This is a well researched and entertaining story. Bryson has an absolute knack for turning the boring into the interesting. It is clear that his interest and passion for this enormous subject grew during the construction of the book. Its a different Bill Bryson and I like it. BUT I am not a fan of the reader. OK I'm from Australia but I enjoy a lot of american reads. This one is very difficult to put up with for long stretches. It needs to be read with a fun lively attitude. Sadly this one did not. I have the printed book too which I love to pick up and read. If you can stand the reader, get the audio book!
I found the abridged version fascinating, and enjoyed the unabridged version even more, even though it is quite a marathon. The narrator does tend to be a bit dry, but not unbearably so.
I found it extremely fair and did great justice to the Creation vs Evolution debate, and covers and explains a vast array of human knowledge in a few hours.
My own conclusion is that the universe was created, AND it evolved, much in the same way as light is both a particle AND a wave. To insist on one or the other is simply bad science. Bill Bryson's book is well written and well read, and I'm glad I bought it.
Listening since 2004. Mystery, thrillers and anything that can blend with a walk, jog, exercise, long drive or a wait at the airport.
You will need a sharp memory to remember all the bits of information so that you can feel smart. And if you have a sharp memory it will make you an interesting conversationalist around a dinner table, the only advantage I see out of this book. The history of the earth cannot be heard effortlessly by folks like me accustomed to listening to Dan Brown of Grisham! Folks who watch National Geographic are welcome here. Well read, well written and interesting information but just not for all.
I loved the attempt to bring together into several strands a single narrative. It works well and convincingly to convey specialized concepts in accessible language. The only issue is with some if the accents which the narrator didn't convincingly pull off.
An amazing synopsis of the evolution of scientific thought combined with profound insights about the probable future. Bryson touches on both the glory and the folly of man.
I am no scientist but I could tell that at least a couple of topics were not up-to-date, which made me wonder about the rest.
It's an interesting listen on the most part. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on space and the universe, and later on in the book, on how humanity came to be. Many of the facts are astounding. Some parts are a bit tedious... there is a lot of gossip-column-worthy information about many of the scientists, which I could have done without.
Warning: if you're not a germaphobe, the chapter on bacteria might turn you into one.
The narrator is good, besides when he's trying to do an Australian accent.
yes read and listened prefer to listen
too many to list
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great starter for anyone wanting to know more about the world and universe
I have just finished this book and I am about to listen to it for a second time which I have never done with a previous book. So many interesting facts and figures that they don't all sink in the first time. For anybody with even a passing interest in science and global warming this is a must read. William Roberts breezy style of reading is just right to keep the listener interested through what is quite complicated subject matter in places. I wish my science teachers at school had made the subjects this interesting.
I would guess that this is a good book, for someone who is not too much (or too deep) into science and wants to get an rough overview about various sciences and their development throughout history. However, for myself I found, that most of the facts and insights explained here I already knew from school. It covers only very, very basic principles. What I did like were the anecdotes about some of the important historic figures. That's why I gave it 3 stars: a bit shallow, but still a well written (and well read) book.