Regular price: $43.93

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Editorial 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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    10,446
  • 4 Stars
    3,309
  • 3 Stars
    955
  • 2 Stars
    242
  • 1 Stars
    210

Performance

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    7,655
  • 4 Stars
    1,851
  • 3 Stars
    499
  • 2 Stars
    93
  • 1 Stars
    79

Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    7,146
  • 4 Stars
    2,160
  • 3 Stars
    611
  • 2 Stars
    131
  • 1 Stars
    98
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fantastically Engaging

Where does A Short History of Nearly Everything rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of my favorite non-fiction audiobooks I've listened to.

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

I was pleasantly surprised at how absorbing this book is to listen to. I can usually only listen for an hour or two in order to digest all of the information in this kind of book. It is rich with content and so vast in topics, but Richard Matthews reads it such an engaging way, and Bryson peppers the dense material with interesting facts about the personal lives of historical figures in a manner that kept me deeply engaged. A non-fiction book about science has never made me more curious and excited than this one. While some of the information is outdated, I'm eager to pick up books about more recent developments in science.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Enjoyed it

Really enjoyed this book, but wow is it long! Sometimes found myself not paying attention to the speakers monotone voice. Perfect book for someone who needs an excellent refresher of everything they learned in science class from 1st grade through grad school.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fantastic

This book is simply amazing. It explains the history and people of science like a character story and makes you see the world in a way no textbook can. A must read for anyone interested in the fundamental questions of life and the universe. Also the narrator was perfect

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ed
  • 11-10-15

Bryson is missing in action

I was looking for the old Bryson, the humorist and thought I would see humor coming through in his explanation of scientific history. Not so. While he has clearly done his research and has an interest in the subject, I found that his treatment was rather dry and detailed. The title is the most humorous thing about it.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Enlightening

A wonderful book with a great narrator. I stayed engaged throughout the book, never a dull moment.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ross
  • Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
  • 11-02-15

While a bit outdated, this book is a gem

Bryson does a wonderful job of pulling together a brief history of the different branches of science and shows how they all tied together. In addition to the history, you get an interesting perspective of the different players, told by themselves as well as their friends and enemies. Bryson is clear about his audience and never goes too deep for the interested but non-mathematical. I only wish that there was an updated version as much of what as presented as "so" in 2003 when the book was written has changed through additional work and discovery.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • G
  • 11-02-15

Audio issue

The book is informative beyond doubt though the reader has a typical problem if one notices it and is affected by it. He doesn't swallow his saliva often and the tone becomes irritatingly different.

I am disappointed by the reader. Would prefer a book from different reader.

Wish audible did a better quality control.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I never knew how much I did not know

A thoroughly interesting book, well read. I am recommending it to my friends. Really great!
Be warned, you will need to rewind a lot to process some of the topics.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

love this book

Have listened to this book multiple times and still get new information, I love it.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Tremendous Book

Truly a worthwhile read. Bryson captures the splendid detail of almost everything worth mentioning that was ever discovered in the world.