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A Really Short History of Nearly Everything

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  1,044 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Enter the world of science as Bill Bryson unmasks the mysteries of the universe.

Did you know that:

• Every atom in your body has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to being you?

• If you are an average-sized kid, you have enough potential energy inside you to explode with the force of several hydrogen bombs?

Hardcover, 176 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published 2003)
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Started reading this one with "the lads" after finishing "The Littlest Prince" in late August of last year. We read about two or three of the short articles regarding some unique aspect of the history and development of our civilization, planet, solar system, galaxy and universe. We generally read this book once or twice a week just before their bedtime to keep their awesome, developing minds focused on the wonders found in the world of science and discovery. It is a great balance to the Bible a ...more
Couple of years ago I realized I know hardly anything about sciences, natural history and the like. Most of what I learned in high school, I'd forgotten. But no prob, thought I, isn't that what books are for? Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" seemed perfect, but when I started reading that, it soon turned out it wasn't quite simple enough for my poor little brain. So when the YA version caught my eye, I jumped to the chance to learn stuff about nearly everything again.

It turn
I started this book primarily to tick one off in completing the Bill Bryson set of books (I have one more to go). I was aware that this is an abridged, illustrated and watered down version of A Short History of Nearly Everything, targeted at a younger audience. However, I was delighted to find that, apart from standing by itself as a nice little general science introduction book, this more colourful version is also like a nice little summary to the meatier original travelogue to science.

(view sp
Really short and interesting with a lot of pictures and easy tone - though meant for kids, works well for a coffee table book for curious adults as well.
I love this kids' version of the book--it covers most of what we teach in sixth grade social studies and science all in one book! It's kind of like a human primer. I think everyone should read it..and I also think it should serve as a textbook in middle school social studies classes.
Shahid Pracha
"A Short History of Nearly Everything", although written many years ago, was my very first by Bill Bryson and is a thoroughly enjoyable read. This book reminds one of many things that we ignore and unlearn in our busy lives from amazing scientific facts to the wonder of life and being. Written with great wit and humour, Mr. Bryson, succeeds in contextualising the discovery and development of a broad span complex knowledge about our world in simple words. The book is thoroughly researched and ama ...more
Steven Gilbert
The kids version of what is my favorite non-fiction book of all time.
This is the abbreviated version of Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything and is perfect for kids, starting around age 8 or 9 or so. There are great visuals, and it's written in an interesting way. There are some women among the men featured, but I would have liked to have seen more women and some people of color. I seem to recall the book as being only from the Western perspective. Overall, though, this book would make for a nice reference book for adolescents as they advance in the ...more
I very much enjoyed and recognize the value and virtues of this book but I have a few misgivings. While packaged for kids and bearing only the U.S. price tag, all spellings and measurements are given using the English system and I could find no conversion table nor notes about the differences. This would not be a problem for many children who would be likely to get their hands and heads around this book, but why pass up the opportunity for fundamental comprehension of scientific facts by withhol ...more
A Really Short History of Nearly Everything is a fantastic snapshot of our planet’s history, spanning from the beginning of time to the environmental dilemmas that we’re currently facing.

I think that Bill Bryson has written a book that will draw kids into the fascinating world of science effortlessly. Well, it attracted my inner geek, anyway! The complex ideas that are breached in A Really Short History of Nearly Everything are explained clearly and simply without taking away their impact or ad
The book works nice as kind of an appetizer science book for kids. By which I mean it makes you hungry to know more about all the cool science mentioned, but it is so broad that it can't do more than to give a very brief overview of everything.

My main problem with it is that it focuses EXTREMELY heavily on European scientists. Namely white male scientists. Only a handful of women scientists were mentioned (they didn't even mention Rosalind Franklin when discussing Watson & Crick), and I don'
A hodgepodge of scientific facts and history presented in an entertaining, sometimes overly comical, fashion. If only the effort to make sense of a few key scientific insights and interesting historical anecdotes prevailed the author's oversized ego to write about "everything." "If this book has a lesson, it is that we are awfully lucky to be here."
Ricky Ly
This is probably my favourite non-fiction book of all time.
Although it's simple and some informations are slightly out if date, but it contains scientific knowledges from a range of different fields. And the illustrations make it really easy for me to imagine and understand the information. If you want to start reading non-fiction book, I would strongly recommend you to pick up this book.
Frieda Vizel
I love Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything", a 500 page tome on science. This is the encyclopedic version, the version you want to have at home and browse through with your kid. It is informative and fascinating and the illustrations are appropriate for all ages.
Bryson takes the history of the world, beginning with the big bang, and condenses it to the most salient changes and advances that lead up to the creation of humans and what we have learned about the world we inherited. He ends with a warning about how tenuous our survival is and how important it is that we take care of this amazing place we call home. This is a fascinating book, humorous, enlightening, and entertaining. I recommend it to everyone over the age of 12. To top it off, it's a quick ...more
James and I have enjoyed reading this together. He doesn't understand all the words but he loves the pictures. He gets to 'read' it during quiet time while I'm working and he happily calls out to me whenever he recognizes something. I'm happy his vocabulary is increasing and with good words too.

For myself, I've enjoyed learning new facts about my world and the universe in an entertaining way. Who knew that the moon was probably broken off from the Earth? Or that the earth is slightly oblong? Or
Bryson, B. (2008). A really short history of nearly everything. New York: Delacorte Press.

Category: informational picture books

This the story of our universe and everything in it. It is presented in conversational tone making it an easier read, and includes interesting explanations such as how and why the Mason Dixon line was created (named after the men who "dre" the line) and how it became the division between slavery and freedom. Contents include: Lost in the cosmos, The size of the earth, A
Bill Bryson is a talented writer who makes science fun and interesting! He manages to incorporate all the essential facts necessary to understand the evolution and mysteries of life. Every teacher, parent, and child should own a copy of A Really Short History of Nearly Everything. The book is written in a clear and labeled format that is easy for any child to read. Furthermore, it has colorful illustrations, and it asks and answers questions about science. The science topics in the book elucidat ...more
Recommended Ages: grades 5-8

Did you know that:

• Every atom in your body has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to being you?

• If you are an average-sized kid, you have enough potential energy inside you to explode with the force of several hydrogen bombs?

And—What happened to dinosaurs? How big is the universe? Why are oceans salty? Is a meteor going to hit us?

Tackling everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bill Bryso
Simple language. Good one. Explains the cosmos and life and few more things in common terms. Worth a read.
Gary Smith
Good information but a horrible, horrible layout. It is written like a children's book full of imagery that looks like it is from a nickelodeon show. The subject matter is split up and splattered all over the pages, which actually distracts from the wealth of information presented. I have given this low rating not based on the information I'm the book but due to the layout, horrible artwork, and lack-luster presentation of the subject matter (appearing cartoonish and unimportant). I feel due to ...more
Caitlin Lillie
There didn't seem to be anything wrong with A Really Short History of Nearly Everything but I can't give it more than a three. The information seemed a little dodgy and either too simplified or not simplified enough;I wouldn't call Bill Bryson a children's author.
However, the format is readable for everyone from budding 8 year old scientists to 80 year old teachers and, if Mr Bryson had just seemed to back up his writing a bit more, I would have really liked it. The pictures were funny and he t
Vered Gartushka
Besides being a good read (well paced and loaded with interesting stuff)it is also a good introduction to the general knowledge we need in order to get a picture of the world we live in.

Touching upon the various sciences, the way they developed and how we know what we know, it peaks one's curiosity and gives a shove in the direction of wanting to know more.

The more we know about our world the more we love it (paraphrased "Him who knows nothing - loves nothing. Who said that?)
Amanda Patterson
Bill Bryson is a talented storyteller. He is the master of the anecdote. Bryson has conveyed a wealth of knowledge in all his books by engaging readers.
I love Bill Bryson because I love learning without text-book facts being forced into my brain. I prefer facts to find their way in and make themselves at home when I am happy to have them there.
This is a perfect book for learning a little bit about almost everything.
Highly recommended.
David Ward
A Really Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (Delacorte Press 2008) (QJ 509). I thought I was reading A Short History of Nearly Everything by the author, but I later learned that this was a kid’s version based on the adult volume. Never mind either way, for I found this to be just as boring and insipid as all of Bryson’s other works. I won’t bother with the original. 4/10. Finished 2/14/11.
did you know you have a lot of DNA inside you? "... nearly two metres squeezed into almost every cell. In fact, you may contain as much as 20 billion kilometres of DNA."

"The good news is that the last time life was virtually annihilated on our planet, it got back on its feet again. The bad news is that it took 60,000 years to do so, which means not one of us would be around to enjoy it."
I can shamelessly say that I enjoyed reading Kids version of the original book "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson just as much as the original. I took much longer time to finish this book than I originally thought I would, mainly because I was constantly getting lost seeing the beautiful pictures with amazing short but powerful illustrations on every page. A fun read.
Not as in-depth (and therefore, not as enjoyable as Bryson's adult book), this was a good introduction to many topics in science.
John Rachel
Fascinating and random. Just like the last five years of my life. Lots of fruit, no branches to hang it on. And who invented edible underwear? What about the propeller beanie? What's the difference between rope-a-dope and soap-on-a-rope? Can two blindfolded people heading in opposite directions both experience a tailwind?
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Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. He settled in England in 1977, and worked in journalism until he became a full time writer. He lived for many years with his English wife and four children in North Yorkshire. He and his family then moved to New Hampshire in America for a few years, but they have now returned to live in the UK.

In The Lost Continent, Bill Bryson's hilarious first t
More about Bill Bryson...
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail A Short History of Nearly Everything Notes from a Small Island In a Sunburned Country At Home: A Short History of Private Life

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“We have a universe. It is a place of most wondrous and gratifying possibility, and beautiful, too. And it was all done in about the time it takes to make a sandwich.” 6 likes
“For you to be here now, trillions of drifting atoms had somehow to assemble in an intricate and curiously obliging manner to create you.” 5 likes
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