Customer Reviews for

A Short History of Nearly Everything

Average Rating 4.5
( 388 )
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5 Star

(237)

4 Star

(82)

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(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 October 28, 2011

    Brain melting

    The first half or so of this book blew my mind every time I picked it up. The second half was less exciting but still interesting. Lot's of good stuff in here.

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    Fantasticaly Amazing

    I thought i had a good grasp of how the earth was formed to a amature idea of human history, but bill bryson takes his talents as a writer and makes some what would usually be a dry discussion dance.

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  • Posted October 7, 2011

    NICE .. if you could read it on a KOBO reader!.

    I have this book for real ..... it is a very interesting and readable book. You've got to have a keen interest in the Sciences though.
    Unfortunately I lost the purchase funds for this book due to B & N not making it available to KOBO nor Adobe Digital Editions.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 21, 2011

    Best Book Ever

    I have this book in hard cover, soft cover and now as an ebook. I've given away copies and I've recommended it to friends. I've read it 2+ times and I don't think I am going to tire from reading it again. The reason I put it on my nook is because once you've read it once, it's just the thing when you're looking for something to read at the doctor's waiting room. I wallow in the information and gain in perspective about our place in the universe. It's well written and easily digestible. It should be mandatory reading for non-science people on their road to enlightenment.

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  • Posted August 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A science text book for the rest of us.

    Bill Bryson's A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING is nothing if not succinct of title. The book is told at a dizzing pace from the moment of the big bang right through the rise of modern man with every concieveable scientific stop in between. What is amazing is that it truely does live up to its name in a little under 500 pages.

    The narrative is certainly much more entertaining then your typical high school science book. Unfortunatly Bryson is attempting to squeeze an eternity into a relativly small space (and he DOES pull it off) which often times makes all the information very difficult to digest. It is a mountain of information and its is as thorough as can be without tackling each subject within its own book. To put it mildly it is a lot to digest all at once.

    Despite the wealth of names, places, latin and the like that come at your like a wicked punch combination from a prized middle-weight fighter the book is intersting and informative nonetheless. You are bound to learn something you didn't before with each passing chapter. The myriad of sciences discussed is bound to peak your interests at some point or another.

    When you read the last page you sence the vastness and tininess of our world. Bryson composes the big picture beautifully. From the infinite bound of our universe to a singular point of our own existence, Bryson ties it all together in comprehensive easy to understand fashion. Bill Bryson is not a scientist but he may have interviewed every one important to the story of the universe and shares it all with us. Give it a read, the worse you could do is learn something.

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A great read.

    Excellent book! A very enjoyable, interesting, and informative read of great breadth and manageable depth. I came away more amazed than ever before at the wonders of our universe, planet, and species.

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  • Posted June 21, 2011

    Tells the story behind the science

    This is a very good book that tells many stories behind the science. Many know that Newton discovered gravity, or Marie Curie discovered radium, or Watson and Crick postulated the helical shape of DNA. However, this book provides intriguing stories behind the discoveries. For instance, Newton put a needle into his eye-socket to see how his eye was attached to his brain. Or Curie died from her research. Or there was tremendous in-fighting in the race to describe DNA.

    The book is rather long, as it attempts to cover the entire history of science and discovery. However the anecdotes are so lucid and interesting, you probably don't want to put it down.

    It also serves a good summary of what we know about science: the big bang, star formation, the elements, the age of the earth, geology, biology, etc. It somewhat abruptly ends with the history of man. It almost entirely most recent invention discoveries such as the steam engine, communications, and computing.

    This edition of the NOOK book is well sprinkled with photos, maps, and illustrations. This makes the book bigger and more expensive, but it punctuates the book with interesting figures. This eBook has good annotations that link the foot notes with their usage in the text, making it easy to hop back and forth.

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  • Posted June 17, 2011

    Complex stuff made simple without insulting your intelligence Great read easy to pick up at any point

    Easy to pick up at anytime.

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    My+bible

    This+is+the+Bible+of+science+for+non+scientists.++Excellent%2C+easy+read+and+entertaining+as+well.++Discover+a+lot+of+stuff+you+weren%27t+taught+in+school.++Bryson+is+a+god.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 27, 2011

    Favorite in the category

    This is one of the best general overviews of science and the way we go about discovering how the world works. I've read it three times and it never looses it's interest.

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  • Posted January 20, 2011

    great book!

    Great book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2011

    Great Book!

    Awseome book! Really makes you think. Great for people who like science mixed with plain mind-bogaling facts. Jumps around from one subject to another, but you get used to it.

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  • Posted December 25, 2010

    All the basics, and then some

    Bryson's breezy style lends itself very well to the not easy task of describing the basics of what makes the universe tick in a way that is accessible to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2010

    AmZing!

    Should be in all the Classrooms!

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  • Posted December 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Love this book - so educational!

    I am half through this book right now and i LOVE it!
    It is very educational and as easy as it can be given the subject. At the same time it manages to remain interesting, which is rare for books like this.
    I recommend everyone to read this book!
    Even if you feel that you dont understand 100% of what you read, you still learn a lot and feel whole lot smarter than before!:)
    Great book!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2010

    Beautiful Universe, excellent read.

    This is a beautiful book and I'm suprised it took me so long to find it. We live in an amazingly complex, beautiful universe, and I found myslef astounded over and over again. Bill Bryson does a great job of injecting humor in just the right places as well. I will never look at the moon, the sun, the stars, the earth, or my own body the same way again. Fascinating!!!

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  • Posted October 6, 2010

    Like a Science Textbook Only Funny and enjoyable.

    This book has received several awards and I believe it deserves every one of them. This book explores everything from the Big Bang to the discovery of quantum mechanics, via evolution and geology. In this book Bill Bryson has accomplished the goal he stated in the book and laid out for himself. He states he wrote this book because he was "dissatisfied with his scientific knowledge - that was, not much at all." It always bothered him that textbooks and teachers did not ignite the passion for knowledge in him, because they never explained in the whys, how's, and whens. In Bryson's attempt to explain all this, he is quite funny and engages the reader. It is a very interesting read because of his writing style. Most text book use numbers that are often hard to grasp but Bryson graphically and vividly describes the vast size of the universe and how very small atoms really are. Bryson attempts to cover everything in this book so its cover a large amount of material. I would wager every one of every science question you have ever asked yourself would be answered in this informative book. I also love how this book is not completely about the events and topics of science. But rather, the book tells humorous stories about the scientists behind the research and discoveries and their sometimes unconventional behaviors. This book, however does contain some scientific errors, seems to be excellently researched. Bryson has an interesting sense of humor that shows through in his writing. I love how Bryson was capable of making the dry topic of science very intriguing and entertaining. It a very lighthearted book that I would encourage anyone to read. My only negative would be that at times it got a little slow but other than that a great read.

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  • Posted August 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Doesn't disappoint

    Bryson is one of my favorite writers. He's tackled the history of science now. Physics.....easy. And he lends to it his special sense of humor. I plowed through it word for word and enjoyed every moment. Add it to your collection of summer reading.

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  • Posted June 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fascinating Book! ...but Bryson should stick to writing not reading aloud

    This is the best way to learn science. Informative, funny, well researched. Fascinating anecdotes about the scientists who monumentally changed history. There are two unabridged audio books - neither of which is available through B & N. The one read by Bill Bryson, the author, is not nearly as good as the one read by a British actor.

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  • Posted February 8, 2010

    Awesome

    Awesome

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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