As a scientist, I often find books designed for the nonscientist to be oversimplified or simply wrong. This book is rigorously accurate while presenting the material with a clarity and precision that keeps you both interested and informed. I give this audio book the highest rating as the most enjoyable I have listened to of the past 30 audio books I have enjoyed.
The author is also the narrator, and he is excellent. He makes the subjects of particle physics, anthropology and geology exciting and he presents the material with a mixture of timeline and relevance that brings everything together. Only at the very end does he present his opinions about all this, and they are worth listening to, but regardless of your views, you will enjoy the book.
This is as good as it gets. You owe yourself a listen.
This is a fantastic book of perspective and in an odd way, filters stress from everyday life, leaving a seeping cup of tea that you can't wait to continue drinking.
Dregs, though! How much I've forgotten from school! This book is a ghastly reminder of all the facts and figures that somehow leaked out of the follicles of my scalp and into oblivion. On the other hand, much information in this book has been obtained since my school days long ago, and therefore, this book is chock full of very interesting and usable morsels of human history.
I keep trying to choose my favorite Bryson book, and he keeps making it increasingly difficult to do so, but maybe this little take on it will help you decide whether or not to buy it: you'll be the life of the party with all this stuff knocking around in your head waiting for the right moment in which to spring up and scck it to 'em (whoever 'em may be)! And, inevitably, it will come rolling out at just the right moment. Go ahead, get out the dusty punch bowl and give 'er a test spin.
When you do begin the book, just make sure that every time you hear a date or a name, mentally pin it up on the board with a big imaginary red thumb tack, because it's probably something you'll want to remember. I hate admitting having to do this, but it is, afterall, an audio book, which means presumbaly, you'll be doing other things besides reading when absorbing the information therein.
So thumb-tack away, because it's really, honestly, worth every penny and more. Enjoy, and share the information you've learned with 100 of your closest friends. It will give you all an awful lot to talk about. Just remember to warn then that they may end up exchanging their current favorite author for this one, so be prepared.
This book is absolutely unbelievable. It should be required for anyone outside of school as a sort of adult text book you actually want to learn from. Written (and read) in plain language, the science remains in the proper place for lay people: fascinating and awe-inspiring, not incomprehensible and tedious. If you're always interested in the world and the balance of life, get this audio-book.
This was a great book in every way...the topic, the writing, the narration, etc. I find this kind of stuff extremely fascinating and the author makes it even more interesting with his subtle sarcasm and quips. He starts out with some of the same cosmology material that's in Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of time but makes it a little more understandable and then gets down to more earthly things like geology, evolution, chemistry, and biology. He amazingly ties it all together giving you a wonderfully new perspective on human life on the planet Earth. Read this BEFORE (not instead of) the Stephen Hawking's book.
My only disappointment is that it is now available in the unabridged format and I will have to use another one of my credits to get it after spending one on the abridged version. No more abridged books for me, at least none by this author. I just hope the narrator is as good.
This is an excellent book! The author provides depth of detail without boring the reader. The book intertwines philosophy and fact so well that that when the book is finished you truly have a better understanding of "Nearly Everything." The author has a pleasant voice and is an easy listen. I recommend to all!
"A Physicist is an atom's way of thinking about the atom." - an anonymous quote from this book.
A collection of atoms named Bill Bryson has written a very enjoyable book in which he thinks about atoms, the big bang, the ocean floor, dinosaurs, e=mc2 and basically everything thing else important that would help you understand what scientists currently know about the universe and life within it. You'll learn a lot but you'll be startled by how much we still don't know and how much is just plain beyond most of us.
Bryson gets into biology, chemistry, geology, astronomy and physics and helps to explain all of this by writing with a wry sense of humor. The audiobook is read by a British gentlemen named Richard Matthews who adds a Monty Python-like sense of the absurd to everything. Bryson never gets too deep into the science of it all. Rather, he makes things interesting by delving into anecdotes about the colorful characters who are responsible for discovering everything we know so far. Since the 17th century, science has been littered with backstabbers, sexual deviants, self-mutilators, religious zealots, and stubborn blowhards. The stories behind the science turn out to be surprisingly entertaining.
I really learned a lot from this book and would have liked it to continue even further. That couldn't have been everything, right?
Everyone seems to agree that the narration of this audiobook is superb, and it is. As a science geek who loves non-fiction titles, this book was a joy. Unabridged, the book was never was boring, and it continued to weave a more and more complex - but simple - view of our universe. The connections and stories behind many of mankind's biggest discoveries and revelations is fascinating and often rather hilarious. The simple explanations to some of the more complex mechanics of our existence are a benefit for those who already understand these processes, as well as those who are learning about them for the first time. A real "eye-opener".
If you are looking for vastly detailed observations on scientific breakthroughs, this book isn't for you... the title says it all "A SHORT History of Nearly Everything" Despite its unabridged length it'll leave you wanting to know more, I would have been happy if the book was twice as long.
You'll also be left with a head full of great and interesting facts theat can bring on some interesting discussions with friends, or score you points on Jeopardy.
Four Stars... the only reason I don't give this 5 is simply because I've liked other books a bit more, however its the best non-fiction/science audiobook I have ever heard. Highly recommended.
Bill Bryson, the author, is an excellent writer and quite a good reader as well. The reading is charming and easy going even on topics that often boggle the mind. The book is basically the story of how we got the be where we are. It is the history, the story, of our planet and the life on our planet. It is not only a history of science but also a history of what we know (or think we know) and what we thought we knew. This story is told in an easy style with more than a little irreverence. You may hear information that you heard before but if you are not a student of the area it is an enchanting reminder.