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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 (8445 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kim St. John's, NF, Canada 02-28-06
    Kim St. John's, NF, Canada 02-28-06
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    "A Short History of Nearly Everything"

    I have listened to this audiobook several times and still laugh outloud at the humor. Interesting listen and good narration. A must listen for nearly nerds and science hounds

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lawrence Greensboro, NC, United States 02-26-06
    Lawrence Greensboro, NC, United States 02-26-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    150
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    7
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    Overall
    "User's Manual for the Human Experience"

    This is a fantastic primer on what every informed human being should know.

    The narrator of the unabridged version misses a few of the trickier pronunciations -- e.g., New Madrid is pronounced in the same way as the city in Spain -- but these are minor issues.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Sallon, ND, USA 02-20-06
    Jeff Sallon, ND, USA 02-20-06
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    "Fun Listen"

    Fun listen

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Port St Lucie, FL, USA 01-25-06
    Andrew Port St Lucie, FL, USA 01-25-06
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "An Educated Listen"

    This tome is a good example of how a complicated set of ideas can be presented in an accessible format. The title almost sounds forbidding until you realise that the "History of Everything" is the prehistory of that and the scientific formulae that surround us. Bill Bryson tries to unravel some of the jargon and historical events that very often obscure our understanding of our very being and to this end succeeds with an accessible listen that can generally be put down and picked up again in an audible sense whilst still putting across some mind boggling theorems and situations. Always entertaining and stylishly presented this is recommended to the scientifically informed reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Natalie Norris 01-25-06 Member Since 2011

    mainecoast mama

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved it!"

    A light approach to some dense subjects. I found the facts and personalites fascinating. Take it in bites (I listen when I jog) so you won't lose your taste for it.

    Richard Matthews does an inpecable job narrating. I loved it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim leesburg, VA, USA 01-25-06
    Jim leesburg, VA, USA 01-25-06 Member Since 2011
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    "Outstanding"

    This book brings to light many things that have crossed my mind over the years but were always kind of left as a thought that, while worth perusing, required too much investigation given hectic schedules and time constraints most of us have. Not only does Brison offer tremendous insights into very complex topics and traverse a scientific history that seems all inclusive, he is able to salt the meal with a wit that, at times, will cause the reader to laugh out loud. Thanks Bill... I want more. By the way I inadvertently selected the abridged version. It was worth the expense to go back and purchase the unabridged version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Quyen Norman, Oklahoma United States 01-25-06
    Quyen Norman, Oklahoma United States 01-25-06 Member Since 2015
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    REVIEWS
    19
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    "Highly Recommended Reading!"

    If science bores you, I'm not sure this book is going to save your boredom. But, if you are at all intrigued by the natural world around you, this book is one heckuva roller coaster ride!

    Bryson addresses quite a few unknowns and speculations, which can lead to some fuzzy science, but I found the mind-expansion provocative and extremely fun.

    Coming from a scientific background, and currently employed in science education, I have this on a recommended book list. It's not for the faint of heart (yes, we are a more vulnerable species than you might have imagined) nor the incessant fact checker (beyond geological record keeping, where are the facts?).

    This is a book to be enjoyed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed New York, NY, USA 01-10-06
    Ed New York, NY, USA 01-10-06
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    2
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    "laugh & learn"

    as with all of his books, it's a great time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Philadelphia, PA, USA 01-01-06
    Greg Philadelphia, PA, USA 01-01-06
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
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    "Amazing, Stunning, Fascinating!"

    It is hard to find an audiobook that makes science accessible to the layman, while still keeping it detailed and provocative to sustain interest. Bryson has accomplished just that in this work, and it is destined to become a science classic. It is a truely readable, slightly humorous and witty account of the earth in terms of most sciences. Biology, genetics, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geology, palentology, etc etc etc... I haven't found many science topics NOT covered in this book.

    The reader makes this book easy to listen to and hard to put down.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Boulderite 12-31-05
    Boulderite 12-31-05 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Extremely informative"

    While not really a history of everything, Bryson covers a huge amount of ground in explaining the history of science across all disciplines. I have no formal science education, but feel a whole lot better informed after listening to this book. Bryson is always readable, and his explanations always include the often humorous human stories accompanying scientific discoveries and theories. This was one of the most informative books I have ever read, but never got boring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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