This book has got to be one of my favorite books ever! The only thing I didn't like about the unabridged version was that I prefer hearing Bill Bryson read his own books. It just seems funnier to me. However, that was the only real complaint I had.
The best thing about this book is that it attempts (and succeeds in my opinion) to give the average non-scientist, everyday, regular person a brief explanation about basically everything that makes up the world around us.
I have always been a curious person but whenever I sat down to read about any of the sciences I could barely get past the first few chapters due to the book being way to dry or the fact that I couldn't understand most of the technical jargon. A friend of mine recommended this after I was ranting to her one day about the difficulties I was having. She told me that it would be perfect for me. A book about the sciences told from someone who had no experience in those fields. "He's normally a travel writer." she said. I told her that I would give it a try.
After a few more books that I attempted but couldn't finish, I picked this one up. Boy was I surprised! It was excellent! It's told by an author who has absolutely no background in sciences and so spent three years attempting to write a book for people like himself who had no real understanding of the world around them. Bryson talks about the history of science and the people who made the discoveries including some interesting quirks. There's nothing like receiving a Nobel prize for accidentally discovering cosmic radiation after you spent months trying to get rid of it so you could conduct your own experiments like Penzias and Wilson in 1964. Or discovering the first dinosaur bone, not recognizing that it was special and then losing it 100 years before the next one came around like the Reverend Plott.
Bryson succeeds in simplifying complex explanations down to something easily understood by the average person. If you have ever been interested in any of the sciences but can't bring yourself to read any of those mini-textbooks don't hesitate to pick up Bryson's Short History of Nearly Everything. I doubt you will be disappointed and you may even want to continue on to other books to find out more information.
Good Luck and Happy Reading!
Yes. It is very informative and interesting.
The discussion of Yellowstone and volcanoes.
When I fully realized that humans have been present on Earth for a relatively short period of time.
Its an amazing experience to ride from the 13.8 Billion years old nothingness to today.
Absolutely ! Laugh and shiver.
I really enjoyed this book, it wasn't too technical and not too fluffy either, it was just right :)
Since I took chemistry and physics 20 years ago, it was good to catch up and refresh my brain on what has happened in our history.
Note this covers history of the universe, physics, chemistry, evolution, etc, all the sciences.
It doesn't cover human history other than evolution, which was kind of nice not to have it but if Bill does a book on human history, I would like to listen to that as well.
Bill Bryson really DID give a short history of nearly everthing . It was interesting, not too complicated and had many light-hearted moments.
I enjoyed the stories about the scientists, their personalities, quirks and ideas.
No but he was just marvelous. Loved his inflections, speed and interpretations.
Earth, You've Come A long Way Baby.
always like to learn something new....mostly like study of philosophy, religion and history, not only the western side of the story, but also like to investigate the other shades.
This book explains science in lay man's language, and tells the story of scientific development in a very lucid language and weaves the L...ONG story in such a intriguing way that we care compelled to finish the whole book once we start reading it
Infused with just the right amount of humor, it is all but dry. Bryson continues to dazzle you and leaves you with a profound respect and awe for nature.
The book takes you through the development of the universe and the birth of all modern sciences. The author makes a great effort to let the information flow in a logical and enjoyable format. The audio book also does a great job at providing examples of very large and very small numbers used so that they can be better grasped by the listener. The book has no agenda but you can't help but pause towards the end and realize how insignificant the human race is in the grand scheme of things and also realize how much more impact we have had on the world than all other species before us.
The author makes it clear at the beginning that he meant this book to be an easy-to-read introduction to our planet's history, meant for non-scientist readers, and I feel he succeeded quite well at this.
He explains our current understanding of the origins of our universe, our planet, and humanity. He also covers some of the previously-held ideas that have since been disproven, sometimes quite recently. Amusingly, he describes our current understandings as though they are the final truth, even though obviously we discover new things all the time, as demonstrated by his own text! For example tectonic plate theory was only just recently accepted by the scientific establishment, and we have discovered new things about black holes and other cosmic concepts in the nine years since the book was published.
All in all though he provides a very thorough and thoughtful overview of what we know and how we got to know it, and he encourages a scientific curiosity and wonder which will help people appreciate the ongoing process of learning about the world around us.
The narrator also does a very good job, keeping his tone humorous and engaging even while some of the text might seem too "dry" for some readers.