A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson’s quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. His challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science.
It's not so much about what we know, as about how we know what we know. How do we know what is in the centre of the Earth, or what a black hole is, or where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out?
On his travels through time and space, Bill Bryson takes us with him on the ultimate eye-opening journey and reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.
©2003 Bill Bryson (P)2003 Random House Audiobooks
The book is extremely well written and quite well narrated. Covers off on the major scientific spheres, and the current understanding of the earth, it's natural processes, and the history of the cosmos. Avoids the cultural, political and religious spheres in the main, but overall a comprehensive look in an understandable manner of the current scientific knowledge and the major leaps and bounds along the way. Thoroughly enjoyable to listen to.
If you ever get around to reading just one book from cover to cover then this should be it.
This book touches on so many great things in not only human history but goes back to the dawn of time. Although it's getting a little old (2003) it is still very much relevant and in nearly all matters current.
It is a brilliant piece of writing. Do yourself a favor and read it.
Bill Bryson wonderfully creates (and narrates) an engaging recount of the history of science, including its overwhelming triumphs and also controversies and falsehoods.
"If you only own one audio book, this is it!"
This book was a little hard going as text but completely comes to life when read by Bill Bryson. I love it and have listened to it several times.
"Fun Detailed and Ironic"
Get all of time with no stone unturned, or connection missed, all time in all its contrasts, ironies, and paradigms. The facts come as surprises as a smooth narrative plays with the truth blowing in the winds of change and chance.
This must be my favorite book ever I have read it 7 times and own 3 copies and now an audio version as well. Loved that it was read by the author and wished I knew Bill Bryson then I could own a signed copy as well! I recommend it to anyone who loves natural sciences combined with some fun wit and explanations.
"An easy understanding towards the knowing world."
Easy to understand... anekdotes...insight of the world of exploration and research. A very lovely book tot discover. I loved it!
"True to the title"
Very informative and geeky yet really easy to follow, there's a subtle sense of humour throughout the book that makes it all the more enjoyable. If you're into sciencey/historic books but can't stand the booooring tone of most educational books, this one will keep you hooked.
This is by far the most interesting and well performed science history book I have ever come upon. I've listened to it at least 10 times already, and will probably enjoy it another 10 times before I'm through.
This is unfortunately only kind of highlights of the full story, and if you crave the rest you will have to settle with a different narrator with a serious British accent.
"An amazing summary of it all."
He's really good at explaining everything in basic terms so everyone can understand and think about the world as we thought we knew it.
"History lessons you will enjoy"
I would listen to it again. It has lots of cool facts that you forget and dont mind hearing again.
History of science to put it shortly. It told interesting facts about the innovation we take granted nowadays.
Fun, Factual, Interesting
No I dit not.
I love this stuff – if you are Discovery Channel / National Geographic / Big Bang Theory / History of the World / Science Buff like I am, you’ll love this book too.
Bryson’s writing makes it even more enjoyable because it’s far from dry-science. His narration is clear, clever, comprehensible and even a little comical at times… you don’t feel like you are rereading your High School text books over again!!!
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Author – Bill Bryson
Genre – Science, Popular Science, Non-fiction, Humour, History, Physics, Geology, Paleontology, Anthropology
Source - Audiobook
Rating - 5
I have been having great luck with books in recent times. Or maybe I am easy to please. But really, this book here is a definite read-this-now. The dexterity is not in the physics, the geology and paleontology and anthropology, a fair bit of which (gloat gloat) I was in the know of, but in the presentation. Bryson is an awesome storyteller, and he weaves these superb, fun, and exceedingly funny stories around the mysteries of nature and creation and the men and women who solved these mysteries for us – this is the perfect book to read beforehand if you are planning to babysit a particularly inquisitive nephew or niece.
"I love it"
I have had this audiobook for several months and have listened to it many times. I personally do not understand the criticism some people have made of the book being boring etc. I have read the physical book also and think this is a very interesting work throughout...but then maybe that is just me and my love of trivia.
Bill Brysons enthusiasm and wit permeate every page of this book. The awards and paudits it has received are well deserved. The audio book races along at a good pace and the narrator captures the dryness of Brysons humour.
The book seeks to explain, in an accessible way, how science got to where it is today, some of the false trails that were followed and what is still unknown. Bill Bryson starts from the standpoint of his own youthful wonder at how scientists could possibly know what they did. His book is a personal voyage of discovery - the viewpoint of an enthusiastic layperson.
"Lighter work that the paper version"
I tried reading this book, but frankly, struggled somewhat.
As for the audiobook, Bill Bryson?s (own) enthusiastic voice and light-hearted approach to unveiling a short history of scientific discoveries, held me entertained for many hours during my long commute to and from work.
What?s brilliant about the audiobook is that if you miss something or don?t quite grasp something first time around, then it?s easy to just skip back a little and listen again. I found Bryson?s language and style to be pitched just right ? neither too highbrow nor the opposite, such that I have already listened through twice.
One final note, being first published in 2003, there are aspects of the book that are already beginning to date ? or rather, there?s a noticeable absence of more up to date references here and there. For example, in his overview of particle physics, as a listener you?re dying to hear a witty Bryson quip about the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (which of course wasn?t around when he wrote the book). I?m left hoping that Bryson will update this history, but don?t be put off ? it?s still an excellent, mind blowing short history of nearly everything (scientific).
"If you have to only read one book ... this is it! "
This book was a great listen and aptly named. I will retread. Doesn't lecture at you or condescend, just lays out information in a palatable manner. Highly recommended.
Awesome book to listen to, I look forward to listening to others in the short history series.
"Enjoyed this more than I thought I would"
I choose this audio book after my brother recommended. I wasnt convinced - but I gave it ago and got into it after a while. I was sorry in the end that I had chosen the abridged version - as its all the same when you have a credit - and its the kind of book you can do in chunks.
"Even I understood this!!"
I have this book in hardback and it was one of the ones I was 'going to read' - having read the first 5 or so pages I thought I was going to enjoy it but never got around to reading it. After suffering sleepless nights, to stop myself getting up and wondering around the house I downloaded this as my first book. I have tried to read Marcus Chown and Stephen Hawking - so far to no avail. I found Bill Bryson easy on the ear and very listenable. I enjoyed it immensely - and I could understand it - all of it - even the bits about atoms!! It's true Quantum Mechanics cannot hurt you and it hurts you even less if you start with an introduction from Bill Bryson. He is down to earth and humerous and I could listen to his voice all night (and have done!).
"Gotta love a bit of Bill."
The story of everything, what's not to love?
If you don't take life too seriously but also enjoy learning about life's mysteries, then I would happily recommend this, or indeed any of Bill Bryson's work.
"A glorious book!"
This book is gorgeous! I read the paperback before buying the audio book, and it is enhanced further by the warm friendly tones of Bill Bryson's voice. This book is full of truely fascinating facts, and has deepened my understanding of, well, nearly everything!
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