Great book that gives a short history of nearly everything (obviously). If you're interested in how we know what we know, this is the book for you. Highly recommended.
Best science book since Guns, Germs, and Steel. Bill Bryson follows the history of chemistry, geology, physics, and biology. He finds interesting human stories of the eccentric scientists and many amateurs who drove scientific progress. It made me realize how much scientific understanding has changed even during my lifetime. DNA was not well understood until the 1970s and the 'dinosaur extinction by a comet' theory was still highly controversial in the late 1980s.
When picking out this book I was hoping to get a broad education on a wide variety of topics. Contrary to my expectations, and the title of the book, this is a rather in-depth history of science. Most of the book is dedicated to three disciplines: physics, chemisty, and geology. If those are the things that get you out of bed in the morning and you want a load of detail on each, this is the book for you. If you are a typical Discovery Channel or History Channel buff like me, you will likely find this a let down.
I picked this book because of the excellent rating it received. I wouldn't say this was book I couldn't put down...I would say I looked forward to picking it back up again.
The narrator Richard Matthews was OUTSTANDING. It's hard to imagine at this point listening to this without him reading it.
I do recommend this book...enjoy
Read the book about 3 years ago and enjoyed immensely about 80% of it (couldn't get into the chemistry sections). Got the audio to refresh myself on the science and enjoyed it as much as the book. One criticism. Bryson goes out of his way to make the text accessable and enjoyable to we non-science minds. He does this by eschewing the formality of a textbook. The reader of the audiobook, however, has a very "formal" british accent. For me that detracted from the studied informality of Bryson's effort. Most amusing was when the British accented reader was reading Bryson's text that makes fun of Edwin Hubble for his pompous (and in Hubble's case) phony British accent.
This is possibly the most interesting, informative book I've read in years. I learned so much, and was blown away by many of the facts. Bryson has such a great style, very accessable and very interesting throughout. And Matthews is a master of his craft. The perfect combination, and an incredible result!
If you own any audiobook, you MUST own this one. This is what Audible wants from all it's audiobooks. It's deep, witty, endlessly addictive to listen to and brilliantly written by Bryson.
I owned the abridged version at first, which was amusingly narrated by Bryson himself. It was good, Bryson was effective in his delivery but the unabridged version is perfection. The narrator is glib, articulate and just serious enough to give the many Bryson humorous tidbits the dryly stinging delivery they need.
I've listened to this book hundreds of times, learning something new every time I hear bits and pieces of its 18+ hours of dialogue.
save your credits....boring. i listened to part 1, hoping things would improve but after listening to the begining of part 2, i surrender. what a waste of 2 credits.
This is one of my favorite audio books and I have many. I keep coming back to listen when I'm bored. The narrator is great, too. Learn a little about everything.