Get Your Free Audiobook

A Short History of Nearly Everything

Narrated by: Bill Bryson
Length: 5 hrs and 48 mins
Categories: History, World
4.6 out of 5 stars (221 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 listeners say about A Short History of Nearly Everything

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    159
  • 4 Stars
    50
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    140
  • 4 Stars
    41
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    131
  • 4 Stars
    44
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 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 person found this 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 person found this helpful

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

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".

1 person found this helpful

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

Spectacular

Being able to laugh through a book about the sciences’ many forms since the beginning of science and beyond was something I only thought possible if I were laughing at myself for lack of understanding. This is both brilliantly written and narrated. Engaging, informative, well researched and witty. In awe and humility, I give this eye opener a score of 11/10. Absolute pleasure.

  • 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

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

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David S
  • David S
  • 23-07-2017

Abridged!

Nothing indicated this was abridged until the closing credits. My only disappointment. I had read this before and some of my favorite parts were missing.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bloodpickle
  • Bloodpickle
  • 17-01-2019

Do not buy this is a short version, not full

Was really disappointed when I realized how much of the actual book was cut from this sham of an audio book

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Carolyn
  • Carolyn
  • 23-01-2012

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Layne
  • Layne
  • 12-08-2020

Wtf soooo much is cut out

I am VERY disappointed as I didn't realize how much was is cut out of this version. It barely makes any sense anymore. I just want the full version.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Arnold
  • Arnold
  • 12-04-2019

Engaging read

absurd amount of knowledge. condensed without losing any of the interesing bits. communicating in an easy way to understand.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Louis-Philippe
  • Louis-Philippe
  • 20-03-2019

disapointing

i was expecting a lot more of out this book. not that interesting hor entertaining.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-01-2019

Interesting but really tough to follow

Listened to this on my 1hr commutes. Lots of details with many names and dates, long sentences with above average vocabulary..i.e. words that the average person doesn't understand. Gave up after 2 chapters

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mouchizz
  • Mouchizz
  • 03-08-2018

Best books i ever heard

loved it! best science book ive read in a long time. taught me a lot.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for User01
  • User01
  • 22-04-2018

Overall good captivating subject and presentation

some what expected from title it's a general overview for people to these subject , good flow and captivating .

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Uwais
  • Uwais
  • 14-08-2017

Great primer on the history of the world

Very interesting content. Primarily about how the universe, galaxies, earth was created and then moves onto some of the most important discoveries made about living things. The authors voice is a bit monotone and at times the content is packed with names of discoverers, academics, etc., which makes it a bit difficult to follow. All in all a good audiobook.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for helly
  • helly
  • 10-06-2020

Be Warned : not the full book

This is not a criticism of the book which is excellent and extremely enjoyable. It is a review of this audio version. I love hearing Mr. Bryson reading from his books so even though I have the print copy of this, I decided to get the audio version. Unfortunately it is a somewhat cut down version of the book. This is not mentioned anywhere in the book description, and as the image used is the cover of the original printed version I feel it is very misleading. I would estimate that this covers less than half of the original :-(

10 people found this helpful

  • 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).

5 people found this 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.

5 people found this 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 people found this 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 people found this 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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for JCB
  • JCB
  • 20-07-2020

Abridged version - less than 1/3rd of the book!

I read the book when it came out but wanted to listen to it some purchased this through Audible. When the book finished after just a short time, less than 6 hours. I expected it to be longer than that. On investigation there is another version of the audiobook which is over 18 hours long. Nowhere does this mention it is abridged until the final credits of the audiobook. As this cost a credit, the same as the unabridged version, when I have now bought. Deceitfull is an apt word for this!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for TeeJay
  • TeeJay
  • 15-05-2020

WARNING: Seriously abridged!

Be very wary, this is not the full book, it is not even close, it is very abridged. There is no indication in the description or on the cover, which is misleadingly identical to that of the real book! This is a VERY brief history of nearly everything. The full unabridged version is available from Audiable and is so,so much better. Don't make the mistake I made by getting the wrong version! Only getting 30% of such a great book just does not cut the mustard. Search again!

1 person found this 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 person found this 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 person found this helpful