Customer Reviews for

A Short History of Nearly Everything

Average Rating 4.5
( 388 )
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5 Star

(237)

4 Star

(82)

3 Star

(41)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(22)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

21 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

One to savor

This book has been sitting on my bedside for two months, and it has NOT been easy folks, and I mean that in the very best way possible. I am savoring this book chapter by chapter, and it has been an exercise in restraint.

Mr. Bryson has accomplished the goal he laid...
This book has been sitting on my bedside for two months, and it has NOT been easy folks, and I mean that in the very best way possible. I am savoring this book chapter by chapter, and it has been an exercise in restraint.

Mr. Bryson has accomplished the goal he laid out for himself (as described in the introduction) brilliantly. He realized that he knew very little about the physical world he lived in, and attributed this to the fact that scientific texts are rarely the kind of read that a layman would term "gripping". He set about researching the history of the various physical sciences -- geology, particle physics, etc., and then filled this book with the fascinating stories behind everything from the invention of rubber to plate tectonics to Einsteins relativity theory.

Reading this book is like tucking into a deliciously rich dessert, and I am savoring every page. I recommend it highly, and especially to anyone looking for a book to read while traveling as it would be a thoroughly absorbing way to while away the time.

posted by DearReader on July 14, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

ABRIDGED? Forget It!

My wife and I love Bill Bryson's books and have listened to most of them on tape while driving. We looked forward to getting A Short History of Neary Everything, but since it is ABRIDGED, we are not going to buy it. We hate books that are chopped up. Sorry Bill, we want...
My wife and I love Bill Bryson's books and have listened to most of them on tape while driving. We looked forward to getting A Short History of Neary Everything, but since it is ABRIDGED, we are not going to buy it. We hate books that are chopped up. Sorry Bill, we want the whole thing or nothing.

posted by Anonymous on May 18, 2003

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2014

    Fgggg

    The book was amasing XD.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2014

    Cofusing

    Kinda lost but good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Iu um n.h uu njhjjn..mk hj

    .,jiuh jnjnunuhh bnonn hkn,. M umnbnhnhnnmknj. U hi

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    Bill Bryson is a wonderful writer, but Bill Bryson is not a sci

    Bill Bryson is a wonderful writer, but Bill Bryson is not a scientist. This book is enjoyable and educational if you know little or nothing about contemporary science, but leaves you feeling very unsatisfied if you are scientifically informed to a reasonable extent, because Bryson generally just takes the "default" commonly accepted academic positions and explains them nicely. He provides very little in the way of depth, scholarly debate, alternative theories, cutting edge ideas, etc. Being from the latter group, I found this book to be shallow and a bit boorish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    Bryson takes a lot of complex historical and science facts and connects the dots making them very understandable. After reading the hardcopy, I purchased the nook version. It is a great way to spend extra time while you might be waiting for an appointment. There are so many good facts that I find it great to review them. I have shared many interesting items with my friends. Often the response is,"Really, I had no idea!" Bill Bryson's writing is often witty with lots of funny explanations to help make this subject really enjoyable to read about. This book is a must for anyone wanting to understand the fundamental workings of life on earth and mankind's place in it all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2013

    I loved it

    Although it was not short and it was not about everything, a ""medium-long history focused on science" does not sound promising. Having read this gives me background on lots of current issues.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    AMAZING!!

    Its really entertaining and smart. I cant find a lot books that are intelligent yet fun. A great read for science nerds ( like me :-) ) and people who just want to have a good time! My science teacher reads it to us all the time and its AWESOME!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Love it

    Very spectacular no words to say

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  • Posted January 28, 2013

    All of the questions I asked as a youngster are finally answered

    All of the questions I asked as a youngster are finally answered in an understandable fashion.  A great book to read aloud to family members.

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  • Posted November 29, 2012

    Hilarious as usual. Bryson has a real knack for taking the munda

    Hilarious as usual. Bryson has a real knack for taking the mundane and bringing out the humour in it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    T

    T

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  • Posted August 15, 2012

    Wow am I disappointed. I bought the book after seeing the great

    Wow am I disappointed. I bought the book after seeing the great reviews
    but the book is dry. I judge a book by whether it is either 1)
    entertaining (of which it is not) and/or 2) whether the reader comes
    away more knowledgeable than before the book (of which I think I am
    getting marginal learning value). The reason for #2 is that this book
    focused less on the history of the stuff he covers than on the
    quirkiness and personalities of the scientists or discoverers which
    should be more a backdrop of the "history" as the book is
    titled. Plus it skims over alot of the science in a way that makes me
    think much of it was poorly understood and probably over his head,
    hidden in a book titled "a short history..." I can read alot
    of books on different subject matters and I consider myself a fairly
    disciplined reader and avid learner, but this one is a challenge to complete.

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  • Posted May 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    All Hail Science History

    A pleasantly long down-to-earth walk through the zeitgeists and personalities involved in the untangling and reweaving of the science of the universe into our modern understanding.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2012

    Great read

    Fun ideas and really explains a lot in an easy way.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Challenge

    I read this book on a recommendation by a friend. Little did I know that it would take me nearly 3 months to get through it! And I loved every minute of it, though I must admit the chapter on Quarks was rough. Having finished it I was amazed how much I learned, and yeah...I was proud of myself and felt so much smarter (I said, felt, not am ok). Bryson has a way of written about stuff you're not really interested in and making you want to know about it anyway. He is a truly brilliant writer.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 11, 2012

    Wow, is an expression that is reserved for books like this. I re

    Wow, is an expression that is reserved for books like this. I remember reading this years ago, and still today, be enthralled by its ability to squeeze so much information into that small of a book, and least of all be as tolerable and interesting as a copy of Playboy is to a pervert who "reads it for the articles". No matter your skill set, or you ability/inability to pay attention, this book will hook you, if you give it a chance. I never thought an author could make things like the history of radio waves compare to the Mayan Calendar conspiricies in terms of fact and suspense, as well as setting the records straight in some departments. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to find their nich into the science world but have been afraid to be called a geek. This type of book comes along only once every other decade.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    Good read for science geeks and e non-science people too!

    I have enjoyed this book. Bill Bryson has done a great job covering the history of a lot of science without needing a dictionary next to you as you read the book.

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  • Posted January 24, 2012

    Makes you feel just a little be smarter.

    If science professors has assigned books like this I'm sure more people would actually do the reading. I have been trying to lend my copy out to anyone who will give it a chance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2011

    Awesome!!!!!!!!!

    I had to read this book for a science class and thought it would be boring, but this is one of the best books I've read!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2011

    Great general science history book for beginners

    First, there are a few errors in this book, so don't trust it anymore than, say, a well written and sourced Wikipedia article. That said, Bryson makes science and science history fun and interesting, which is a rare gift.

    He gives some great explanations regarding the basic foundation of the sciences, and builds on them from there.

    It's ok to start small here, before moving onto more heavy, in depth material. You can do it!

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