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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 (8620 )
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4.6 (4268 )
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  •  
    Peter LUMBERTON, TX, United States 10-20-06
    Peter LUMBERTON, TX, United States 10-20-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    97
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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
  •  
    peekay427 california, USA 07-06-06
    peekay427 california, USA 07-06-06 Member Since 2004

    peekay427

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "excellent"

    I really enjoyed this book and bought it for both my mother (a pianist) and my father (a physicist). It is very well organized for such an ambitious book and I highly recommend it. My only concern is that when he was describing my area of study there were some major issues that he missed and I am hoping that these omissions were limited to what I know about as opposed to a sign of major problems with the other categories in the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tommy San Diego, CA, USA 07-04-06
    Tommy San Diego, CA, USA 07-04-06
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    "simply enormous"

    Simply Enormous
    I love this book so much, and have listened so many times, that I have started memorizing certain phrases. The narrator is able to capture the humor and awe that Bryson displays in his writing. Totally worth it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl McNeill, MS, USA 06-28-06
    Cheryl McNeill, MS, USA 06-28-06
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    "A Short History of Nearly Everything"

    I love this book. I've listened to it over and over. The "gent" reading the book made it even better. I especially loved the part of history having to do with learning about chemicals. I never thought I'd find history funny but this had me laughing out loud at times. Get this audiobook!!!!!!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anita Bedford, MA, USA 06-23-06
    Anita Bedford, MA, USA 06-23-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Absolutely Perfect"

    I've listened to this over and over. The Narrator's english accent really adds humor to Bill Bryson's funny and extremely knowledgeable book. You can listen to this in bits or straight through and always enjoy it.

    This is the perfect audio book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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