Bill Bryson takes his travel journal charm and peels back the curtain on the history of science and our understanding of life, our planet and the cosmos. He manages to balance the explanation of the discovery and place it in context without feeling overwhelmed with the data dump. ASHoNE is perhaps a little more accessible than the already brilliantly accessible works by Brian Greene but with greater breadth. I would recommend this to anyone who has curiosity about science, where we come from and the nature of the universe. It would be a great companion to the Cosmos television series (both new and old).
I'd rank the book in my top 10 but top 5 as an audiobook. Richard Matthews narration is the reason I've listened to the entire book 4 times (the last time was at 1.5x).
I'd compare this book to Neil Degrasse Tyson's book "Death by Black Hole". They both gave a layman's description of science with a fair amount of humor.
Richard Matthew's performance is why I ranked this book in my top 5.
Everything under the suns
A humorous journey through the history of science highlighting many of the key contributors to the field as well as their quirkiness.
I am a retired science educator. As such, I easily remember most of the names dropped into this narrative....like old friends. But finding them in one sweeping overview of the natural sciences was like a thrilling journey. In the hands of master story teller Bryson, the history became a lively tale of what is known, what is probable, and what is left to be discovered. I loved the book, and I know that I will listen again. I can't stop thinking about the way the planet has and will continue to change.
I think I might have responded even better had it been read by someone with a less of a formal lecture style. But Richard Matthews gave a flawless performance.
For curious people.
Claire Peterson beat the big oil companies to remove lead from gasoline.
Covered everything I'm interested in and things I didn't know I was interested in.
I'm a dyslexic reader, and this book would have been impossible to read traditionally due to so much technical information. I really enjoyed listening to it though.
I learned so much about all kinds of things and found it interesting--I don't think I would have enjoyed reading the book as much as I did listening
I really enjoyed hearing about all of the characters behind some of the great discoveries and what happened to them (and their discoveries)
Articulate and not overly dramatic
Bryson's view of how we as human's are not the best protectors of our own world
No, it is too much information, but I enjoyed it spread over a couple of months
I'm a biologist, but have always been embarrassed by how weak my geology is! This book was fun because it filled in a lot of holes in my scientific knowledge with at least some basic facts, and included how scientists figured out what we know.
Listening while I walk my dogs.
Though I didn't read the print version, I'm more of an auditory learner and found the concepts much more graspable than if I had read the actual book.
This reminded me of a non-religiously charged book that might've been written by Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens.
Perfect choice of narrator. The flow and musicality of his voice perfectly matches what the content demands.
How did we get here?
This was a great book that I was able to have as accompaniment on walks with my dog for about 3 consecutive weekends. It is a lot of introductory or refresher material about the history and major discoveries of science but presented in such a way as to be interesting to the learned and neophyte alike.
I love the narrator's voice. Such clarity. I am looking for more books narrated by him.
Only Bill Bryson can write about something so technical and dry and make it so interesting. It's fascinating materials and I just can't even imagine what kind of research he has to do to make sense out of all these topics? How did scientists figure out how old is the earth, how heavy is the earth, how large is the universe, how small is a particle...Having listened to that actually makes me what to go back to study these topics more.
I just picked this up on a whim. Loved it! For those of you who enjoy science I think you will too. It is basically a cliff notes version of every science class you ever took packed into a single book—chemistry, biology, physics, geology, paleontology, etc. Excellent narration and pace.
I enjoy sci-fi, fantasy, non-fiction, historical fiction genres. Liked Stormlight, Mistborn, GoT. Last read: Shadows of Self
If you like to learn things and understand how things work in the areas off cosmology, archaeology, biology, physics, chemistry, geology, then read this. Great stuff. Obviously a lot of names and information that you would ever remember. But some important bits stick and you learn more. This is how books should be where they teach you in a fun way. Bryson's way of moving from one area to other is so seamless that you dont even realize that you moved from cosmology to geology in the same chapter.
Very well narrated as well.