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A Short History of Nearly Everything Audiobook

A Short History of Nearly Everything

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Audible Editor Reviews

"Imagine if you can -- and of course you can't..." is how Bryson opens his explanation of how a universe is born. And he has the uncanny ability to not say too much, nor too little; to use metaphors brilliantly but without cliché; and to sound like he's actually learning as he goes along. Like Stephen Hawking before him, Bryson skips from one BIG topic to the next with the curiosity of a child and the patience of a schoolteacher. It's like having a front-row seat to the history of the world.

With his slightly bemused English accent, narrator Richard Matthews sounds completely at home in the material, chatting knowingly and with perfect dry comic timing. For managing to cover the universe and keep it lively, this experience definitely merits as an all-time favorite.

Publisher's Summary

Bill Bryson has been an enormously popular author both for his travel books and for his books on the English language. Now, this beloved comic genius turns his attention to science. Although he doesn't know anything about the subject (at first), he is eager to learn, and takes information that he gets from the world's leading experts and explains it to us in a way that makes it exciting and relevant. Even the most pointy-headed, obscure scientist succumbs to the affable Bryson's good nature, and reveals how he or she figures things out. Showing us how scientists get from observations to ideas and theories is Bryson's aim, and he succeeds brilliantly. It is an adventure of the mind, as exciting as any of Bryson's terrestrial journeys.

©2003 Bill Bryson; (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc. Published by Arrangement with Random House Audio Publishing Group, A Division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Not to be missed." (AudioFile)
"Destined to become a modern classic of science writing." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (10978 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Joshua D. Moffitt Chicago, IL USA 04-30-13
    Joshua D. Moffitt Chicago, IL USA 04-30-13 Member Since 2015

    jodamo

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    "A very palatable science book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Although the subject matter is complex, the delivery is done in a way that it's not overwhelming. I've never enjoyed a book on science like this before!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Redondo Beach, CA, United States 04-27-13
    Karen Redondo Beach, CA, United States 04-27-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Clever Humorous Old Friend Chats About Everything"


    Cozy up… start your audiobook… prepare to listen to a clever, humorous old friend chat about everything. Really! Everything! Starting from the big bang through quantum theory in a conversational manner that digests these into easily absorbed bits of knowledge about... really everything!

    While driving alone in my car on my long commute or grocery shopping, I wondered what others thought as I found myself smiling, or laughing out loud. Very unusual for me and not once or twice but many times came an out loud burst of laughter or smiling chuckles.

    In the introduction the author admits that he realized that textbooks and teachers had taught him a lot of facts with which he had no connections. No who, what, where, when that was real. No mental concepts that equated with even a small understanding.

    Bill Bryson uses his own personal word magic to draw in our minds vivid sketches of scientific discovery through the people who made them. These sketches use amusing cameos of the scientists themselves to bring to life the scientific discoveries.

    Richard Matthews narration is charming with his smooth British voice, the accent is somehow so appropriate. I will never tire of his voice.

    I will continue to listen to this again and again on my all-time favorite audiobook to repeat list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy 04-20-13
    Nancy 04-20-13 Member Since 2014

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Fascinating and well told"
    What did you love best about A Short History of Nearly Everything?

    I have a scientific background (medical) but my husband's background is in history. We both loved this book and the way it was told. I think anyone interested in what this planet is about will enjoy this book and you don't need a strong scientific background to understand it.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Something I will always remember is a quote that explains the way the scientific community (or any other organization) receives new ideas or discoveries: "First they say it is wrong, then they say it might be right, but it is not important, and finally they credit the wrong person." Oh how true!


    Which character – as performed by Richard Matthews – was your favorite?

    The history of scientific thought is rich with wild and weird characters! It is really hard to pick. I, however, cannot help but admire the insights of Albert Einstein -- and at such a young age! (and I do not pretend to understand the theory of relativity!) at the same time, to see that he accomplished so little in his later life. He was uncomfortable with quantum mechanics (who wouldn't be) and wasted the rest of his life trying to discredit it. How much did we miss?


    Any additional comments?

    The author explains just how unlikely we are to be here, and how brief our existence has been, and is likely to be. He describes it as being on a razor's edge. It makes me feel so fortunate to be given a life on this little blue planet! And how slim are the chances that we are here at all?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele Golden, CO, United States 04-17-13
    Michele Golden, CO, United States 04-17-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Truly Terrific"

    I'm a serious Bill Bryson fan. And, I love to hear him read his own works. He has the skill to make even a dry, historical event fascinating. I'm convinced that all text book authors should be required to read A Short History of Nearly Everything so they learn that it really is possible to write interesting books for students.

    After listening to this book at least 3 times, I had to own it so I could listen whenever I wanted to.

    Bryson didn't read this, but the reader does a fine job conveying the nuances of Bryson's words.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon J. Gregory Illinois 04-11-13
    Brandon J. Gregory Illinois 04-11-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Excellent book, even better narration!"
    What did you love best about A Short History of Nearly Everything?

    The material is incredible.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The fascinating facts of how scientists solved problems in the times before advanced computer technology.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Made me laugh and wonder, even scared me a bit.


    Any additional comments?

    An absolute must buy. My favorite nonfiction book... ever. And the narrator is incredible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TaskMaster 04-05-13
    TaskMaster 04-05-13
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    "It needed so much more......"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Should have given a more in depth accounting of history. Was very basic and should have offered a better explanation especially of our most historic and profound events. Book certainly seems like one for a person wanting only a very basic and limited understanding of our history. For that purpose though it is a great book.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Narrator was rather dry. He could have made the listen more enjoyable had he injected more life into the telling of our history.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The facts presented were mostly correct. I appreciate that about it.


    Any additional comments?

    If you have not yet studied human history and would like to start, this book is a great starting point. It covers a number of subjects that allow you to "get your feet wet" in the vastness of human history. But for the intermediate or the pro, steer clear! This is not the book for you. Its accounting is very basic and consist of what can be called elementary knowledge of the history of humanity and everything else.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Waternthesky CLEVELAND, OH, United States 04-01-13
    Waternthesky CLEVELAND, OH, United States 04-01-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Good. Not that good."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes. Interesting review on history


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    No reaction needed. It's history.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Richard Matthews?

    He was ok. For some strange reason I like voices that are boring like David Attenborough.


    Did A Short History of Nearly Everything inspire you to do anything?

    It made me want to download some good history podcasts.


    Any additional comments?

    Slow to start out. It's gets better with time. Very thorough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Soraj Bangkok, Thailand 03-25-13
    Soraj Bangkok, Thailand 03-25-13 Member Since 2012
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    3
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    "Nice collection of stories"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Short History of Nearly Everything to be better than the print version?

    The book is a collection of anecdotes and various stories of scientific discoveries and personalities. Those of you who expect a straightforward scientific textbook might be disappointed. Though Bryson does provide some content of science, that is not the focal point of the book, which is Bryson's own telling of stories of science. Those of you would want to know a little bit of everything will get quite a lot here. Matthews' reading of the book is excellent - I particularly like the way he handles foreign names. I read the entire book while I drove to work for five consecutive days. Very enjoyable.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexander auburn, Alabama, United States 03-25-13
    Alexander auburn, Alabama, United States 03-25-13 Member Since 2016
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    "great book,"
    What did you love best about A Short History of Nearly Everything?

    The book was well read, captivating, and extremely educational. The information just wouldn't stop coming.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Rose Israel 03-20-13
    J. Rose Israel 03-20-13 Member Since 2013
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    "I LOVE THIS BOOK"
    What did you love best about A Short History of Nearly Everything?

    This book got me interested in science again. Makes me want to go back to university and take all the sciences.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Its great from cover to cover.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The bit about Yellowstone Park.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Not that kind of book


    Any additional comments?

    Just an awesome, awesome book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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