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Extended Audio Sample A Short History of Nearly Everything Audiobook, by Bill Bryson Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (14 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bill Bryson Narrator: Bill Bryson Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2003 ISBN: 9780739302958
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Bill Bryson is one of the world’s most beloved and bestselling writers. In A Short History of Nearly Everything, he takes his ultimate journey–into the most intriguing and consequential questions that science seeks to answer. It’s a dazzling quest, the intellectual odyssey of a lifetime, as this insatiably curious writer attempts to understand everything that has transpired from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. Or, as the author puts it, “…how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since.” This is, in short, a tall order.

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, chemisty, 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, as only this superb writer can render it. Science has never been more involving, and the world we inhabit has never been fuller of wonder and delight. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Wonderfully readable. It is, in the best sense, learned. Winnipeg Free Press
  • Stylish [and] stunningly accurate prose. We learn what the material world is like from the smallest quark to the largest galaxy and at all the levels in between . . . brims with strange and amazing facts . . . destined to become a modern classic of science writing. The New York Times
  • Bryson has made a career writing hilarious travelogues, and in many ways his latest is more of the same, except that this time Bryson hikes through the world of science. People
  • Bryson is surprisingly precise, brilliantly eccentric and nicely eloquent . . . a gifted storyteller has dared to retell the world’s biggest story. Seattle Times
  • Hefty, highly researched and eminently readable. Simon Winchester, The Globe and Mail
  • All non-scientists (and probably many specialized scientists, too) can learn a great deal from his lucid and amiable explanations. National Post

    "Bryson is a terrific stylist. You can’ t help but enjoy his writing, for its cheer and buoyancy, and for the frequent demonstration of his peculiar, engaging turn of mind.
  • Wonderfully readable. It is, in the best sense, learned. Winnipeg Free Press
  • Stylish [and] stunningly accurate prose. We learn what the material world is like from the smallest quark to the largest galaxy and at all the levels in between . . . brims with strange and amazing facts . . . destined to become a modern classic of science writing. The New York Times
  • Bryson has made a career writing hilarious travelogues, and in many ways his latest is more of the same, except that this time Bryson hikes through the world of science. People
  • Bryson is surprisingly precise, brilliantly eccentric and nicely eloquent . . . a gifted storyteller has dared to retell the world’s biggest story. Seattle Times
  • Hefty, highly researched and eminently readable. Simon Winchester, The Globe and Mail
  • All non-scientists (and probably many specialized scientists, too) can learn a great deal from his lucid and amiable explanations. National Post
  • "Bryson is a terrific stylist. You can’t help but enjoy his writing, for its cheer and buoyancy, and for the frequent demonstration of his peculiar, engaging turn of mind. Ottawa Citizen

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 11/17/2013

    " It's amazing to me how many crazy people are out there who need so badly to believe in something that they are blinded by their faith! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rose | 1/16/2013

    " Information was interesting but the whole thing is incredibly clunkily written, it reads like when you haven't quite made the wordcount on an essay and go back adding superfluous words and repeating yourself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tangahi | 7/1/2011

    " Best book I have every read. I have read ALOT OF BOOKS. Its the WOW factor that really had me coming back to read it. Just loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dee | 6/28/2011

    " This book is well written. Easy to read! It touches a wealth of subjects without being boring or too technical. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tj | 6/25/2011

    " Bryson is great at these books. They are what they are, very enjoyable, often illuminating. he has a unique kind of ability to cast a comprehensible and panoramic eye over almost any subject "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 J | 6/22/2011

    " Enjoyable but not the rollicking good time that other Bryson books have been.
    Interesting when you are awake, a good way to fall asleep when you are tired.
    Which says more about the subject matter (chemistry, physics, geology) than the writer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 6/21/2011

    " OK, how does he take complex subjects and make them understandable and funny. Oh, I like this guy very much. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan | 6/21/2011

    " Such a great book. Well written and informative! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sadaf | 6/21/2011

    " Every science student can learn a lot from this ( though I've totally forgotton what I learnt :p) . It drags a little. Thats its only flaw. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pat | 6/19/2011

    " Great reading--a fun approach to the history of the earth and science "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob | 6/18/2011

    " I quoted facts from this book at everyone I knew for months. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachelmouser | 6/15/2011

    " Amazing how often tidbits and insights from this book (as well as other's by Mr. Bryson, including HOME) come up in my daily life and conversations. Maybe that just makes me an incredible dork... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 bobby | 6/13/2011

    " bryson can synthesize a quantum of stuff and distill it to its essence about as well as anybody. a fantastic hike through natural science that enthralls and educates. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ribhu | 6/13/2011

    " very well researched and hilariously written , recommended ! "

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About the Author
Author Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is the New York Times bestselling author of At HomeA Walk in the WoodsThe Lost ContinentMade in AmericaThe Mother Tongue, A Short History of Nearly Everything—winner of the Aventis Prize—and various other works. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, he now lives in England, where he has worked for both the Times and Independent and written for most other major British and American publications.