To that end, Bill Bryson apprenticed himself to a host of the world's most profound scientific minds, living and dead. His challenge is to take subjects like geology, chemistry, paleontology, astronomy, and particle physics and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people, like himself, made bored (or scared) stiff of science by school.
On his travels through space and time, Bill Bryson encounters a splendid gallery of the most fascinating personalities ever to ask a hard question. In their company, he undertakes a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge. Science has never been more involving, and the world we inhabit has never been more full of wonder and delight.
©2003 Bill Bryson; (P)2003 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House Inc.
"Destined to become a modern classic of science writing." (The New York Times Book Review)
A simply great book. I was amazed at how the author was able to interconnect so much historical technological and natural science development, all with a bit of humor and sly understatement. It reminded me of much of my schooling from grade school through to university and then some: I came to appreciate facts in a wholly different and much more fascinating way. One of those books that you're sad it actually comes to an end.
Bill Bryson reads this book with the subtle humor and understatements that naturally he can do better than anyone. The book covers the absolutely entertaining and fasinating backstory of what we currently understand about who we are in the cosmos and how we managed to squeek by to get here. Even on subject matters that may stereotypically present themselves as borring, Bill Bryson yanks forth details, facts, and oddities then delivers them with wit and good timing. If you're the kind of person who likes documentaries, facinating stories of what really happened, or are still filled with wonderment, you'll like this audio. Do you know what a quantum leap is? Bill Bryson will tell you and have you chuckling along the way. He'll put it all in perspective and have you appreciating nearly everything a whole lot more.
The author Bill Bryson also narrates, but he does an excellent job of it! When I got to the end I immediately started over -- it's riveting stuff. Conceptually heavy material made lighter and more digestible by Bryson's intellect. The subject matter spans from the "big bang" (assuming it ever happened) through evolution, cellular biology into DNA ... and much more.
This book was terrific! I am looking forward to hearing it again soon. Each day I found myself asking people if they knew some interesting concept, fact, or bit of science that I had discovered from this book. Often these conversations were with my 16-year old, so I am especially grateful.
The most memorable part of this book for me was the realization that our human history is so small next to the incredible and fragile history of our planet and universe. It was a very entertaining and interesting book.
Once again, I heard this book on the iPod. The quality of the production was very good and it was easy to listen to and follow the story.
As a great fan of Bill Bryson, I missed his wry and self deprecating sense of humor in this book, Although it was interesting, I didn't find it easy to listen to, because it was dry. I know this is an abridged version, and it felt like that to me. There was a choppy feeling, and not enough of his trademark interesting little tidbits. Still, I probably wouldn't have chosen it if it hadn't been a Bryson book because it isn't an area of great interest to me, and I did learn a lot about what is clearly a fascinating field. I just would have liked it to tbe a little more personal.
Bryson does a masterful job of weaving personal stories, and many hard to comprehend subjects, into a totally enjoyable tale. He covers a broad cut of cosmology, biology and nearly every important human discovery. You will likely find this well worth a listen, especially if you are just slightly interetsed in the sciences.
I have decided that anything Bill Bryson writes is worth reading and is even better in Audio format ready by Bill himself. He humanizes science and fleshes out the two dimensional historical figures with his trademark wit and insight.
This was fun, insightful, and entertaining. I've recommending this to friends and family, and I'm definitely going to listen to this one again.
This is the best audiobook I've ever heard. I've never listened to another book over and over again as I did this one. I think ordering this book from this site was the best money I've ever spent. I can't believe there were so many interesting things about the history of science that our teachers never got around to telling us! He's just a great storyteller - and luckily for us, an excellent researcher.
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