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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 (7413 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Garry Sale Creek, TN, United States 05-18-07
    Garry Sale Creek, TN, United States 05-18-07 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    2
    Overall
    "KEEP LOOKING"

    This book is not all that bad save for the constant and, for the most part, failed attempts at humor. What is bad, is the narration. The English accent really starts to grate after a while and the horrible mispronunciation is the worst I have ever heard. This book is not worth two credits.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D Driver 09-23-06
    D Driver 09-23-06 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    4
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    Overall
    "Fabulous"

    If you are of the inquisitive type, you will adore this book; very well written and easy to follow. The format from beginning to end leaves you with a sincere sense of perspective. I would highly recommend this title.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Oshawa, ON, Canada 05-26-06
    John Oshawa, ON, Canada 05-26-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    9
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    0
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    Overall
    "Boring"

    Sorry, didn't enjoy it. I've read other books of his and enjoyed them but I think his style is beginning to wear a bit thin.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alessio 12-29-05
    Alessio 12-29-05 Listener Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    102
    ratings
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    158
    21
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    "Better get abriged"

    Better get abriged version, it was read by professor Bryson, much better narrator. The unaridged version has way too many details.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gordon Kenmore, WA, USA 12-05-05
    Gordon Kenmore, WA, USA 12-05-05 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    82
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    216
    16
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    3
    1
    Overall
    "Big pay off if you make it"

    An absolute marathon listen … but if you have the patience to slog through it, this book has the potential to dramatically change the way you comprehend the world and your place in it. Loved the line about how similar humans and bananas really are…

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erin&Merilee DeSpain Virginia 08-13-05
    Erin&Merilee DeSpain Virginia 08-13-05 Member Since 2001

    Family on the move.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    64
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    336
    16
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    2
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    Overall
    "Mind-Alteringly Good!"

    How truly puny we really are. This book will change your perspective on your place in the universe.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-14-05 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    10
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    0
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    Overall
    "Great"

    The most interesting book ever.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Swee Loke 03-17-05
    Swee Loke 03-17-05
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    88
    2
    Overall
    "Very interesting and inspiring"

    Enjoy it, wish it were longer...

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edwin Hanscom AFB, MA, United States 02-07-05
    Edwin Hanscom AFB, MA, United States 02-07-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
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    6
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    1
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    "Entertaining"

    This book presents a complicated subject matter in a very entertaining fashion. It seemed to me to be a blend of scientific fact and some presumption. He makes huge presumptions at various points, but that is not a problem if you discern where this occurs. Much of this book is very educational, though I would characterize it more as entertainment.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew 11-16-04
    Matthew 11-16-04
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Far too tedius"

    Bryson starts off with a good idea--write a history of earth and science highlighting the novel and the curious. He doesn't just do this for important historical events, but for everything. Listening becomes painfully tedious. It descends into a rant about how Bryson views the world and history, but without any theories. Imagine reading AJP Taylor for the details without any larger theory holding it together. The print version you can skim, an abridged version get the highlights, but with this version there is no escaping the boredom.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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