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A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill…

A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003)

by Bill Bryson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
18,323325137 (4.17)451
  1. 142
    Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (Percevan)
  2. 72
    The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean (amyblue)
  3. 31
    Maps of Time : An Introduction to Big History by David Christian (clamairy)
  4. 10
    Coming of Age in the Milky Way by Timothy Ferris (sturlington)
  5. 43
    Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond (Percevan)
  6. 21
    Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe by Simon Singh (residue)
  7. 11
    The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium by Robert Lacey (Anonymous user)
  8. 00
    Nachrichten aus einem unbekannten Universum: Eine Zeitreise durch die Meere by Frank Schätzing (Dariah)
  9. 22
    Knowledge and Wonder by Victor F. Weisskopf (erik_galicki)
    erik_galicki: Weisskopf is more concise, more cohesive, and less anecdotal than Bryson. I consider Weisskopf a more enlightening but less entertaining alternate.
  10. 44
    Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin (meggyweg)
  11. 12
    Almost Everyone's Guide to Science: The Universe, Life and Everything by John Gribbin (Noisy)
    Noisy: If you find Bryson too lightweight, then the next step is to Gribbin. Gribbin goes all the way from the smallest scale (sub-atomic particles) to the largest (the universe).
  12. 03
    I Love Paul Revere, Whether He Rode or Not by Richard Shenkman (John_Vaughan)
  13. 711
    A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes by Stephen Hawking (coclimber)

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» See also 451 mentions

English (291)  Dutch (11)  Spanish (6)  German (5)  Italian (3)  Swedish (3)  Catalan (2)  Portuguese (1)  Hungarian (1)  Piratical (1)  French (1)  All languages (325)
Showing 1-5 of 291 (next | show all)
LOTS of details. Loved that. One day I would like to read it again so the connections will return. I saw them while reading and now only remember "oh, yeas, there IS something about that...." ( )
  gayjeg | Apr 25, 2019 |
What a great book!
* I listened to the audiobook read by William Roberts, who did a great job
* The book is lengthy, but knowing how many subjects are included, it seems.. just right
* There's no way to remember all stuff after reading, but it is OK
* It's more about the feeling of history, progress, human errors and most importantly, human curiosity. The book is driven by very fundamental questions. How old is the Earth?, How we got here? What are things made of? Instead of simple answers, we're getting great stories (of many people) of how we find the answers.
( )
  mkowalcze | Jan 30, 2019 |
I read this online and thoroughly enjoyed it. ( )
  scottkirkwood | Dec 4, 2018 |
A very enjoyable, very readable story about what are normally very complicated subjects. If you're at all interested natural history and/or the physical or theoretical sciences, this is the book to pick up (for a lay person obviously, if a professor at CalTech picked this up, might find it to be an enjoyable read, but wouldn't provide any astounding new knowledge). ( )
  hhornblower | Nov 26, 2018 |
I was utterly overwhelmed by this brilliant piece of literature. Author Bill Bryson covers literally everything. Particle Physics, Astrophysics, Astronomy, Meteorology, Biology, Anthropology, Paleontology, Chemistry, Zoology--all the "-ologies." He goes back in time to the Big Bang and takes you up to the present and possibilities for the future. This book is an enormous undertaking by a historian who can describe history in a fascinating manner. Some of the scientific discoveries he describes are weird; some of the scientists, even weirder. I was surprised to realize that not all scientists are noble and idealistic, as I had formerly surmised. Some are not only rivals, but persons who often take credit for each other's work and destroy each other's reputations. From a human perspective, the book is filled with drama. By "us," the author refers to not only humans, but to all species of creatures on our planet, those living and those extinct, and he looks objectively at the role that humankind has played in the innumerable extinctions. Some parts of the book were tragic and other parts were funny, but overall, this marvelous work is a look at the majestic nature of the universe and makes you really glad, no matter what your circumstances, that you are part of it. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 291 (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 (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bryson, Billprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goddijn, ServaasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gower, NeilIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matthews, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Päkkilä, MarkkuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, WilliamNarratorsecondary 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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:29 -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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