Many times in the last five years, I’ve been asked: “If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be?”
My answer is always the same: Richard Feynman.
Right alongside Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic, Feynman’s book Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character) hugely impacted every aspect of my thinking when I first read them circa 2005. Since then, I have studied Feynman’s letters, teaching style, discoveries, and beyond. How many Nobel Prize winners also safe crack and play bongos in bars for fun?
The above video will give you an taste of why I love Richard Feynman. It was forwarded to me by Brew Johnson and J.R. Johnson, whom I owe huge thanks, as I’d somehow missed it. About the program, Professor Sir Harry Kroto, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, said:
“The 1981 Feynman Horizon is the best science program I have ever seen. This is not just my opinion – it is also the opinion of many of the best scientists that I know who have seen the program… It should be mandatory viewing for all students, whether they be science or arts students.”
Feynman’s makes me want to be a better teacher and, ultimately, a world-class parent (you’ll see what I mean). A few notes on the video:
- I first watched this in 10-minute bites before bed. There’s no need to watch it all at once.
- :30-:38 is fascinating physics, but physics nonetheless. He does a masterful job of getting lay people excited (his cadence helps a lot), but skip if needed, rather than missing what follows.
- :40+ explains part of his teaching philosophy, which greatly influenced how I outline my books.
- His concept of “active irresponsibility” is worth remembering.
May you all experience the pleasure of finding things out, starting here with a closer look at a most curious character: Richard Feynman.
If you could have dinner anyone from any time in history, who would you choose and why? Assume you can’t tell anyone about the dinner, so bragging rights don’t apply. What would you want to learn, know, or experience?
Odds and Ends:
Tim Ferriss on Reddit AMA (answering some controversial questions, too)
The 4-Hour Chef site – Brand-new and soon getting more. Some of the copy is placeholder text, but it give you an idea.
Posted on: April 19, 2012.