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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

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  •  
    Marion 08-20-13
    Marion 08-20-13
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    "Utterly Fascinating."

    This is a book that is not only fascinating to listen to but so replete with information that I am going to buy a print copy too. I have already recommended it to many friends. The audio version is exceptionally engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed the reader's style of presentation. It is hard to describe briefly how the book covers the millennia beginning with the inception of the entire Universe and continuing on to the present century. To say it is thought-provoking is an extreme understatement. Anyone who is even mildly interested in life on this planet, evolution, the sciences, history, politics and so much more will be informed and entertained to their heart's content. It is difficult to stop listening for even awhile as the pace carries the reader to more and more discoveries throughout the course of time immemorial. I want to emphasize too, that despite the prodigious amount of information, there is humor on every "page." The author ingeniously infuses humor into every aspect of revelatory research and describes factoids and details most of us would never have known from reading other works. I LOVED this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey 08-09-13
    Jeffrey 08-09-13 Member Since 2015
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    "I wish I had this book 20 years ago."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Would I recommend? I have recommended to just about everyone that will listen.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Short History of Nearly Everything?

    Bill Bryson takes some very difficult concepts and lays them out in simple language that anyone can understand. Many times I felt like I was on a tour, enjoying the amazing world around us.


    Have you listened to any of Richard Matthews’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    First time with Richard, very enjoyable.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    While you don't want to stop listening, it is best to take in parts, so you have time to consider the information you are taking in. Excellent. have already listened to it twice.


    Any additional comments?

    If it is the only book you listen to this year, it is well worth the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MarketSmartLee 07-21-13

    LA

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    "A Great Survey of the History of well...EVERYTHING"
    If you could sum up A Short History of Nearly Everything in three words, what would they be?

    Broad, Captivating, Amusing


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author has a great wit. He's never boring. He ties in quips, anecdotes and analogies that make difficult concepts easy to grasp. It also frames them in a very interesting way. The book covers a lot of ground and moves very quickly.


    What about Richard Matthews’s performance did you like?

    I loved his accent. He was an excellent narrator. Easy on the ears!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes!! I will listen to it again. It covers so much, you know you didn't grasp enough. But it is a lengthy book. Few could march through it all at once.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Turangalila Long Island, NY, USA 07-13-13
    Turangalila Long Island, NY, USA 07-13-13 Member Since 2012

    music geek

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    "Breezy and Brillant"

    How did we get here? Where is here exactly? And for that matter what are we? Bill Bryson takes up these questions and leads us on a tour of science and the history of science – from particle physics to astronomy and cosmology, through chemistry, geology, biology and much else besides. He is so endlessly engaging and entertaining that it's easy to overlook how much one is learning amid all the compelling human stories of scientists famous and unknown, professionals and amateurs, but all brilliant and endearingly (or infuriatingly) quirky and weird.

    Richard Matthews, posh English accent aside, does wonderful work in capturing Bryson's breezy, conversational tone, even in exploring the densest thickets of atomic structure, rock chemistry, ocean salinity, etc etc etc.

    The themes that emerge through all of this are just how little we still know, and above all just how accidental, fragile, and tenuous life (especially human life) is, and how much our ignorance and carelessness as a species threaten our very existence. Bryson enumerates the many threats we can't control – volcanoes, earthquakes, meteors – while eloquently appealing for us to come to terms with those we can.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    heART seneca sc 07-06-13
    heART seneca sc 07-06-13 Member Since 2013

    I'm a professional painter and love ennobling, enlightening literature

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    "doesn't get better"
    What made the experience of listening to A Short History of Nearly Everything the most enjoyable?

    a most engaging presentation of the universe's history


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    information about the geysers in Yellowstone and what is inevitable was surprising


    What does Richard Matthews bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    he magnified the humor


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    empty your bladder first; this is a long trip


    Any additional comments?

    anything Bill Bryson writes is magnificent

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Myers Chicago, IL USA 06-08-13
    W. Myers Chicago, IL USA 06-08-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Wonderfully accessible, charming and witty"

    The best part about Bill Bryson's book is the time devoted to detailing the personalities of the (sometimes hapless) historical figures involved. If you're already a devoted science reader then you may find some of the information covered rather elementary, but like any well-written primer one realizes that there are plenty of treasures yet to be revealed.

    Special kudos to Richard Matthews and the audio producers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas SAN MARCOS, CA, United States 06-05-13
    Thomas SAN MARCOS, CA, United States 06-05-13 Member Since 2016

    Over the road Truck Driver. I enjoy audiobooks as they help the miles roll by.....Especially unabridged History and good Fiction.

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    "Easy overview of most all science topics."
    If you could sum up A Short History of Nearly Everything in three words, what would they be?

    A very good, well researched book. And the title pretty well sums it up. I got the abridged version a few years ago, and saw this...AWESOME! UN-abridged! If you have a lot of driving to do, this book will keep you interested.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    David lubbock, texas, United States 06-04-13
    David lubbock, texas, United States 06-04-13
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    "Entertaining and Informative!"
    Would you listen to A Short History of Nearly Everything again? Why?

    I plan on listening to this many times over. There is so much information, but in a easily understood package.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not at all. Even if someone did have 18 hours to sit down and listen, there would be so much information you wouldn't hold much of it in. Still, great to listen to for long periods (road trips for myself).


    Any additional comments?

    I took an English class in which we read "A Walk in the Woods" by Bryson as well as "The Curve of Binding Energy" by John McPhee. I would have loved to replace the two with this book instead.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    darrius SAINT LOUIS, MO, United States 05-31-13
    darrius SAINT LOUIS, MO, United States 05-31-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Just GREAT"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Short History of Nearly Everything to be better than the print version?

    I am on the road constantly so I was able to get through this amazing book much easier in the audible form.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but that would be a lot of sitting


    Any additional comments?

    Great book. Kept me interested, and entertained from beginning to end. Great overview of nearly everything. Really enjoyed the narration as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DEBrianKelley 05-29-13

    nlnnet-us

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    "Broad coverage with moments of depth"
    Any additional comments?

    The book is a fun listen. It covers lots of categories which are truly universal and of importance to all - although many would not initially be thought of as "history". It has many interesting anecdotes about important knowledge and the performance by Richard Matthews in delivering the often tongue in cheek prose from Bryson is just wonderful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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