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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 (14399 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Justin 09-10-15
    Justin 09-10-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "read, read, and reread it!"

    have read this book several times and never Tire of it. it's an amazing book. I recommend it to everyone who has even a remote interest in science or the world around them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jamie White Peymeinade France 09-09-15
    Jamie White Peymeinade France 09-09-15 Member Since 2013
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    3
    3
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    "Become a human Google!"

    I listened to it twice and now I know everything :-) always interesting and packed with fun facts definitely worth buying

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allan 09-08-15
    Allan 09-08-15 Member Since 2016
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    "This should be required reading for technologists."
    Would you listen to A Short History of Nearly Everything again? Why?

    I have listened to it several times over. There are so many stories and facts in here, each one is a bit of a feast for the mind. Just one listen isn't enough.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Short History of Nearly Everything?

    There were so many crazy things. I can't recall the name of the scientist, but the poor fellow who who was victimized by the backstabbing scientist who established public museums, really got my sympathy. The degree to which some have suffered for their honesty and humanity at the hands of ambitious psychopaths is frightening.


    What does Richard Matthews bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Richard Matthews is probably the best male narrator out there. He always makes a story better. He is my favorite narrator of all time.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There are many sad things that happen to scientists. There is a lot of fraudulence and back-stabbing. There is a lot of self-deception. You've got to have a heart for some of these women and men. They try so hard, and are jerked-around by some awful, ambitious people at times.


    Any additional comments?

    This was a very British-centric history, but all true. At times it angered me for its relentlessly monocular view of the superiority of British science. I love the country, but there is a tendency to play down every other nation's accomplishments. That being said, this is one of the best books out there, and you will likely listen to it a lot. It's a masterpiece.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Tilley 09-02-15
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    "Phenomenal book and even better narration"
    Where does A Short History of Nearly Everything rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is far and away the best audio book I've listened to.


    What other book might you compare A Short History of Nearly Everything to and why?

    I find this book to be difficult to compare to other hobbyist science books. It covered a VERY wide array of material but doesn't delve too deep into any singlular item. I especially enjoyed the little bits of trivia or "did you know" that the author pepperd into the text.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    All of them! I was riveted.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely. I had a long drive home (8 hours) and it made the trip FLY.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator did a remarkable job. The inflections and dry British whit fit perfectly with the text. I'd love to have Richard Matthews narrate my life. In fact, that's the voice I hear in my head...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joel 08-31-15
    Joel 08-31-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Good overarching summary, though dated."

    Good general summary of many things, but beginning to get a bit dated. Especially the particle physics bits and the astrophysics stuff. Since its from 2003, pluto is still a planet etc.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    firepitnut 08-26-15
    firepitnut 08-26-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Amazing!! Great overview"

    Makes science fun, interesting, and thought-provoking, even for someone who had forgotten even the most basic science and didn't know a lot of the more advantaged things. Gives and respects many different points of view and is honest about the shortcomings and exaggerations of science. But also rejoices in the major accomplishments! Amazing work!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa 08-18-15
    Lisa 08-18-15 Member Since 2015
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    "too many names and dates"

    unfortunately this book want as good as I had hoped. you're much better off reading the great courses lecture called big history: the Big Bang to present. there is too much irrelevant information in this book and the jokes are few and far between

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael WORCESTER, MA, United States 08-05-15
    Michael WORCESTER, MA, United States 08-05-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Excellently written, well narrated, and clever"

    Another impossibly clever Bryson book and one of his best. While I would have preferred Bryson narrated the book himself, the reader was great none the less and still made a great presentation of Bryson's clever wit. An excellent, fun, and informative book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benjamin K. 08-04-15
    Benjamin K. 08-04-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Very Enjoyable Book - informative and entertaining"

    This book was a pleasure to listen to. It did a great job covering how we have achieved our current scientific understanding of the world. By taking us through important scientific discoveries it was able to demonstrate how our knowledge has built upon itself to get to where we are today. I highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lane rigdon 08-01-15
    lane rigdon 08-01-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Entertaining but dense"

    The reader is wonderful. The subject is fascinating. It just can be a little dense at times. The space section is magnificent just to try and fathom the size, scale and time involved in it all. The section of phylum and species history is... LONG!! However, all and all this is a good read and I would recommend it to any lover of science.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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