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  • history of the entire world, i guess
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Amazon Price: £5.49 (as of July 21, 2018 3:25 pm – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Also available on amazon.com for £5.49 (as of July 21, 2018 3:25 pm – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller: but even when he stays safely in his own study at home, he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization – how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us.

Bill Bryson's challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. It's not so much about what we know, as about how we know what we know. How do we know what is in the centre of the Earth, or what a black hole is, or where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out?

On his travels through time and space, he encounters a splendid collection of astonishingly eccentric, competitive, obsessive and foolish scientists, like the painfully shy Henry Cavendish who worked out many conundrums like how much the Earth weighed, but never bothered to tell anybody about many of his findings. In the company of such extraordinary people, Bill Bryson takes us with him on the ultimate eye-opening journey, and reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2874 KB
  • Print Length: 692 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital; New Ed edition (23 Jan. 2010)
  • Sold by:  Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0035OC7VI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray: Enabled
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Customer Reviews

Bryson should rewrite all textbooks in the curriculum – the ideal non-fiction balance: informative, interesting, amusing!

 on 10 July 2017
By williamcani
I assume most people like me, are used to learning about science by fixating on one topic at a time, and becoming immersed (and very often lost) in the technical jargon and intricacies. This book surprised me in the amount of effort Bryson took to go through book after book of different sciences, both old and new, (from physics, chemistry, geology and many more) and connect the dots into several cohesive stories about our home, planet Earth, and its residents.

Required reading for everyone, everywhere

 on 2 June 2017
By Crusty
Quite simply this book is the single best book I have ever read. I have two well worn paperback copies and the kindle version. If you want your children to grow up with even a modicum of appreciation for our planet, then get this book and read it to them every night – again, and again, and again. In my view this book should replace the free bible on Desert Island Discs!

Absolutely fascinating!

 on 11 August 2016
By RAD
Absolutely fascinating book / Audio CD. We have listened to this many many times on various trips and each time it is a delight. So many interesting facts, all strung together in a great and entertaining way.

Full of anecdotes you will be compelled to share

 on 27 March 2016
By Anthony Lauder
I have read this twice now. Once when I first got it, and now again several years later. The first time, I kept disturbing my wife saying “can you believe this …” and went off telling her some anecdote from the book. The second time I kept my wife happier by posting endless “can you believe this …” entries on facebook.

Perhaps one of the best popular science books (if that was the intention), and entertaining too

 on 3 December 2017
By Karl Strobl
I am a particle physicist and cosmologist by training. I really enjoyed how Bill Bryson, better than most scientists themselves, can put things into language that speaks to real people. I will be using this myself when preparing for public science education events, as I am doing just right this minute!

Bryson sometimes assumes some knowledge from the reader, but generally very educative, a pleasure to read!

 on 2 June 2016
By Pale Blue Dot
This book had me reaching into the deep recesses of my brain for things I learnt in high school, and was a great refresher on all things SCIENTIFIC. I stress that word as this book should really be called something like “a short history of the natural world and science”. It’s not about history in general or other things like the arts or culture. Obviously it had to focus on something, but the title is slightly misleading if you don’t know about the book before. Bryson uses very interesting and helpful analogies to put things into perspective, and there are fun little stories about scientists and their experiments. A friend said this book was a struggle to get through, but I learnt something new from every page here and thoroughly enjoyed it. Sometimes there is too much focus given to one particular area and not to another, but obviously that goes without saying when there is only one author. It’s not all completely elementary, and you might find yourself reaching for wikipedia or google for more basic information about certain topics in order to understand complex ideas put forth by Bryson. Overall, it’s really a book that will have you marvelling at your own existence and the world around you, a must read for anyone with an interest in science!

No competition, one of the best ever.

 on 3 May 2017
By Barry M.
My favorite book – in any edition – hard or soft cover. This one has the benefit of some photographs and diagrams which only adds to the enjoyment of the subject matter being discussed. I, for one, love it and cannot get enough. Always the first book in my travel bag.

Classic overview of science as we know it .

 on 28 November 2017
By david hinton
This book was showered with praise and awards for attempting the insane task of covering most of science and the history thereof and making it page-turningly good. Knowing exactly how much digression will enliven a subject and knowing when enough is enough is a fiendishly rare and honed talent . By the end of the book I hated Richard Owen even more than I did as a Darwin fan. This book won’t be bettered until the next tranche of science has to be written in , only by someone this good . Don’t wait for that read this.

Great if you like science facts

 on 13 June 2017
By Edfredk
Enjoyed this, I like his style of writing – humorous and factual. Nice short sections and there’s a good flow between topics.

An excellent overview of modern science

 on 1 May 2013
By Cpt. Tangerine
Bill Bryson books are almost always excellent and this is no exception.
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