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A Short History of Nearly Everything | [Bill Bryson]

A Short History of Nearly Everything

A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson’s quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. His challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. It's not so much about what we know, as about how we know what we know.
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Publisher's Summary

A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson’s quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. His challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science.

It's not so much about what we know, as about how we know what we know. How do we know what is in the centre of the Earth, or what a black hole is, or where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out?

On his travels through time and space, Bill Bryson takes us with him on the ultimate eye-opening journey and reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.

©2003 Bill Bryson (P)2003 Random House Audiobooks

What Members Say

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4.3 (101 )
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4.2 (74 )
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4.2 (77 )
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  •  
    Carolyn Perth, Australia 01-23-12
    Carolyn Perth, Australia 01-23-12
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    "If you only own one audio book, this is it!"

    This book was a little hard going as text but completely comes to life when read by Bill Bryson. I love it and have listened to it several times.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andre Montreal, QC, Canada 01-27-14
    Andre Montreal, QC, Canada 01-27-14
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    "Clear and easy to listen."
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Short History of Nearly Everything to be better than the print version?

    It is an excellent book and even better when it is read by the author itself.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simone St Laurent, Quebec, Canada 09-26-13
    Simone St Laurent, Quebec, Canada 09-26-13 Member Since 2006

    Join me on GoodReads too!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Fun!"

    I love this stuff – if you are Discovery Channel / National Geographic / Big Bang Theory / History of the World / Science Buff like I am, you’ll love this book too.

    Bryson’s writing makes it even more enjoyable because it’s far from dry-science. His narration is clear, clever, comprehensible and even a little comical at times… you don’t feel like you are rereading your High School text books over again!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shom Hyderabad, India 08-19-13
    Shom Hyderabad, India 08-19-13 Member Since 2011

    Marketer. The Engineer-MBA stereotype. Sports-fiction writer. Poor reader of text. Thus at Audible. God Bless.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Read-It-Now"

    A Short History of Nearly Everything

    Author – Bill Bryson
    Genre – Science, Popular Science, Non-fiction, Humour, History, Physics, Geology, Paleontology, Anthropology
    Source - Audiobook
    Rating - 5
    August 2013
    I have been having great luck with books in recent times. Or maybe I am easy to please. But really, this book here is a definite read-this-now. The dexterity is not in the physics, the geology and paleontology and anthropology, a fair bit of which (gloat gloat) I was in the know of, but in the presentation. Bryson is an awesome storyteller, and he weaves these superb, fun, and exceedingly funny stories around the mysteries of nature and creation and the men and women who solved these mysteries for us – this is the perfect book to read beforehand if you are planning to babysit a particularly inquisitive nephew or niece.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harriet Singapore 08-12-12
    Harriet Singapore 08-12-12 Member Since 2012

    Retired dentist after 37 yrs & with strong artistic interests left intensive reading until my latter years and am having a ball!

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    "A clear and thoroughly wonderful experience!"
    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Short History of Nearly Everything?

    Difficult to pick any particularly memorable moment, the entire book was enthralling and I shall listen to it several times, I am sure about that!


    Have you listened to any of Bill Bryson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


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

    I felt uplifted overall and ended with hope that mankind would take the time to understand just how precious all life as we know it is right now before it is too late.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-08-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Great book - Gets you thinking"
    Would you listen to A Short History of Nearly Everything again? Why?

    Yes - There is so much to think about that you can miss the next piece of information.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Bolton, Ontario, Canada 10-17-11
    Joe Bolton, Ontario, Canada 10-17-11
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    "Fantastic!"

    Bill Bryson does it again with a very interesting and captivating book that will surely grab your interest. There is so much covered in this book, and something for everyone. His reading of his own book is great as well. Very enjoyable!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Humza Tasmania, Australia 08-19-11
    Humza Tasmania, Australia 08-19-11 Member Since 2010

    addicted to audible...

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    "Great book..."

    This should be required reading for all science lovers. The book gives a great overview of the major events in science. The narration was also superb.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Beecroft, Australia 07-31-13
    Adam Beecroft, Australia 07-31-13
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    "Inspiring look at out history"
    If you could sum up A Short History of Nearly Everything in three words, what would they be?

    Who and what was discovered first.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall well researched and facinating story of our discoveries around the world. I didnt like the last chapter on evolution, I am a christian so I shouldnt like it anyway but Bill re-affired my dislike for it with all the contradictions and theories or should I say scientific assumption of evolution, why call it evolution when "guesswork in order to deny God's existance" is a more appropriate title, someone needs only go outside and look at the beautiful world to realise God's handy work. The rest of the book was facinating and excellently researched, fully recommend the first 75% of the book!

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cathy Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada 11-12-11
    Cathy Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada 11-12-11 Member Since 2011
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    "You need to know this!"

    I read this book a few years ago and loved it. I have since bought several copies and given them away.

    However listening to this book made it so much more "real". My husband, who loves science but does not read much, thoroughly enjoyed listening to the book as we drove from Canada into the States. He asked for it every time we got in the car.

    A most enjoyable and interesting listen. Something for everyone.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 10 results
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  • Matt
    Stoke On TrentUnited Kingdom
    12/15/10
    Overall
    "I love it"

    I have had this audiobook for several months and have listened to it many times. I personally do not understand the criticism some people have made of the book being boring etc. I have read the physical book also and think this is a very interesting work throughout...but then maybe that is just me and my love of trivia.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Chris
    United Kingdom
    9/22/10
    Overall
    "Lighter work that the paper version"

    I tried reading this book, but frankly, struggled somewhat.

    As for the audiobook, Bill Bryson?s (own) enthusiastic voice and light-hearted approach to unveiling a short history of scientific discoveries, held me entertained for many hours during my long commute to and from work.

    What?s brilliant about the audiobook is that if you miss something or don?t quite grasp something first time around, then it?s easy to just skip back a little and listen again. I found Bryson?s language and style to be pitched just right ? neither too highbrow nor the opposite, such that I have already listened through twice.

    One final note, being first published in 2003, there are aspects of the book that are already beginning to date ? or rather, there?s a noticeable absence of more up to date references here and there. For example, in his overview of particle physics, as a listener you?re dying to hear a witty Bryson quip about the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (which of course wasn?t around when he wrote the book). I?m left hoping that Bryson will update this history, but don?t be put off ? it?s still an excellent, mind blowing short history of nearly everything (scientific).

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • William
    Burgess Hill, United Kingdom
    4/27/10
    Overall
    "Superb"

    Bill Brysons enthusiasm and wit permeate every page of this book. The awards and paudits it has received are well deserved. The audio book races along at a good pace and the narrator captures the dryness of Brysons humour.
    The book seeks to explain, in an accessible way, how science got to where it is today, some of the false trails that were followed and what is still unknown. Bill Bryson starts from the standpoint of his own youthful wonder at how scientists could possibly know what they did. His book is a personal voyage of discovery - the viewpoint of an enthusiastic layperson.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Maeve
    manchester, United Kingdom
    5/31/12
    Overall
    "Enjoyed this more than I thought I would"

    I choose this audio book after my brother recommended. I wasnt convinced - but I gave it ago and got into it after a while. I was sorry in the end that I had chosen the abridged version - as its all the same when you have a credit - and its the kind of book you can do in chunks.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Linda
    Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
    11/15/10
    Overall
    "Even I understood this!!"


    I have this book in hardback and it was one of the ones I was 'going to read' - having read the first 5 or so pages I thought I was going to enjoy it but never got around to reading it. After suffering sleepless nights, to stop myself getting up and wondering around the house I downloaded this as my first book. I have tried to read Marcus Chown and Stephen Hawking - so far to no avail. I found Bill Bryson easy on the ear and very listenable. I enjoyed it immensely - and I could understand it - all of it - even the bits about atoms!! It's true Quantum Mechanics cannot hurt you and it hurts you even less if you start with an introduction from Bill Bryson. He is down to earth and humerous and I could listen to his voice all night (and have done!).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Toby
    Southampton, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Great book"

    Awesome book to listen to, I look forward to listening to others in the short history series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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