©2003 Bill Bryson; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
"To read Bryson is to travel with a memoirist gifted with wry observation and keen insight that shed new light on things we mistake for commonplace. To accompany the author as he travels with the likes of Charles Darwin on the Beagle, Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton is a trip worth taking." (Publishers Weekly)
"Stylish [and] stunningly accurate prose....Brims with strange and amazing facts...destined to become a modern classic of science writing." (The New York Times)
I went for 'A Short History'... because I have so much enjoyed listening to his later book 'At Home'. I've listened to the latter several times now. Bill Bryson's ability to turn a broad subject into a fascinating narrative, full of wit and personality, and an always evident delight in his subject, made 'At Home' one of my favourite audiobooks. Since my understanding of even quite basic scientific theory is quite woeful, I hoped I might find the same delight in his 'Short History...'. While it might take a few more listens before I really understand a lot of the information, the book had the important effect on me of feeling science is an area of wonder and delight.
I will certainly be listening to the book again - in fact the moment it came to an end the first time round, I went straight back to the beginning!
William Roberts' narration is good - I preferred hearing Bryson narrating his own words on 'At Home', as his dry delivery matches his spoken tone the best, of course. But Roberts interpreted the tone of the books well too.
Ever wondered why we know what we know or what hardships we're endured in the pursuit of knowledge that we easily take for granted.
This book inspired me to empathy for how far we have come, who got us here and what it cost them
What a great overview of the world. For a non-scientist with a curiosity but no plan to research, this audio is sensational. William Roberts presents Bill Bryson’s words with clarity and personality that makes the 19+ hours both entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable even during the more tedious sections on mosses and the like. It has made my not inconsiderable commute pass with much more vigour for the week or so it took to listen each time and has made me that much more aware of just how insignificant and unlikely we humans really are.
Its rather more technical than most Bryson but good for non scientists. it seems up to date and a mix of the science of a number of disciplines and background on personalitites involved. I was expecting it to be read by Bryson but narration by Roberts was good.
It is scary how much we really don't know about ourselves, the other living things around us and our own planet. To say that this is an incredibly detailed and thoroughly researched book is an understatement! With mind-boggling stats for most things presented, the insignificance of the human race and our own tenuous existence is reinforced at every point. Whilst I'm sure listeners with a science background would appreciate this book at a different level, I found every chapter engaging and fascinating. The entertaining narration by William Roberts is the "icing on the cake".
We've listened to this several times. It's more about the scientists than the science, but that human element keeps it consistently accessible. And Bryson does a great job of making complex subjects understandable, while also allowing listeners to relate to the various concepts through some clever metaphors. And the narrator is absolutely fantastic. He could probably make a grocery list sound pretty engaging. Of course, this is better than a grocery list. Highly recommended.
This is something else. You will not want to miss a word of it but don't worry because the book is even better the second time round. Funny, awesome, finely narrated and infinitely informative.
I enjoyed the abridged version so much that I decided to get the whole thing. What a shame! The quiet, appealing and unassuming voice of the author which lets the text speak for itself is replaced by a loud, exaggerated character who sounds like he's doing a TV sketch. I just couldn't listen any more after the first hour.
Say something about yourself!
This is one of the rarest books that bring knowledge and joy at the same time. It keep you listening all the time and make you try to understand and learn more, in some way the only sad thing about it, that it was for me kind of short. I highly recommend this book to everybody. I read it twice and love it. I even bought the printed illustrated edition just to have it and see the pictures.
Bryson is awesome - so much information you have to listen many times to absorb its content. He writes in such an easy and enjoyable way - great if your interested in history and like it delivered to you in an entertaining manner. Highly recommended.
The lesson that I take from reading this is how lucky we are to be here. The sheer mathematically impossibility of chances that brought us here today is unthinkable.
It introduces us to our place in the cosmos. The universe, the solar system and many celestial objects in the night sky.
It then talks of individuals in history that have helped drive the progress of our understanding of nature to what we know today. Which is a lot but also not much.
It open your eyes to the beauty of living things around us and also shames me to think of how much are now extinct needlessly by careless actions.
It's an excellent read and worthy to be added to books you've read.
I tried to read the print version a few years ago, but i never got into it, i found it a bit heavy going, i did enjoy the audio version, because it meant i want flicking back and forward cross referencing names and places.
yes he is good, i imagine his voice is close to that of Bryson, and he felt calm and relaxing, but also authoritative
dont make a film form this book
i would defiantly listen to this again
"Immersive and inspiring"
It really is a journey to quote the book on "Nearly Everything" from Atoms to Asteroids the book goes into exceptional detail presenting the reader with facts that will make the mind boggle! Narrator is engaging and delivers the book beautifully.
A superb book. Thought provoking and entertaining. Everyone should make time to listen/read this .
A truly awesome audio book. The book itself is a greatly entertaining and informative piece of literature, and the narrator is very pleasing to listen to.
"Excellent book which I really enjoyed listening to"
I would personally as I listen whilst driving long distances. I actually bought the paperback for my father in law.
All of it.
I had no problems and enjoyed listening to him.
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"This book is brilliant! it taught me lots"
So much science memories from school came back to me. I also learned lots of new things. it's simply amazing stories of truth
A must to listen to. Thought provoking and leaves you realising the damage that we humans are doing to the planet.
Thoroughly interesting listen. The only minor downside is that some of the theories are slightly outdated due to the age of the book. Well worth a listen though!
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