Life of the Mind are applicable to our current problems with sloppy thinking and the relics of ancient beliefs.

All in all, a great read and one I didn’t want to end. Four Stars. ****

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Feynman insights as a civilian

It is definitely worth reading. I just think is a bit verbose, but in a fun and mostly enjoyable way. recommend

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  • Marc
  • 11-14-11

Inspired, but demanding

The lecture covers a wide range of thoughts on finding meaning in life and in what we do. The depth of thought is thoroughly exploring most aspects of every day interest and although he comes clearly from a scientist's point of view, this is a philosophical exploration of meaning for all aspects of human existence in a form that is accessible for everybody. No prior knowledge is required.
The only criticism I have is that occasionally the listener has to pay close attention of context, as Feynman is quick in assuming you know what he means with "so on and so on" or similarly referential shortcuts.
If you want to learn more about how/where to find meaning and you find that you dislike grande ideologies, like me when I chose this audiobook, this book will provide great inspiration.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth
  • 01-07-15

Very enjoyable

Sound arguments in an enjoyable manner. A very good book by an undervalued genius. It is also a good book to start with if you are not familiar with Feynman.

1 person found this helpful

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  • John Fraser
  • 01-03-22

Nauseating in the extreme

Nauseating. Rambling and without any tangible content. Tedious. A science book without a discernible piece of science in it. Zzz Zzzz Zzzz

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  • Tom O'Rourke
  • 10-20-21

Richard P. Feynman. The tutor.

A lifelong love and admiration of such a sentient being has taught me to question all authorities, something I still do to this day even to the self centred uniformed youth who have become what I term "Google-heads" who over the last 20 years have raised their collective consensus into a "Google worshiping" society without any realisation that "Google" is the 21st century Bible that has as many chapters of disinformation and contradictions as the Holy Bible or for that matter any religious tome contains.
Will it end in another lost generation to mass information without clear boundaries and the necessary doubt as law?
Even my generation of post WW2 almost lost the individual will to stand up for one's own convictions and not be pressed to take authorities as sacrosanct entities, I think all that can be said is to let us see what transpires over the decades to come as the avalanche begins to settle.
I add as I have always done that technology and science is not at fault it is the scientist and technicians who advocate and promote the preordaind values of "progress" they aquire in the indoctrination into the respective entities the majority will sadly take for granted.
I end with this statement "progress is the offspring of failure".
P.S. I use the term "Google" as the analogy of the Internet and computer technology of which I have decades of experience.
Tom O'Rourke 1953...?

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  • Mick
  • 10-07-21

American narration 😞

As clearly as the works are present the American accent is hopeless as one for narration. the voice is clear bit incredibly boring. some of the points made by Feynman are not really anything new that hasn't been made already. I think he possible has a gift of explain things already explained in a more digestible way.

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  • LC
  • 08-31-21

Another amazing Feynman book

I found this one just as thought provoking, educational and enjoyable as the other Feynman books that I have listened to so far. Well worth listening to.

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  • Lucia Ramos
  • 01-31-15

You gotta love Feynman!

A great physicist, a great man, and above all, a great story teller!
He is really good and engaging. Really enjoyed this lectures

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alan Michael Forrester
  • 04-13-13

Good lectures

This is an audiobook of some lectures given by Feynman on methodology in science and on politics. The narrator reads it clearly. If you want to know what Feynman thought about these subjects you should listen to it.

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  • vh
  • 06-26-19

Overall Enriching.

Pretty solid attempt at demystifying scientific knowledge for the average citizen as well as those of higher education.