Customer Reviews for

A Short History of Nearly Everything

Average Rating 4.5
( 380 )
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5 Star

(232)

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(79)

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(41)

2 Star

(6)

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(22)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

20 out of 23 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

5 out of 16 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 18, 2003

    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 the whole thing or nothing.

    5 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 27, 2004

    The voice needs work.

    If money is to be spent on this book, read it, don't listen to the audio version (and audio due to long drives is about all I have time for). The author should have realized that while he is adept at prose, he should leave speaking to someone else. The voice is rather haughty and nasal. Many a songwriter realizes the singing should be left to someone else.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2003

    Major Letdown

    I really like Bill Bryson, and I was really happy when I heard he had a new book coming out. Unlike his previous books, I found this one very easy to put down and forget about. Science is difficult to write about, and I think Bryson should stick to his travel books. It is the slowest book I have read in quite sometime.

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