©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)
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.
I enjoyed this audiobook immensely and found myself going back to parts I had already listened to hear them again. It is so accessible and yet entertaining, it brings intrigue into the history of scientific discoveries and our celebrated and less celebrated discoverers. I loved it!
It was a delight it was listen to this book, what with the facts explained lucidly and narrated in concise English, and the witty turn of phrase. The words used help paint the image that the author really wanted the reader to see. The only problem was that the book ended too soon. If I can posit a thought, the 'symbiosis' of author and narrator was the magic in this thoroughly entertaining book. Kudos!
very informative and interesting. educational as well. will listen to the book more than once.
A great book from a great author! Well worth a listen and the price tag!!
I love both Bryson & Roberts. Very interesting and informative book. It will obviously be out of date in some areas now. Would love an update
"Not nearly everything. "
I wish this had been read by Bill. Also this book very much focuses on the natural world and it's relationship to how the human race has documented it and discovered it. There is nothing on technology other than in very early human civilisation.
Also now out of date but that isn't Bill's fault.
Great for anecdotes about lesser known yet often more deserving people that dedicated their lives to the painstaking art of the taxonomy of earth.
hard going at times but bill bryson had such a way with words I kept coming back for more little chunks. he presents science as it is no matter what your personal opinions of the evolution debate. well done.
the sudden weird attempt at an aussie accent in the last chapter is about the only fault I have with the reading.
As someone who knows some things about some things this book was most enjoyable to fill in some of the gaps. It is a short history of most things and more. It's brilliant to picture the things being described in vivid detail. I still go back to this book even though I've already heard it. To say I loved it is an understatement.
Many amazing and useful facts presented in a very light and comprehensive manner. Even my 6 y.o. and 9 y.o. listened to some chapters with unexpected concentration and fascination. However parents' pre-listeming is advised as occasionly some inappropriate language is used. But I must admit, when it happens - it makes the book particularly hilarious for a grown-up. And it actually is the first book I'm going to listen again - will surely discover something new, missed first time. Highly recommend.
"Be interesting for life"
Amazingly enjoyable and full of more information than I can remember but I genuinely feel educated about almost everything now. Great narration too, really carried Bryson's style well
Essential! Although a little out of date now, this remains an absolute must read for anyone who wants a fundamental history of the sciences. So many fascinating human stories in here too. Bryson's gift to the layman is reassuring fact that even the experts know very little.
Very well researched. A lot of information packed into 18 or so hours. Well worth the investment. Driving to and from work has become enjoyably educational over the last few weeks.
Certainly recommend to all who want to enhance their knowledge of the world as it is and how we got to where we are.
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