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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 (11467 )
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  •  
    Everett CAMARILLO, CA, United States 05-25-13
    Everett CAMARILLO, CA, United States 05-25-13 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great"
    If you could sum up A Short History of Nearly Everything in three words, what would they be?

    Thought provoking book.


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

    The size of the universe.


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

    His emphasis on important points


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

    The relationship between humankind and earth's history.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cristobal 05-20-13
    cristobal 05-20-13 Member Since 2011

    cristobal

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    "This is one of my three all time favorite books"

    This is definitely one of my "stuck on a desert island" books. I own in in DT, EB and now audible. I'm a total science geek, and this book pretty much spoon feeds. It's one of those books that I'm always kind of reading. I was delighted to see that the unabridged version finally hit Audible.

    Also, Richard Matthews is a fantastic narrator.

    This is going to sound a little weird, but I pretty much fall asleep to the audible version of this every single night.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO, United States 05-19-13
    Dan SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO, United States 05-19-13 Member Since 2013
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    "One of Bill Bryson's best and well worth your time"
    Would you listen to A Short History of Nearly Everything again? Why?

    Yes, because it is quite pithy. I appreciate Bill Bryson's taking the time to put some aspects of our lives into this interesting context as life passes by, often in a fast stream. Also, the memory is not that great, and I observe I can listen to a book again and get many ideas that I had missed upon the first exposure. These are good ideas! Worthy of integrating. A bit of modern day philosophy.


    What other book might you compare A Short History of Nearly Everything to and why?

    I kind of liked the overview of P.J. O'Rourke, "All the Troubles in the World", that- is another look from outside the general consensus and popular norm but there is also no question that P.J. O'Rourke is a modern day humorist standing clearly in the great shadow of Mark Twain/S.Clements. Bill Bryson has his own bit of irony, added with a sardonic puzzlement that often leaves one with an internal joy of the additional perspective.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The book hits the ground running, describing how humans are composed of indifferent atoms that if disassembled none of the atoms would have a consciousness of being alive. It is interesting to address these simple complexities and then it goes on from there.


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

    It doesn't make one laugh or cry as much as it informs and makes one think. I believe readers of this book are simply better thinkers from having these perspectives available as part of their wonder and reflections on human history.


    Any additional comments?

    I have recommended this book to many friends and have received thanks in appreciation. If nothing else it is fun, and I applaud Bill Bryson for his effort in it's creation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Bangkok, Thailand 05-17-13
    Mark Bangkok, Thailand 05-17-13
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    "Should be compulsory for all to read this book!"
    Which scene was your favorite?

    I was absolutely fascinated by it all, especially about evolution and the origin of life itself.


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

    How insignificantly short human history is in the grand scale of things.


    Any additional comments?

    Bill Bryson has an amazing way of wording concepts in a way that we can all understand. The way he describes incomprehensible lengths of time using arm spans to show how long we (humans) have been around was an eye-opener!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jack 05-13-13
    jack 05-13-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Leave politics out of science"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The author went off on one knucklehead that did not reveal what he knew about the dangers of a certain chemical - - worth a note but not a chapter. His bent on climate change also seemed like a political rather than scientific rant. EVERYTHING I LEARNED IN THIS BOOK TOLD ME THAT WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN AND HOW CHANGES WILL EFFECT THE EARTH. So just tell me about the science and let me draw my own conclusions.


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

    I really liked the march of history, the reign of the dinosaurs, the very long history of Homo erectus and humans, and how genes and DNA and RNA change the world. I also liked the explanations of scientists, what they did and did not do - and how many broke new ground, while others ruled their age while their theories were later disproved. That - I never got in science class.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yves São Paulo, Brazil 05-13-13
    Yves São Paulo, Brazil 05-13-13
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    "Great surprises of our world, history and anatomy"
    What did you love best about A Short History of Nearly Everything?

    It has some information the left me jaw-dropped. It was interesting info that make you keep wondering about this new information you just discovered.


    What other book might you compare A Short History of Nearly Everything to and why?

    None that I know


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

    I felt it was not only a reading, but as a narrator or someone telling me a story. Really good.


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

    Yes... but it's kind of hard because of it's lenght.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steaven Chan Torrance, CA United States 05-10-13
    Steaven Chan Torrance, CA United States 05-10-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Amazing!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    My son who is 12 would occasionally listen with me while I'm driving, he would picked up a few snippets and was able to put it in good use at his school. What more if he listen to the entirety. Very well developed narration and really enjoyable listen.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The logical progression of the book.


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

    Can't read while driving. He has to keep me engaged, which he did with flying colors.


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

    Neutral


    Any additional comments?

    Would recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 05-02-13
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 05-02-13 Member Since 2010

    audio addict! Mostly interested in history and some historical fiction. Will Durant is my all time favorite. Loving the Great Courses too.

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    "Wow!"

    Great book. One I'll listen to again for sure. For anyone interested in general science, or anyone just curious how the world and universe works!

    Very accessible and extremely well-read by narrator.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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

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