This book was purchased for pure entertainment while driving long distance. I'd recommend to those with some broad interest in science and perhaps to use as a source of ideas for further reading. It's mostly anglo-centric, which isn't really a minus in the context the book is presented, I suppose.
This book presents a complicated subject matter in a very entertaining fashion. It seemed to me to be a blend of scientific fact and some presumption. He makes huge presumptions at various points, but that is not a problem if you discern where this occurs. Much of this book is very educational, though I would characterize it more as entertainment.
The other reviewers that convinced me to buy this audiobook were right. The topics are fascinating. I will gladly listen to it again and again. My only complaint is the accent of the narrator. Some of the pronunciations are way too British. Since Bryson is American, it would be nice to have the American pronunciations instead.
A very well researched and extensive overview of everything from the creation of the solar system to the evolution of mankind. Listening to it, however, was drudgery. I kept checking how far into the 17 hours I had gotten and finally gave up after 12 or so. Even though this audio book is aimed at the non-scientist, I was still overwhelmingly bored by the constant stream of obscure scientists, dates, and other trivial minutiae.
I really enjoyed the premise of Mr. Bryson's book - bringing the history of science to the general public. Unfortunately, coming from a science background I was more interested in how the "science" was done and what the ramifications of each new piece of information are for humanity. While Bill does do some of this, he focuses a little more on the biographical details of the scientists themselves which, while interesting, sometimes risks losing the listener in long drawn out accounts of the scientists' relationships. If that's what you are looking for, it is a great listen. Either way, he does do a good job of summarizing "nearly everything" in a manageable volume that is both interesting and informative.
I really learned a lot of interesting scientific facts listening to this audiobook, but it should have only taken a few hours of audio for me to obtain that knowledge. The rest of this very lengthy audiobook is dedicated to telling you strange little details about the lives and personalities of obscure scientists who have been forgotten by history. This book would have been much better if it had focused more on the science and less on the people and events surrounding the discoveries of the scientific knowledge. If I heard one more story about two egotistical 19th century scientists battling it out for recognition of who discovered some rock first, I was going to lose my lunch.. or fall asleep. But the information you gain in between all of that is wonderful so I forced myself to stick it out. If this book had been entitled "A Brief History of the Personalities and Events Surrounding the Scientific Discoveries of Modern Man." and I had in fact been interested enough in that subject to purchase the book, I probably would have given it 5 stars.
I love every other book that I've read and heard by Bill Bryson.
I hated this book. It was so boring. The funny bits were far apart and would have been funnier in Bill's own voice.
Not read by Bill Bryson. Extremely boring.
English. Rich. But not as good as Bill's own.
I forced myself to finish it.
I thought his HOME book was interesting. But this one was painful. Most of the insights would be old for anyone who has a basic science background at about high school level.
I have listened to the first part of this interesting book yet. The book is not trying to explain theroies from scientific viewpoint, but to tell a story about the order and why and how part of these important inventions. I think it is one of the bests in explaining and telling all the history with the details of the consequences of theories and the events in lives of some important scientists. Besides these, the funny style is only a plus. It should be read and, thanks to Audible, listened by everyone who is engaged with science and techonology. If you want to know why and how important inventions happaned, and draw conclusions from why some of funny attempts of science have turned to be important discoveries, you will not be disappointed.