This book was extremely enlightening and a must read for anyone. The author explains the development of the major branches of science in terms that everyone can understand. The way the material is presented is very entertaining as well.
This could be a dry topic, but Bryson's writing is so good, and he presents everything so simply and from the perspective of everyman, that I looked forward to turning on my MP3 player and listening to more. He brings up hundreds of obscure and fascinating tales of the early modern scientists, and focuses on the human aspect as much as the discovery or invention. Who knew scientists led such interesting lives?
This gives a very accurate and entertaining representation of .... well.... nearly everything! It is an exploration of science, but it is more heavily weighted into the physical sciences (physics, astronomy and the like). It does cover a lot of the biological science, but mainly on a macroscopic level. DNA and mitochondria are discussed, but there is not much on physiology - which is good because that is not the focus of this book. I would absolutely LOVE it if Bryson would try to tackle that subject. He has the ability to clarify many subjects without diluting the information to any significant degree - he hits the important highlights.
I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone interested in the would around us and inside of us.
Having been my first audiobook that I downloaded, this is a marvelous work. It starts off with an introduction that grabs you, and then takes you through a splendid journey through the sciences, with a background of each of the discoverers of the new learning. Every scientist has their own story, and this book takes the listener on a magical trip through the hows and whys each of these things were found. Honestly, I always believed that most discoveries were accidental or a person with keen insight was given the chance to discover the mysteries of the universe, or even their own backyard. This book simply confirms this.
My two detractions from the book are such:
The first is that most of the great scientists of the past (Newton, et al.) are portrayed as men who got it right for their time, but were eventually disproven by others (Einstein, in this case), but the facts of today are taken as hard facts (such as global warming, which, until about 20 years ago, we were thought to be going into an ice age...), not to be disproven. It would seem, by this logic, that we are merely holders of the current truth, only to be refuted by future generations and further collection of data. This is a minor point, but should be mentioned.
The second misgiving about this book is that it it too short! 15 CD's and I wanted another 300! If you like the smooth English voice of the narrator (check out the sample), be ready, and hope for a long drive so you can enjoy the fact filled fun of this tome! Extremely highly recommended!
This is a book for you if you like details and facts in abundance. Well read and fantastic to listen to again and again. 5 Stars.
This was the best book that I have ever listened to. It was extremely well read (by Richard Matthews) and was extravegently entertaining with that typical Bryson way of meandering about his subject in a quircky but highly informative way. Even at 17 hours, it seemed too short. I will be listening to it many more times.
I ordered the abridged version first and loved it. Then I ordered the unabridged version and felt cheated by the abridged version. More is definately better with Bill Bryson.
If you have a general interest in the sciences, then this book is for you. Some topics were of much more interest to me than others, but collectively I found the entire book a pleasure to listen to.
It doesn't get any better than this. Fun, informative, beautifully narrated. Every student should listen to this before they're admitted to high school--America would have many more scientists. I'm looking forward to Bryson's next book -- A LONG History of EVERYTHING.