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Publisher's Summary

A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson's quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. He takes subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry, and particle physics, and aims to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. In the company of some extraordinary scientists, Bill Bryson reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.
©2003 Bill Bryson; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"To read Bryson is to travel with a memoirist gifted with wry observation and keen insight that shed new light on things we mistake for commonplace. To accompany the author as he travels with the likes of Charles Darwin on the Beagle, Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton is a trip worth taking." (Publishers Weekly)
"Stylish [and] stunningly accurate prose....Brims with strange and amazing facts...destined to become a modern classic of science writing." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Fascinating and enlightening

A great book that crosses the many spheres of science elegantly. The writer made good research and handed us an entertaining history and a great insight. Thanks Mr. Bryson.

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Learned so much!

So much information. would've liked to have the hard copy so I could reread pages, it's a lot to take in only in audio format

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Stunning, enjoyable summary of "everything"

Well done, Bill. This is a magical tour of just about ... "everything" known to humans until shortly before its publication about 10 years ago. The team of researchers who prepared the "raw material" is to be commended. Also to be commended, of course, is the witty and engaging writing of the author, BB. This is my second listening. Thank you researchers, and than you Bill.

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One of the finest books ever. Highly recommended!

Loved the way it is written and the narrator did a fantastic job at it!

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Hilarious and informative

This is my new favourite genre of book: Hilarious and informative! Loved this book. Recommend to all.

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Essential life science reading

places all the major events into easily understood context thus bringing some cold difficult areas to assimilate into easily understood context. particularly the role of Rosalind in the discovery of the structure of DNA.

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encompassing but not too in depth... just right

"Oh fuck, not another phylum." is by a wide margin the best take away moment.

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Genius

Romp through the creation of: the universe, world, life and humans; written with humor and read with passion

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Not bad, but some science is outdated.

Very good read, great story telling. However, unfortunately, a lot of science quoted as current is simply proven to be false by now as the book is over a decade old. So for more recent fact it would be more interesting for the reader to go through a more recent book. Otherwise great :)

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The best science book ever.

If you've ever wondered about life on earth, how we think it got started or how we know what we know; then this is the book to read. Bill Bryson breaks hard to understand concepts into a clear, concise narrative that anyone can understand.
This book is highly recommended for anyone who is curious about science, geology, biology, astronomy or the origins of life.
I would also recommend it as a complimentary read for students.
I have read my hard copy of this book twice and listened to it once. I'll definitely be listening to it again.

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  • Latch
  • 07-20-14

Brief by name... Complete and compelling by nature

What did you like most about A Short History of Nearly Everything?

The narration - William Roberts is incredibly easy to listen to, and he gets across the science very well.

Have you listened to any of William Roberts’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No first time

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Visually stunning - in an audible kind of way

Any additional comments?

I have had the book version of Brief History for some time now, and never got into it.. So this audible version is quite remarkable in its instantly captivating appeal. So much so I am now listening to it AGAIN.. Bryson captures the key points in life's history and makes them accessible to the common, unscientific audience with aplomb. Fantastic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lindsay Kay Caddy
  • 05-11-13

Very interesting. Worth reading. Good Bryson

This is another good Bryson. This book does what is says on the tin and you get a short history of nearly everything. Some parts are more interesting than others but Bryson does his best with some difficult topics. It's overall a great read and well narrated.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gregorious
  • 04-13-13

Interesting

The audible book was very interesting but a lot of information in actually quite a small period of time even though the book is 20 hours long. Multiple listens are required really to get a better understanding of all the material. I quite enjoyed listening to the narrator as his voice inflection made it more interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Danuta
  • 07-14-10

Interesting and educational

Enjoyed this audiobook. This is not an easy listen as there are a lot of facts to absorb. I liked science at school so the subject matter was close to my heart, it was good to revisit and also learn some new things after so many years. Will listen to it again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Liselotte
  • 06-20-09

What a pleasure!

Bill Bryson does a marvellous job packing all that information into his book and making it so immensely readable for people like me who tend to shun anything to do with physics and natural science. And the narrator is simply wonderful: 19 hours and not once does one tire of his voice, he manages to make one want to keep listening with his lively yet never forced way of narrating.
Liselotte Horneman Kragh, Silkeborg, Denmark

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Keith
  • 01-03-09

Not really easy listening ...

To be fair, I usually listen to fiction, but have read and enjoyed a number of Bryson's travelogue-type books. However, I found this audiobook hard going - I had to be in the right state of mind to listen, with nothing else going on around me and not in the least bit tired. The moment your mind wanders, you have missed something and the next 10 minutes may well become meaningless.

I also couldn't get our of my head, a basic objection to what Bryson was doing. He starts by telling us that he hates the fact that scientists tell us things without explaining how they know it to be true ... and then spends the rest of the book spewing out a fantastic array of 'facts' which we are just expected to believe. I'm sorry, but I just didn't buy it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-13-18

The Absolute Best!

just fantastic, the narration is impeccable and engaging from start to finish. learned a lot

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  • Anna J.
  • 02-13-18

great overview history of the earth. life science

great overview of history of the earth. life science, human kind. last chapter highlights history of species extermination

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  • Paul J. Jackson
  • 02-09-18

A remarkable achievement

A comprehensive, entertaining and yet in-depth account of science and nature. Bill Bryson has risen even further in my esteem. While I was unsure at first of having a narrator other than Bill, I think it was the right choice. Being voice artist to this book was a hell of a challenge but is brilliantly executed.

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  • Mark Badger
  • 02-08-18

Not Read By The Auther

Sadly unlike so many of Bill Bryson’s books this one is NOT read by the author. Which is a shame as it lacks his usual character of voice, rendering the book unlistenable to me. I didn’t get 5minutes in.

No offence to re reader, I’m sure he’s great, he’s just not Bill Bryson.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-02-18

Extremely Enjoyable, Educational, Empowering & Uplifting

I've read this book twice in 10 years and now listened to the extremely well narrated audiobook and each time found it "Enjoyable, Educational, Empowering & Uplifting." This book uniquely explains the Big Bang, the universe, innerverse, history, biology and everything inbetween in interesting, understandable and often funny ways that leaves everyday problems and grumbles palling in contrast to the infinite and wondrous things around us that we often fail to consider. Perhaps just as wondrous to these things is how the people who discovered them did so and their stories, and "yes" this book covers that too! I can not recommend this book enough. It truly opens the mind to the countless wonders and possibilities around us .

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-02-18

overall vibe of intellectual smugness

Not as good as Bryson's other books. Seems like he was more interested in sounding smart than entertaining the reader.

also the narrator, while generally ok, pronounces a few words absurdly such as himalayas and tortoises. this adds to the smugness and will annoy the hell out of you

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  • Diana
  • 12-23-17

A Truly Great Book

A must read for every human being... For the sake of humanity read this book....

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  • raghav
  • 12-21-17

Awesome book

Great research . Well presented. I recommend this to anyone with an interest in evolution and science. Beautiful beautiful beautiful!!!

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  • Tim
  • 12-15-17

Exceptional

Enjoy it all... Wish I was capable of remembering everything I learned.... A excellent style of writing and perfectly read to reflect it.... Seriously well read.... Shame it can't be updated every year

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  • Chris
  • 12-14-17

excellent audiobook

You must pay attention and you will be rewarded. I learned a lot from the book. sometimes it is a little dry. but stay with it and you will wish for more.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-06-17

storytelling textbook

the book uses plenty of stories to explain everything. this makes it easily understood and interesting throughout.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-01-17

Human kind in focus

Astounding all the facts and figures, wonderful detail and varied descriptions. I get the impressions scientific progress has been held back generations by the petty and egotistical nature of many researchers, the greater the specialist the bigger the ego to protect.
Fantastic book, very clearly spoken, highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-01-17

A great listen.

19 hours of subjects I generally found boreing at school delivered with just the right level of humour.
Riveted all the way, even when hearing about mosses, fungi and lichens.
The veneer is off; the world of science seems to muddle through just as much as the rest of us

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-26-17

You have to prioritise this

A Gripping, spectacular account easy for all to comprehend and marvel in. A worthwhile purchase