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A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill…

A Short History of Nearly Everything (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Bill Bryson

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15,142271124 (4.16)350
Title:A Short History of Nearly Everything
Authors:Bill Bryson
Info:Broadway (2004), Paperback, 560 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned (inactive)

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A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (2003)

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English (247)  Dutch (10)  German (4)  Swedish (3)  Spanish (3)  Italian (2)  Portuguese (1)  French (1)  All languages (271)
Showing 1-5 of 247 (next | show all)
I hate science, but thanks to Bill Bryson, I devoured a 500 page book about it. Humorous anecdotes, eccentric scientists, fascinating footnotes, and a delightful way with words and images that engage and amuse. Bryson writes to the reader who comes to the table with no aptitude for science just a desire to learn. I drew different conclusions than he did and don’t agree with his evolutionary bent, but I enjoyed the read just the same. I wish this had been my text in school and Bryson had been my professor. I recommend this book for the life-long learner and curious reader. Great stuff! ( )
  TheLoopyLibrarian | Sep 3, 2014 |
Great book. Popular science history from the Big Bang to the present. ( )
  ohernaes | Aug 29, 2014 |
This was like watching a documentary but in more detail. I enjoyed every bit of it, extremely well done. I highly recommend it to any science fanatics out there. ( )
1 vote yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
Great book, brings science to life and makes it interesting and even humorous. ( )
  BryceCarmony | Aug 21, 2014 |
"Welcome. And congratulations." These two opening sentences of A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson hooked me the minute I read them. I've had a special place on my bookshelf for A Short History of Nearly Everything for years. Ever since I was in the 4th grade when my teacher introduced me to this book, I have been fascinated by Bill Bryon's book. It is what lead to my fascination with science and helped spur me into reading even more books, some in a the non-fiction genre that I wouldn't have dreamed of reading before A Short History. Personal experience aside, A Short History really is a masterpiece of scientific writing. Bryson has done an absolutely wonderful job writing this book and it truly is a book that everyone should read.

The title of the book says it all, in a way. A Short History is the story of how we got to where we are today, not by looking at what empire made war with each other, but by what we have accomplished in science. In that sense, the book isn't really a history of everything, but it captures the entire history of science in one broad, grand stroke. The book covers the beginning of our planet and the birth of science all the way up to the very late 1900s. Bryson tackles all fields of science , from anthropology to quantum mechanics. There is very little he has left out of the book.

"There seemed to be a mystifying universal conspiracy among textbook authors to make certain the material they dealt with never strayed too near the realm of the mildly interesting and was always at least a long-distance phone call from the frankly interesting." - Bill Bryson

This quote from the book is one that I find very pertinent to the state of scientific writing that most people come across. Bryson does a really good job of avoiding this issue. He manages to present all the information shoved between the covers in a really interesting and amusing way. Yes, there is a lot of stuff in the book, but it never felt like it was too much or boring. In actuality, it was really fun to learn about the world around you and who was responsible for the life you are living today. The topics may not have been covered into the depth needed to say you are now an expert in a field, but in the end, this is a history book, not a college physics textbook.

It's that breadth of coverage of A Short History that really makes this book such joy to read. Its very rare that you get a chance to see such a large view of what humanity has accomplished, especially in the realm of science. Bryson was able to really paint a story of the achievements of humanity over the years.Through the writing, it's was easy to follow different events and their impact on things that sometimes don't even seem related at all. But it's also those random little facts about the different scientists or projects that give it the character and the quirk that keep things moving along.

A Short History of Nearly Everything is a masterpiece. It takes the most significant scientific achievements throughout history and combines it all into one book a mere 478 pages. It may sound like a lot, but those pages were some of the most intriguing I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It's kept at a level accessible for all, so don't be afraid if you really aren't into science. I've enjoyed the book for many years and I know that many others will be able to find joy in it as well. ( )
  Plyte | Jul 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 247 (next | show all)
The more I read of ''A Short History of Nearly Everything,'' the more I was convinced that Bryson had achieved exactly what he'd set out to do, and, moreover, that he'd done it in stylish, efficient, colloquial and stunningly accurate prose.
"Una breve historia de casi todo" explica como ha evolucionado el mundo para acabar siendo lo que es hoy. Explica cualquier aspecto de nuestro universo, desde el más recóndito al más conocido.
added by Jaism94 | editBill Bryson
The book's underlying strength lies in the fact that Bryson knows what it's like to find science dull or inscrutable. Unlike scientists who turn their hand to popular writing, he can claim to have spent the vast majority of his life to date knowing very little about how the universe works.

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bryson, Billprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goddijn, ServaasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matthews, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Päkkilä, MarkkuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vlek, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The physicist Leo Szilard once announced to his friend Hans Bethe that he was thinking of keeping a diary: 'I don't intend to publish. I am merely going to record the facts for the information of God.' ''Don't you think God knows the facts?" Bethe asked. 'Yes,' said Szilard. 'He knows the facts, but He does not know this version of the facts.' - Hans Christian von Baeyer, Taming the Atom.
To Meghan and Chris. Welcome.
First words
No matter how hard you try you will never be able to grasp just how tiny, how spatially unassuming, is a proton.
They're all in the same plane. They're all going around in the same direction. . . .It's perfect, you know. It's gorgeous. It's almost uncanny. - Astronomer Geoffrey Marcy describing the solar system
Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night; / God said, Let Newton be! and all was light. - Alexander Pope
A physicist is the atoms' way of thinking about atoms. - Anonymous
The history of any one part of the Earth, like the life of a soldier, consists of long periods of boredom and short periods of terror. - British geologist Derek V. Ager
The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming. - Freeman Dyson
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 076790818X, Paperback)

From primordial nothingness to this very moment, A Short History of Nearly Everything reports what happened and how humans figured it out. To accomplish this daunting literary task, Bill Bryson uses hundreds of sources, from popular science books to interviews with luminaries in various fields. His aim is to help people like him, who rejected stale school textbooks and dry explanations, to appreciate how we have used science to understand the smallest particles and the unimaginably vast expanses of space. With his distinctive prose style and wit, Bryson succeeds admirably. Though A Short History clocks in at a daunting 500-plus pages and covers the same material as every science book before it, it reads something like a particularly detailed novel (albeit without a plot). Each longish chapter is devoted to a topic like the age of our planet or how cells work, and these chapters are grouped into larger sections such as "The Size of the Earth" and "Life Itself." Bryson chats with experts like Richard Fortey (author of Life and Trilobite) and these interviews are charming. But it's when Bryson dives into some of science's best and most embarrassing fights--Cope vs. Marsh, Conway Morris vs. Gould--that he finds literary gold. --Therese Littleton

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:32 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

In this book Bill Bryson explores the most intriguing and consequential questions that science seeks to answer and attempts to understand everything that has transpired from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. To that end, Bill Bryson apprenticed himself to a host of the world's most profound scientific minds, living and dead. His challenge is to take subjects like geology, chemistry, paleontology, astronomy, and particle physics and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people, like himself, made bored (or scared) stiff of science by school. His interest is not simply to discover what we know but to find out how we know it. How do we know what is in the center of the earth, thousands of miles beneath the surface? How can we know the extent and the composition of the universe, or what a black hole is? How can we know where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out? On his travels through space and time, Bill Bryson encounters a splendid gallery of the most fascinating, eccentric, competitive, and foolish personalities ever to ask a hard question. In their company, he undertakes a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge.… (more)

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