©2003 Bill Bryson; (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc. Published by Arrangement with Random House Audio Publishing Group, A Division of Random House, Inc.
"Not to be missed." (AudioFile)
"Destined to become a modern classic of science writing." (The New York Times Book Review)
onlinebuyer in the City
I love Bill Bryson's writing style: he is truly brilliant.
Excellent performance by Richard Matthews
One learns a lot by reading everything Bryson writes. But most of all, one learns a lot about gentle, clever and effective witticism. Brilliant.
This really was an entertaining and educational 17 hours. The book covers everything from the creation of the planet and life to the extinction of the dodo. The writing has a certain sense of humor to it which makes what could be a dry topic entertaining. Ultimately you'll be amazed that life, let alone human life, is here.
Reading and listening goes straight into your medulla oblongota and you learn through thought memory. It's like being programmed into intelligence. If you read this, you just learned that the best gifts are free. Or One Credit... and that's kinda free.
Extraordinary story start to finish. Bones: For the love of science Jim, read this book!
In never ends. Ar Ar....a play on the history of the universe. Which of course does end - just not for a long, long, time.
Impossible. Took it in over a three month period and enjoyed it immensely. Love the ending [insert wit and satire here]. Be sure to enjoy the perspectives of where we stand in the scheme of the big bang. The analogy of humans walking on the earth a mere 13 minutes before midnight on a 24 hour clock since-the-beginning of time is insane. Cant get that out of my head (hence the insanity). That and a billion pro-creative acts to come up with the right ME is better than winning the lottery - it made me feel special (not me, us!). That type of perspective is brilliant, entertaining, and well - it felt like I listening to Carl Sagan for the first time. If Mr. Bryson comes up with the story of the future, buzz me.
None. Just ran out of time.
this was absolutely one of the best books i've read/listened to. it was captivating and the content was just amazing. the narration was amazing as well. you almost don't want the book to ever end. i would definitely listen to it again (and again)...
This is one of the best books I've ever read. There is so much information packed in here that I had never even heard about... my mind is blown.
I'm a (typical?) product of public education who hated science in school and managed to learn nothing about it, focusing on music and art instead. I HATED science. Well, 15 years later, I find myself an ignoramus and in more or less desperate need to learn some science. I'm one who would rather remain ignorant than sludge through some boring-ass textbook-type piece-of-crap written for god knows who, so... what could I do about this?
Bill Bryson writes for the layman! He hits on the essentials in a humored and interested way, throwing in some quick, useful analogies, and then moves along to something else. I can't believe how easy to read he made all of these facts!
Probably a big help in this book was his method of always attributing all of this discovered knowledge to the discoverers, even managing to tell us about their personalities and a bit of their interests and personal lives, too. This really helps in figuring out why some particular scientific discovery came to be, or why, for example, a scientist would discover something yet not tell anyone about it for 40 years. Why was a bunch of botany knowledge collected at once? Well, because for some reason the world became obsessed with botany discoveries, like it would today become obsessed with singing competitions. Fame and fortune for botany discoveries! ... The book is packed with this type of information to accompany the scientific discoveries themselves. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book.
If I see Bill Bryson in public I intend to give him a big hug and smile!
Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?
Bill Bryson does it again with "A Short History of Nearly Everything." If you want to know bits and pieces of nearly everything, this is a must read. For example did you know man's beard grows faster when he is thinking about sex because thinking about sex produces a testosterone surge? (I need to shave.) Or, did you know that a pillow that is 6 years old, it is estimated that 1/10 of its' weight is made up of sloughed skin, living mites, dead mites, and mite dung? (I need an new pillow.) There are more crazy facts that I never thought about in this book. It was excellent read for my mind grasped to. I was totally intrigued on how much useful information there is.
This is not my first introduction to this author. I have read several of his titles and I am always amazed how he includes facts and figures in his stories.
A Short History of Nearly Everything is a condense version of World Book Encyclopedia, but with useful information.
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!
Would I recommend? I have recommended to just about everyone that will listen.
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.
First time with Richard, very enjoyable.
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.
If it is the only book you listen to this year, it is well worth the time.
Broad, Captivating, Amusing
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.
I loved his accent. He was an excellent narrator. Easy on the ears!
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.
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.
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