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A Short History of Nearly Everything

Narrated by: Bill Bryson
Length: 5 hrs and 48 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (343 ratings)

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Summary

A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson’s quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. His challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science.

It's not so much about what we know, as about how we know what we know. How do we know what is in the centre of the Earth, or what a black hole is, or where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out?

On his travels through time and space, Bill Bryson takes us with him on the ultimate eye-opening journey and reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.

©2003 Bill Bryson (P)2003 Random House Audiobooks

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Lighter work that the paper version

I tried reading this book, but frankly, struggled somewhat.

As for the audiobook, Bill Bryson?s (own) enthusiastic voice and light-hearted approach to unveiling a short history of scientific discoveries, held me entertained for many hours during my long commute to and from work.

What?s brilliant about the audiobook is that if you miss something or don?t quite grasp something first time around, then it?s easy to just skip back a little and listen again. I found Bryson?s language and style to be pitched just right ? neither too highbrow nor the opposite, such that I have already listened through twice.

One final note, being first published in 2003, there are aspects of the book that are already beginning to date ? or rather, there?s a noticeable absence of more up to date references here and there. For example, in his overview of particle physics, as a listener you?re dying to hear a witty Bryson quip about the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (which of course wasn?t around when he wrote the book). I?m left hoping that Bryson will update this history, but don?t be put off ? it?s still an excellent, mind blowing short history of nearly everything (scientific).

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb

Bill Brysons enthusiasm and wit permeate every page of this book. The awards and paudits it has received are well deserved. The audio book races along at a good pace and the narrator captures the dryness of Brysons humour.
The book seeks to explain, in an accessible way, how science got to where it is today, some of the false trails that were followed and what is still unknown. Bill Bryson starts from the standpoint of his own youthful wonder at how scientists could possibly know what they did. His book is a personal voyage of discovery - the viewpoint of an enthusiastic layperson.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I love it

I have had this audiobook for several months and have listened to it many times. I personally do not understand the criticism some people have made of the book being boring etc. I have read the physical book also and think this is a very interesting work throughout...but then maybe that is just me and my love of trivia.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Much abridged but still good

This book constantly blows my mind in all it's forms - each page read or listened to is packed with facts, lots of which I don't understand fully which possibly makes them more impressive. I prefer Bryson's narration to that of the unabridged but people who aren't keen on his reading style are catered for with the full version. This is my go to book for sleepless nights - the sheer amount of data will either teach you something or put you to sleep.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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If you have to only read one book ... this is it!

This book was a great listen and aptly named. I will retread. Doesn't lecture at you or condescend, just lays out information in a palatable manner. Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book

Awesome book to listen to, I look forward to listening to others in the short history series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed this more than I thought I would

I choose this audio book after my brother recommended. I wasnt convinced - but I gave it ago and got into it after a while. I was sorry in the end that I had chosen the abridged version - as its all the same when you have a credit - and its the kind of book you can do in chunks.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Even I understood this!!


I have this book in hardback and it was one of the ones I was 'going to read' - having read the first 5 or so pages I thought I was going to enjoy it but never got around to reading it. After suffering sleepless nights, to stop myself getting up and wondering around the house I downloaded this as my first book. I have tried to read Marcus Chown and Stephen Hawking - so far to no avail. I found Bill Bryson easy on the ear and very listenable. I enjoyed it immensely - and I could understand it - all of it - even the bits about atoms!! It's true Quantum Mechanics cannot hurt you and it hurts you even less if you start with an introduction from Bill Bryson. He is down to earth and humerous and I could listen to his voice all night (and have done!).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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loved it

i binged the audio book in one and loved it. lots to now think about

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Great Listen!

Loved it! Such an interesting book.
I would recommend this to anyone who has a brain😄

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  • David Steenburg
  • 23-07-17

Abridged!

Nothing indicated this was abridged until the closing credits. My only disappointment. I had read this before and some of my favorite parts were missing.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Carolyn
  • 23-01-12

If you only own one audio book, this is it!

This book was a little hard going as text but completely comes to life when read by Bill Bryson. I love it and have listened to it several times.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-04-19

Engaging read

absurd amount of knowledge. condensed without losing any of the interesing bits. communicating in an easy way to understand.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Louis-Philippe
  • 20-03-19

disapointing

i was expecting a lot more of out this book. not that interesting hor entertaining.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Bloodpickle
  • 17-01-19

Do not buy this is a short version, not full

Was really disappointed when I realized how much of the actual book was cut from this sham of an audio book

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-01-19

Interesting but really tough to follow

Listened to this on my 1hr commutes. Lots of details with many names and dates, long sentences with above average vocabulary..i.e. words that the average person doesn't understand. Gave up after 2 chapters

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mouchizz
  • 03-08-18

Best books i ever heard

loved it! best science book ive read in a long time. taught me a lot.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • vishnu
  • 22-04-18

Overall good captivating subject and presentation

some what expected from title it's a general overview for people to these subject , good flow and captivating .

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • uwais
  • 14-08-17

Great primer on the history of the world

Very interesting content. Primarily about how the universe, galaxies, earth was created and then moves onto some of the most important discoveries made about living things. The authors voice is a bit monotone and at times the content is packed with names of discoverers, academics, etc., which makes it a bit difficult to follow. All in all a good audiobook.

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  • heather
  • 08-06-17

my favourite author

Love. if Bryson was my teacher, I would take every subject imaginable, and go to school forever.