The title sums it up quite well
All of his analogies and metaphors, I can't believe it only took Bill Bryson three years to make the book.
A book about the origins of the sciences, with (shock) context!
It's a great listen. I got a little turned off when he got into the section on Evolution, which I don't happen to subscribe to, but was ultimately pleased that it was handled in such a balanced way.
For every other section, it was one fascinating story after another, and it does something no other science text in my experience has done: it includes the human factor. Not just in the context of the discoveries, but also the failures, mistakes in judgement, erroneous conclusions, misinterpretations, wars of ego and prestige, world-altering-revelations, and everything else that makes the scientific method so subjective.
And it really paints a clear picture of just how much there is left to discover.
Well worth the time and credit. The narration by Richard Matthews was superb, and really brought the material to life.
One of the very best.
The book made me aware of my real place in this world and how important it is to focus on the continuity of our world as a whole rather then our own insignificant problems and issues.
The book truly made me gain perspective on myself and the world I live in.
An absolute "must listen", especially for those amount us who are looking to understand a scientific perspective on where we and our world originated from.
Bill bryson brings clarity and historical to a large variety of scientific explanations that painfully needed them.
No need to listen again
Not that I can remember, so maybe I should listen again
I can listen to this multiple times because there is so much information provided in such a delightful way that I can't seem to keep track of it all. Both the writing and the narration keep it real. I look forward to my next opportunity to listen to it again!
I love this book.... I think I've listened to it 4 times now and will probably listen again every couple of years going forward. Each time something else strikes me as important, new, interesting, funny or just plain crazy. Bryson is the best at what he does!
The text gets an A. Richard Matthews's reading gets an A. Audible's packaging gets a D-. The material is divided into three books, each of which is titled "A Short History of Near..." on my computer and iPhone. I made my purchase during a quick meal stop on a road trip and somehow only download the 2nd of three parts of the book, a fact which I didn't discover until on the road and was unable to correct until the next day. Ironically, the arbitrary division into 3 separate books is so it's "easier to download". Each of the 3 books is arbitrarily subdivided into five "chapters"--utterly unrelated to the book's chapters and having their breaks occur amid paragraphs. Each of these "chapters" is over an hour long, so woe be to you if you accidentally hit the forward or back button. It'll take you 15 minutes to find the spot where you were.
Yes, he covers a LOT of information
Many of the quotes from scientists and the circumstances they found themselves in were quite funny and the narrator did a very good job with the delivery of the dry humor.
I found this book to be a little slow at first and hard to get into. As a result, it sat in my library for a while before I started listening again. This time I listened to it while working and found myself enjoying it quite a bit. Filled with lots of science facts that are not widely known, some even a bit embarassing, I found myself not wanting it to end. Highly recommended for those who enjoy science and history.
The science is simplified and sometimes incomplete but then just as you are thinking that you know all of this stuff already, he hits you with his mastery of story telling and humor. Example: "They climbed into the dish and placed duct tape over every seam and rivet. They climbed back into the dish with brooms and scrubbing brushes and carefully swept it clean of what they referred to in a later paper as "white dielectric material," or what is known more commonly as bird shit."
Basically you may not learn much new information but it's told with personality, which is rare.
He allows the full personality of the writing to come though. Excellent job.
I know how/where to fill in the gaps in the cosmology portion of the book but someone new to the subject may walk away with more questions than answers. Mr Bryson's purpose of the book is to do the opposite. I think a simple suggestion would be to point the reader/listener to specific papers if they are interested in knowing the details of the given subject.