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A Short History of Nearly Everything Audiobook

A Short History of Nearly Everything

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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 (13994 )
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  •  
    Barbara San Antonio, TX, United States 05-03-05
    Barbara San Antonio, TX, United States 05-03-05 Member Since 2002
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    "Everyone needs to know this stuff"

    Near the beginning Bryson states that he knew almost nothing about the only world he would ever inhabit. Most people seem to be in pretty much the same state. If you listen to this you will join him in not being quite so ignorant.

    That's great, but what I like best is that while he presents our best current understanding of how our universe works, he also provides a series of wonderful profiles of the very human men and women who have slowly and painfully (and in some cases arrogantly) built up the framework of what we know -- and upon which we will continue to built our understanding. It is an ode to science and scientists. As far as I am concernerned this should be required readling...or listening!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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    Walter Benton Harbor, MI, USA 12-22-04
    Walter Benton Harbor, MI, USA 12-22-04 Member Since 2016
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    "Awesome Summary of Time"

    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)

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lois Newton, NJ, USA 09-19-04
    Lois Newton, NJ, USA 09-19-04
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    "Unbelievable!"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer 09-09-04 Member Since 2006
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    "Overwhelming"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rowan Marlborough, MA, USA 02-06-04
    Rowan Marlborough, MA, USA 02-06-04
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    "Dont miss this one."

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Graham Cochrane Mississauga 12-30-03
    Graham Cochrane Mississauga 12-30-03 Member Since 2001

    Graham Cochrane

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    "Clever writing in TLC's"

    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!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chukwuweta Milpitas, CA, USA 11-13-03
    Chukwuweta Milpitas, CA, USA 11-13-03 Member Since 2010
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    "Now I know nearly everything"

    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!

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jody R. Nathan Tulsa, OK USA 09-14-04
    Jody R. Nathan Tulsa, OK USA 09-14-04 Member Since 2016
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    "A short history of science & scientists -- GREAT!"

    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.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
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    Jean-Claude Stanwood, WA, USA 11-03-03
    Jean-Claude Stanwood, WA, USA 11-03-03 Member Since 2009
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    "A Short History of Nearly Everyting"

    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.

    66 of 81 people found this review helpful
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    mark harris 12-24-16
    mark harris 12-24-16 Member Since 2012
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    "Six stars"

    The is the one book I wish I could give six stars. I read this once per year and insist my friends read it. My only complaint that it needs to be updated with the latest scientific knowledge available. They should do a 10 year anniversary update.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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