So far I’ve mentioned two New Year’s Resolutions: my main one, phrased as the question “Why deny myself the pleasure?” about not letting small annoyances spoil my enjoyment, and my desire to read more books in the place of online articles. In pursuit of that second resolution I’ve gotten s little over a quarter of the way through The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left by Yuval Levin, a serious, serious conservative intellectual who writes for National Review sometimes and who made an appearance on Jonah Goldberg’s podcast “The Remnant” recently. (I think I’ve just broken my own record for the number of links in a paragraph. Feel free to ignore them, but I would, as a sidenote, recommend the podcast. Be aware that Jonah does a fair amount of umming and what I can only describe as giggling, which can get a little annoying. I’ll be sharing more insights and books from his program; once you get past his mannerisms he’s very worthwhile.)
One of these days I’m going to write about the book by Richard Feynmann that actually has the title of this post. That’s a truly great book about a truly great genius, who absolutely and positively refused to be guided by other people’s opinions.
This book, though, is about someone, actually two someones, whose whole lives were bound up in caring about what other people thought of them. While there is indeed a murder and a mystery in this book,