Get Your Free Audiobook

A Short History of Nearly Everything

Narrated by: Bill Bryson
Length: 5 hrs and 48 mins
Categories: History, World
4.5 out of 5 stars (169 ratings)

Non-member price: $28.11

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    121
  • 4 Stars
    40
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    113
  • 4 Stars
    34
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    106
  • 4 Stars
    37
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An aptly titled book.

As the title suggests, this short book covers a multitude of interesting topics. So much so that it is often an information overload. I have a feeling I'll be listening to this one 2 or 3 more times at least.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

not bad.

not bad. true to subject. theres better. my fifteen words are nearly up. nearly up. finally.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Solid

A good book to listen to here and there. It can be resumed whenever you have the time and is simple to follow. The book gives a great insight into how we got to where we are today.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb!

Fascinating from start to finish. Beautifully read by the author. Sublimely uplifting and thought provoking.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

love this book

If i could remember 10% of the facts within I would appear much more intelligent

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jenny
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 02-10-2017

Educational and awe-inspiring

Bill Bryson has gathered an astonishing amount of information for this "short history". He has then managed the remarkable feat of presenting it in a way that is readily accessible to a general audience.

It was a pleasure to listen to it and be reminded of how much we know as well as how much we don't know about (to quote Douglas Adams) "Life, The Universe and Everything".

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating from start to finish

Thank you Bill for making my morning and evening commutes to and from work so interesting and informative. Loved reading this book many years ago and now enjoyed listening to it again.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Unputdownable

my 45 minute drive to work used to be a hassle but with this playing I wanted it to be a five hour drive.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A commentary on the universes history

Bill Bryson took me on a journey to scrape the surface of almost every field of science that has existed in our history. Their triumphs, shortcomings and peculiar stories of improbability. Would reccomend to anyone who has the desire to create a sizable, yet shallow breadth of knowledge into everything at once

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Get it

As entertaining and informative Carl Sagan/Neil Degrasse Tyson's cosmos in audio form. If i could have one person narrate the rest of my life to me, it would very much be bill.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chris
  • Chris
  • 22-09-2010

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).

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for William
  • William
  • 27-04-2010

Superb

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Andrew
  • Andrew
  • 02-03-2016

Much abridged but still good

This book constantly blows my mind in all it's forms - each page read or listened to is packed with facts, lots of which I don't understand fully which possibly makes them more impressive. I prefer Bryson's narration to that of the unabridged but people who aren't keen on his reading style are catered for with the full version. This is my go to book for sleepless nights - the sheer amount of data will either teach you something or put you to sleep.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kyle Thorburn
  • Kyle Thorburn
  • 07-12-2017

I just wish it was unabridged.

I really enjoyed this, the narration as well as the book itself was superb. I just wish it was unabridged.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Matt
  • Matt
  • 15-12-2010

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-06-2019

Great Listen!

Loved it! Such an interesting book.
I would recommend this to anyone who has a brain😄

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for J C Perrett
  • J C Perrett
  • 07-06-2015

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Toby
  • Toby
  • 13-04-2013

Great book

Awesome book to listen to, I look forward to listening to others in the short history series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kindle Customer
  • Kindle Customer
  • 31-05-2012

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Linda
  • Linda
  • 15-11-2010

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!).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful