Get a free audiobook

Genius

The Life and Science of Richard Feynman
Written by: James Gleick
Narrated by: Dick Estell
Length: 20 hrs and 5 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

From the author of the national best seller Chaos comes an outstanding biography of one of the most dazzling and flamboyant scientists of the 20th century that "not only paints a highly attractive portrait of Feynman but also . . . makes for a stimulating adventure in the annals of science." (The New York Times).

©1993 James Gleick (P)2011 Random House

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
No reviews are available
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Douglas
  • 2013-04-07

Wonderful Biography!

Like Bird & Sherwin's biography of Oppenheimer, Farmelo's account of Dirac, and Issacson's book on Einstein, Gleick's tome on Feynman brings to life the man whom one of his colleagues called "50% genius, 50% buffoon"--and then amended his comment to "100% genius, 100% buffoon!" Lots of personal accounts of the wacky, intense genius that Feynman was, with wonderful details of his work and how he helped to recreate science in the nearly mystical world of quantum mechanics.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • J B Tipton
  • 2011-02-14

Feynman Life and Science

This book is half biography and half science. Feynman was one of a kind and had a remarkable career. You can???t help thinking that this is how brains are supposed to work. The science exposition is clear and easy to follow. The narrator is a perfect match to the material.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Laurie
  • 2011-02-10

So glad to have this in audio...

I've adored this book since it was first published. I am so happy to have it on audio now. The narration is pretty flat, and I'm not entirely sure about some of the pronunciations (Pretty sure I.I. Rabi is "Rah-bee" not "Rab-eye") but glad to have it nonetheless. Eagerly awaiting Gleick's newest!

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Craig Mcguire
  • 2013-10-04

Story: Great - Reading: Annoying and embarrassing

Would you consider the audio edition of Genius to be better than the print version?

I suspect that reading this book on my own would have been preferable to this lacklustre reading. If the non-nuanced drone did not lull you to sleep; perhaps, it was from the jolt of the plethora of mispronunciations - names and common words - detritus, for example. An editor would have been helpful; Estell should realize that we are blushing with him. Despite the reading, I felt both entertained and edified by this biography. A five star awaiting another opportunity.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Marc Wilhelm
  • 2012-02-08

Ok, that's the last straw...Dess Carts?

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes, in print or by a different narrator.

What other book might you compare Genius to and why?

This is a fantastic biography of a great scientist and human, ruined by bad narration.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator reads everything like a Sunday-school teacher reading out of a children's bible. He mispronounces scientific words and historical figures incessantly! This narration is a bad joke.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

In a heartbeat.

Any additional comments?

I'm sure the narrator is a nice guy, but this book did not suit him. The audio director also needs to wake up!

20 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Daniel
  • 2013-03-06

Great Book, Bad Performance and Editing

Would you consider the audio edition of Genius to be better than the print version?

No

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Dick Estell?

I was embarrassed for Dick Estell and any Editors attached to this recording. Do some research; Show some respect both to the author and those great minds represented in this book.

Any additional comments?

I hope in the future Audible will re-record this Audiobook.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Karl
  • 2011-04-22

Good General Biography, Reader a Bit Lacking

This is a good general-purpose biography of the physicist Richard Feynman. Given that it's written for the average reader, it doesn't go into great depth about the Feynman's work. It does, however, give a good feel for Physics during the time that Feynman was beginning his career, notably during the period when he was working at Los Alamos. The beginning skips around quite a bit providing some background, so be patient, it does get around to Feynman's life. The only issue is with the reader. He manages to mis-pronounce a fair number of names in the book and someone should have taken the time to edit the performance so as to catch the mispronounciations in the mathematics and physics terms (e.g., "matrices" is *not* pronounced "matresses".)

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • 2011-10-14

Mispronounced names!

One my pet peeves about some audio books is a narrator who doesn't bother to learn the pronunciation of names, but just wings it. I am not too far in, but already he calls Murray Gell-Mann "Jel Man" as though he were describing some man made of jelly. Gell is properly pronounced as the 'gel' in the first syllable of gelding, and the vowel in Mann is of the 'ah" variety. This sort of thing REALLY annoys me even although the book itself is quite good.

18 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • 2015-09-12

What I cannot review, I do not understand

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool."
- Richard Feynman

"Physics is like sex: sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it."
- Richard Feynman

Feynman was lucky in three ways. First, the guy was born with a brain that somehow gave him access to problems with a speed and a dexterity that seemed magical to his peers, and his peers are people that already often stretched the capacity for knowledge and intelligence. Second, Feynman was lucky to be born at the right time. He came into his abilities at the right moment for Physics. He was there when physicists (post Einstein's relativity) seemed to grab a larger piece of global attention. Third, Feynman was lucky to have participated in WWII's war of the magicians (Los Alamos and the Atomic Bomb). All of these things combined with Feynman's iconoclastic nature, his perseverance and single-mindedness, his capacity to get to the root of problems, put Feynman second to Einstein in 20th century minds.

The book itself is a very good example of scientific biography. Gleick doesn't stray, however, too far from the anecdotal autobiography of Feynman in Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character. Gleick elaborates, provides more detail, adds interesting vignettes on other Physicists that fell into Feynman's orbit (Wilson, Oppenheimer, Dyson, Dirac, Bohr, Schwinger, Gell-Mann, etc). Those diversions and Gleick's occasional riffs on the idea of genius keep this from being just an average scientific biography. It also was a bit stronger and more robust than Gleick's earlier work: Chaos: Making a New Science.

All that said, it still wasn't an AMAZING biography. I appreciated the time spent on the details. The accuracy and notes associated with this book, but a lot of the magic of the book existed in Feynman himself and not in the telling of it.

16 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David Chadwick
  • 2012-09-08

My Hero!

I am grateful that James did this, for I learned many new things. I have read many other books about Feynman, and have had that 'I'll eat it cause it's on the plate' feeling about the last few. I feel that way about this too, cause of all the revisited material, but Gleick fills in so many gaps that it is still very refreshing. Mind you all: If you are new to Feynman, this would be one of the most comprehensive books ever written on him! It covers all the old and much new material. This is for everyone!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful