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A Short History of Nearly Everything | [Bill Bryson]

A Short History of Nearly Everything

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.
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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 (8446 )
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4.6 (4104 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Henry Urbandale, IA, USA 10-30-06
    Henry Urbandale, IA, USA 10-30-06
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
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    Overall
    "Highly recommended: informative and interesting"

    I initially started reading the paper copy of this book, and I loved it, but I didn't have enough time to read it as much as I wanted to, so I downloaded the unabridged audio version. I'm so glad I did.

    Bill Bryson set out with the premise that science is fascinating stuff, but it's a shame that science writers seem determined to make it droll and boring. He spent some time researching and produced a highly readable, very educational, and still entertaining tour of not only scientific knowledge, but also the epistemology (HOW do we know what we know?). The profiles of science's most prominent characters are truly interesting.

    Bryson is a writer at heart, and I was consistently impressed with his unique and sometimes quirky turns of phrase. The narrator, too, contributed to my enjoyment of the book without stealing the show.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert 10-29-06
    Robert 10-29-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very inciteful"

    I really like this book because it gives a very informative and less politicized view of history's most influencial minds. It provides an honest summary of the condition and place of human knowledge.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joubert Chaumont-GistouxBelgium 10-28-06
    Joubert Chaumont-GistouxBelgium 10-28-06
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    2
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    "fantastic, will listen to it again"

    This is simply fantastic, all of science explained in a way you can understand an memorize, with lots of insight into how the discoveries were made.
    My preferred audio book so far.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob Ramona, CA, USA 10-22-06
    Rob Ramona, CA, USA 10-22-06
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    "Making Sense of Science"

    This book (audio) is a wonderful review and update on the scientific platform that we exist within. I wish it could be taught in school with such a human touch. The anecdotal portraits of the great discoverers makes their contributions more real.
    This is a great story

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter LUMBERTON, TX, United States 10-20-06
    Peter LUMBERTON, TX, United States 10-20-06
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    "Outstanding"

    I have listened to both the abridged, and unabridged versions. As a reader, it is clear that the author has the advantage of understanding the information he wishes to convey. Both versions are excellent. I savored every line. If you like science, even a little bit, you will find this book absolutely inspiring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank Baltimore, MD, USA 10-13-06
    Frank Baltimore, MD, USA 10-13-06
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    4
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    "A new science classic"

    Bryson is an excellent storyteller, and manages to take many dull, dry subjects and make them interesting. Once of the best lay science books out there.

    The narrative adds much to Bryson's wry sense of observation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Santa Susana, CA, United States 10-07-06
    Kevin Santa Susana, CA, United States 10-07-06 Member Since 2009
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    "Good Stuff"

    This is one of the very few audio books I've listened to several times and is my favorite from Bryson. Richard Matthews' reading is ideal for this material and keeps it easy to follow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Twain Maitland, FL 09-12-06
    Mark Twain Maitland, FL 09-12-06 Member Since 2012

    Sam

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Read/Listen!"

    This is probably the best most informative book I have listened to since I joined Audible several years ago. The book itself is great and the narration is excellent. I am starting on my third time through with the unabridged version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott 07-21-06
    Scott 07-21-06
    ratings
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    83
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    "Science for Dummies..."

    I tend to like Bryson's stuff but this book lacked two things; Bryson as the narrator and any order (outside of a 13 billion year chronology). I still gave three stars, for the information and its ability to be understood, but I think that more could have been done to keep the listener from getting confused with names and terms.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cather Cumberland, VA, United States 07-11-06
    Cather Cumberland, VA, United States 07-11-06 Member Since 2015
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    "Facinating doesn't cover it"

    Okay, before I start raving, the book is really less about science than about the people that made the discoveries. The science is in there-- but you kind of absorb it while being fascinated by things you never heard about people you know by name-- or, for that matter, people whose names you should know, but don't.

    I've listened to the whole thing about four times already, and am on my fifth. This is in six months.

    I'm looking into other books by the author, even though they seem to be mostly travel books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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