I found this vast summary of 'nearly everything' extremely entertaining and informative to listen to, from the formation of the universe, to the history of science, to the fossil record and early homonids. I rewound this book so many times over again that it took me nearly twice as long to listen to it. Highly recomended for anyone kind of nerdy or intellectual (same thing really)
I actually found myself fascinated by stories of stromatolites and geological societies... and i can listen to this over and over again without being bored, which is saying a lot because i usually have the attention span of a squirrel. Bill Bryson has given a gift to the world by illuminating important but typically dry information in a fascinating story-like book. I hope he will publish many more books like this, although his travel books are also among my favorites, especially A Walk in the Woods.
What a great book! I liked it so much I bought the hardback so that I could mark favorite my passages. I highly recommend it for anyone who has the slightest interest in the world around them.
One of the better books I've ever read. Alas if only I could remember even a fraction of those facts. I'd be trivia king of the world. Good mix of fact and humour. Just fascinating and very well done. It is long, so you better enjoy this sort of thing. Even I who loved it, was kinda ready for the end. And what and end, makes me wish I could catch a glimpse into a day 100 years from now.
Excellent material reads like a (long) episode of The Learning Network's show, Connections. Like James Burke, the author takes pleasure in fact-dropping and illuminating interrelationships of people and facts over the course of world history. Well worth the download. Enjoy!
I found this a wonderful listen. The flow of information is smooth and the author has a knack of compressing complex chunks of information into extremely funny and engaging vignettes. He also brings an air of humanism to the exploits of these supposed great eggheads of science and discovery and their works. He transformed them from the staid names and dates I was forced fed in school into real people and exciting events. They should just play this tape in lieu of high school history classes. Highly entertaining, and you?ll learn a lot too!
I also read the abridged version first; very much enjoyed it, and enjoyed the unabridged version even more. From the beginnings of the universe, to the beginning of life, Bryson has surveyed the history of discovery and the current state of affairs; advising readers of what we know, what we think we know, and what we have no idea about. As a liberal arts major who dropped out of my first (and only) college physics class over 30 years ago, I found the information fascinating and the listen very enjoyable. It is done in chatty stories about not just the science, but the scientists. Who knew, for example, that Newton was apparently mad?
And, it is not just for adults. My 13 year old son, who just started 7th grade, is also listening to the book, and he very much likes it -- my only concern is that he will know more than his teachers by the end of it; and somehow get into trouble. Oh well.
The narrator is very good. Slight British accent is perfect, as the text has a few "Bristish-isms" which makes the whole more charming. While I can't say I listened to the whole 18 hours in one sitting, I can say I did look forward to my next listen. Truly a fascinating and accessible survey of scientific history. Great read.
This is a really good book if you are into science, the history of science etc. Of course it does not cover everyting, and the book does not pretend to do that, but it is just an amazing short history of nealry everything. I loved the book, and I am frequently listen to it over and over again.
Almost passed up this book based on a review which mentioned that frequent readers of lay science books wouldn't learn anything new---glad I didn't!
True, there were a couple sections that quoted books and ideas I was already familiar with, but Bryson's books encompasses SO much ground that there were also many areas which were new to me (in this level of detail) and they have actually encouraged me to seek out some of the books he refers to. In addition, like all of Bryson's books, his point of view is frequently hilarious, and always fun reading. An outstanding book.
If you've listened to Bill Bryson narrate his own writing, you're accustomed to his cadence and well placed pauses which allow his words to sink in and, quite frequently, induce tears of laughter. This effect is lost in the audio version of "A Short History of Nearly Everything." The narrator speaks clearly, there's no problem there, but his speed and delivery don't create the same experience as do Bill's.