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Publisher's Summary

A captivating history of the universe - from before the dawn of time through the far reaches of the distant future. 

Most historians study the smallest slivers of time, emphasizing specific dates, individuals, and documents. But what would it look like to study the whole of history, from the big bang through the present day - and even into the remote future? How would looking at the full span of time change the way we perceive the universe, the earth, and our very existence? 

These were the questions David Christian set out to answer when he created the field of "Big History", the most exciting new approach to understanding where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. In Origin Story, Christian takes readers on a wild ride through the entire 13.8 billion years we've come to know as "history". By focusing on defining events (thresholds), major trends, and profound questions about our origins, Christian exposes the hidden threads that tie everything together - from the creation of the planet to the advent of agriculture, nuclear war, and beyond. With stunning insights into the origin of the universe, the beginning of life, the emergence of humans, and what the future might bring, Origin Story boldly reframes our place in the cosmos.

©2018 David Christian (P)2018 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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A brilliant achievement, must read/listen

This is the best and perhaps most important book I have read or listened to in a long time. We humans have a very poor sense of our place in the universe and this planet, of what a speck we are on the ocean of time. Origin Story places us in the context of, quite literally, the history of everything: the Big Bang, formation of galaxies, our star and our planet; the chemical, geological and biological development of the Earth; and where our species has come from, how it has transformed in an instant; and how our hurtling acceleration of technology and energy consumption may destroy us and our home. However, it also discusses how we can change our direction, possibly leading us to a brilliant future.

One of the main characters in this book is entropy, and entropy always wins in the end. Christian states that it will lead to the heat death of the universe, which he explains well. (I have read, however, that some scientists think that the ever faster expansion of the universe may lead to a Big Rip, in which the fabric of spacetime is literally shredded.)

The book is written with exceptional clarity and organization. There is limited scientific jargon and when technical terms are used, they are well explained. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in something more than the myopic vision of ourselves that is so prevalent.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Amazing!

Lots of data but that's what made it so interesting. I highly recommend it for all who are curious and who struggle to find their place in the universe.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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The best book on how we got where we are

I was very surprised the deep extent of the book and put it on the list of my top favorites. I learnt some of the individual concepts on high school but never saw the so connected. Awesome!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Captures everything

A great capturing of all important steps in the evolution of our Universe from the Big Bang until today.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A great introduction into big history

The book takes you through what we understand as the beginning of the universe up to the creation of modern civilization. I myself can start to lose attention when big numbers are thrown out, but I wasn't too put off by the way they described our early universe. The evolution of big life, then hominid species, is when I really found it to get interesting. So if you find the beginning to be a little slow, I would advise you to stick with it. It's really worth it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Little Bit of Everything

After reading A Short History of Nearly Everything, I was worried this book may be a little repetitive. However, I was pleasantly surprised that this only built-on any prior tid bits and only made the reading more enjoyable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Really interesting

I really enjoyed this book and it held my attention the whole way through (although I was a little surprised by that to be honest). It is factual, apolitical and ended with some very thought provoking ideas. The narrator was excellent with just the right amount of energy and inflection for the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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man's search for meaming....today and forever

I can't say enough about how profound this origin story is....very thought provoking....with intellectual and emotional messages that alter the human mind set for now and for all times!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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So much for Bill Gates' recommendation...

This was one of Bill Gates' recommendations for the "best reads of this summer". I took his recommendation, and was utterly disappointed. This author has no new insights to offer at all, that a well read individual doesn't already know. The narrator has a boring monotone.

14 of 26 people found this review helpful

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I recommend with factfullness

I recommend listening to this story in conjunction with factfullness.

Whether or not you agree that humanity is causing global warming Humanity's existence on this planet is tied to whether or not the planet gets warmer or colder. We need to figure out plans and implements them to keep the ecology at the optimum level for human existence. At least until we expand off this planet to occupy more than one.

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  • Gareth
  • 06-22-18

A Very Good Effort

So the challenge to write a big history of everything must be a huge task. My knowledge of the topics covered in this book are elementary but I was seeking a consilience of thought.
David Christian has to be congratulated on his excellent attempt to achieve an almost impossible task. I found the reading and subject matter excellent. There were sometimes parts I didn't fully grasp but this is the joy of learning in so much that it stimulates one to research some more.
I have noticed on general book review sites there becomes almost an intellectual one- upmanship and a culture of "look at me I have a better knowledge than the author" by picking fault and quoting other books. Not into this game and for me what made this book superb was the theme of energy flows in natural systems a constant thread throughout.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-06-18

Not great

If you wish to know the history of everything, I cannot recommend A Brief History Of Everything by Bill Bryson enough, it explains almost everything in an informative, fun and interesting way.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • meditatecreate
  • 08-01-18

Brilliant birds eye perspective on existence

Brilliant birds eye perspective on existence. The author does a remarkable job at covering a vast period of time in a way that keeps the reader engaged.

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  • Yolande Donovan
  • 08-01-18

Didn’t understand all of it but still enjoyable

Could do with taking a few minutes to explain the science around things (for us non science buffs) eg protons, electrons. Otherwise still enjoyable.