Feynman’s Rainbow is written as a series of stories of Mlodinow himself figuring out how and why physics works and academia works interspersed with pages of direct quotes from Feynman.
Best parts of the book: Feynman talking about why he does science, Feynman describing his first love Arlene, Feynman scolding Mlodinow about Mlodinow’s reasons for choosing one research area over any other. It’s an active book. You hear the two characters Mlodinow and Feynman talking. It’s nice.
Surprising parts of the book: The string theory explanantion was surprisingly interesting. Also, just how much of a kid Feynman was – was surprisingly interesting. Just that he had to take everything apart and put it back together himself before believing it.
One of the best messages: Do what you love, man. Because otherwise, there could come a time when you’re looking at the ceiling and you have no reason for doing what you do. Avoid that, love it in the first place.
(Messages are personal, what a person gets out of a book is usually quite personal, so this is just one of the best messages).
Reading this book also made me go back to the library and immediately check out the two great books of stories that Feynman wrote about his own life: Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman and What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character.