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A Short History of Nearly Everything

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  232,870 Ratings  ·  10,068 Reviews
In Bryson's biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached ...more
Paperback, First Trade Paperback Edition, 544 pages
Published September 14th 2004 by Broadway Books (first published May 6th 2003)
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jordan there are
three stages in scientific discovery: first, people deny that it is true; then they deny that it is
important; finally they credit the wrong…more
there are
three stages in scientific discovery: first, people deny that it is true; then they deny that it is
important; finally they credit the wrong person.

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Manny
A Short History of Goodreads

Surveys show that nearly 40% of all Americans believe the history of literature started in 2007, when Amazon sold the first Kindle; indeed, Amazon Fundamentalists hold it as an article of faith that Jeff Bezos actually wrote all the world's e-books over a period of six days. This is, of course, nonsense. It has been conclusively demonstrated that literature is far older than the Kindle; books already existed thousands of years ago, which were the direct ancestors of t
...more
Jamie
Apr 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: absolutely anyone
Good grief if I had even one textbook half this enthralling in high school, who knows what kind of impassioned -ologist I would have grown up to be. I hereby petition Bryson to re-write all curriculum on behalf of the history of the world.

I would run across things half-remembered from midterms and study guides and think, "You mean this is what they were talking about? You have got to be kidding me." It's never condescending, always a joy.

In fact, what I loved most is the acute, childlike sense o
...more
Paul Bryant
Oct 06, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
Okay, so here's my Bill Bryson story. I was in The Gladstone, a public house not too far from this very keyboard, with my friend Yvonne, who will remain nameless. We had been imbibing more than freely. A guy approached our table and asked me in a sly surreptitious manner if I was him. Him who? Was I Bill Bryson? Now it is true that I bear a very slight resemblance



but you could also say that about Bjorn from Abba



and a zillion other white guys with beards and gently rounded fizzogs. Anyway, withou
...more
Grace Tjan
Nov 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I learned from this book (in no particular order)

1. Phosphor was accidentally discovered when a scientist tried to turn human urine into gold. The similarity in color seemed to have been a factor in his conviction that this was possible. Like, duh. I’m no scientist, but shouldn’t it be obvious enough?

2. “In the early 1800s there arose in England a fashion for inhaling nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, after it was discovered that its use ‘ was attended by a highly pleasurable thrilling’. For
...more
Sarah
Aug 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Bryson's dead serious: this is a history of pretty much everything there is -- the planet, the solar system, the universe -- as well as a history of how we've come to know as much as we do. A book on science written by a non-scientist, this a perfect bridge between the humanities and the natural sciences. A course in the history of science should be mandatory for every teenager, and this should be the textbook.

Yes, it's a big, chunky book. No, it can't be trimmed down any further: when you're ad
...more
Mohammed-Makram
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science

يحكى أن يهوديا قرر الذهاب إلى دمياط للتجارة و حينما وصل إليها أراد اختبار أهلها قبل أن يبدأ مشروعه فأشار للصبى الذى أستأجره ليكون دليلا له
خذ هذا القرش فاشتر لنا غداء و شراب و حلوى و لا تنسى طعام للحمار و شيئا أتسلى به فى طريقى
كان القرش لا يشترى بالكاد وجبة طعام لشخص واحد الا ان الشاب الدمياطى - و الدمياطى لمن لا يعرف كالخليلى فى الأدبيات الفلسطينية – ذهب إلى السوق و اشترى بطيخة بنصف قرش و أعاد لليهودى النصف الأخر قائلا له
هى غداء لنا و فى نفس الوقت تحلية و شراب و نعطى للحمار قشرها و نتسلى بلبها ط
...more
Manny
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone even slightly interested in science
Recommended to Manny by: Leon Stirling
It's easy to nitpick A Short History of Nearly Everything. Bryson, by his own cheerful admission anything but a scientist, makes a fair number of mistakes. He says that all living creatures contain hox genes; he omits Alexander Friedmann and George Gamow from his description of how the Big Bang theory was developed; when talking about Darwin and Paley, he doesn't seem to be aware that Natural Theology was one of Darwin's favorite books and had a huge influence on him. Those are just a few of the ...more
Dan Schwent
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson's summation of life, the universe, and everything, a nice little easy-reading science book containing an overview of things every earthling should be aware of.

As I've repeatedly mentioned over the years, every time one of the casual-readers tells me I have to read something, like Harry Potter or the DaVinci Code, I dig my feet in deeper and resolve to never read it. This is one of the occasions I should have shaved a decade off of my stubbornne
...more
Patrick
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up on audiobook when I was on tour and listened to it in my car.

I found it fascinating and informative. Kinda like a reader's digest version of the history of science. And even though I knew a fair chunk of what was mention, there was a lot of material I'd never even had a glimmer of before.

Fair warning: If you are prone to worry about, say, the end of the world. This probably isn't the book for you.
Foster
Oct 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read. There, I said it

Bryson's book combines the best qualities of science writers like Attenborough, Diamond, Durrell, and Wilson; presenting the information with the wit he is most known for. It is an amazing achievement to condense the entire base of human scientific knowledge into 478 pages, but Bryson has done it. I completely agree with Tim Flannery, who writes on the jacket that "all schools would be better places if it were the core sci
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
A Short History of Nearly Everything by American author Bill Bryson is a popular science book that explains some areas of science, using easily accessible language that appeals more so to the general public than many other books dedicated to the subject. It was one of the bestselling popular science books of 2005 in the United Kingdom, selling over 300,000 copies.
عنوانها: تاریخچه تقریبا همه چیز؛ شرح مختصری از همه چیز؛ علم و سرگذشت آن؛ نویسنده: بیل
...more
Andrew Smith
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I was never any good at science. At the grammar school I attended we were shepherded into laboratories for lessons on physics, chemistry and biology. These were scary places; I’d never been anywhere like this before. The physics lab had gas taps and Bunsen burners and the walls were filled with incomprehensible charts. The chemistry lab held rows of specimen jars, more gas taps and burners and an underlying smell of something unpleasant and vaguely dangerous. The biology lab displayed pictures a ...more
Miranda Reads
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Want a whirlwind worldwide romance adventure minus the romance? This is the book for you.

This book really does cover nearly everything. From the Big Bang to current life on earth, Bill Bryson does wonderful job of breaking down complex theories and concepts to their essential message:
Protons give an atom its identity, electrons its personality.

Though, sometimes he gets a bit wordy.
Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wou
...more
فهد الفهد
موجز تاريخ كل شيء تقريباً

رغم الترجمة التي تكبو أحياناً، ورغم ما يقال بأن هناك فصل سقط في الترجمة!! إلا أن هذا كتاب عظيم بحق، عمل مبهر ولذيذ، وضع بيل برايسون هذا الكتاب للإجابة على الأسئلة العلمية التي يجهلها حول الأرض والطبيعة بشكل عام، هذه الأسئلة التي انهالت عليه وهو يحدق في البحر من نافذة طائرة، تحولت إلى رحلة ممتعة، له ولنا، فبرايسون لا يرهقنا بالحقائق العلمية كأنما هو موسوعة، وإنما يدسها لنا في حكايات متشابكة، عن العلم والعلماء في سعيهم للفهم، وبناء كل تلك العلوم من الجذاذات التي بين أيديه
...more
Dem
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars
This is probably going to make me sound as thick as two short planks but I didn't like it, I knew going into this book that it was going to be a challenge as Science is not really my preferred bedtime reading but I do think its good to try new things but unfortunately yes this was just hard work for me and I struggled through this one.


But on the plus side I did learn some STUFF just dont ASK me to EXPLAIN it to you and it did encourage discussion with my Nerdy other half which cant b
...more
Otis Chandler
Aug 19, 2006 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone curious about the world
A fascinating history of science. Ever curious how everything we know about the world came to be - read this! I loved reading about what old greats like Darwin thought about the world - they were all right about most things, but also very wrong about some things - makes you wonder how much we are wrong about today!

Another interesting piece was how many of the world's prominent scientists had the time to do their research because they came from rich families. Very different from todays notion of
...more
Amir
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
از عنوان شروع کنیم

عنوان کتاب تقریبا گویای همهچیز هست. نویسنده نزدیک سه سال به شکل حیرتآوری حجم عظیمی از کتابهای علمی توی رشتههای مختلف رو خونده و به جاهای مختلف سر زده و تقریبا توی تمام شاخههای اصلی علم روز دنیا حداقل سی چهل صفحهای نوشته

آیا این کتاب ارتباطی به ما دارد؟

خوب. این یه سوال جدی برای من بود. چون شخصا هیچ ارتباطی با کتابهای علمی نداشتم و ندارم. اما خیلی وسوسهانگیزه که کتابی رو بخونی که توش عصارهی همهی علوم گنجونده شده باشه. کتابهایی که به این شکل وجه دایرهالمعارفی دارن این فرصت رو به خو
...more
Obied Alahmed
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"تبارك الله أحسن الخالقين"

هذا ما ستنطقه شفتاك حين تنتهي من كل فصل من فصول هذا الكتاب ستشعر بكم العجز الذي نحن فيه ليس لنصنع أو نبتكر انما فقط لنفهم كيف تسير الأمور في هذا الكون

ستجد من بين السطور مقولات كهذه " إنه عالم يتجاوز الفهم بالنسبة لمعظمنا "

وبالنسبة للكتاب فهو كتلة من الابداع غزارة المعلومات ودقة التفاصيل ولو قرر المؤلف أن يسترسل بكتابته 6000 صفحة بدلا من 600 لاستطاع ذلك من قوة الامتاع في السرد

والمؤلف أكاد أجزم أنه كان عبارة عن موسوعة متحركة من المعلومات فمن يكتب هكذا كتاب يجب أن يكون مو
...more
Jonathan Ashleigh
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recent
The best thing about this book is that it introduces other books you would like. It showed me that I should probably read more about Newton and Einstein, and that astronomy is something that I am still interested in. I did find myself scanning through certain sections because I already understood them well (the vastness of the universe) or I don't think I will ever understand them (complicated aspects of biology). Like all science book, they get outdated fast but this one is still holding up, at ...more
Riku Sayuj
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Stunning in scope and execution. Loved every page of it, even geology was made exciting. That really is some feat.
Dave Gaston
First off, this is a huge departure from Bryson's breezy, excellent travel logs. Secondly, this book should be read with some frequency. It is so densely packed with valuable insight, and sound bites of discovery that you could not possibly absorb it all with one pass. This is my second time reading it and I plan on doing it again next year. The organizational structure is a wonderful series of loosely connected cameos covering several essential and enlightened discoveries of man. As an added bo ...more
Greta
A short history of nearly everything

This is a remarkable accomplishment. From the author, of course, but also from me, to have read it. I'm not a scientist, so when I started reading this book, I expected that I would skip some parts. But I didn't ; I read every single page of this highly readable and enjoyable book.
I won't bother you with all the scientific stuff I learned. Instead, I compiled a top 5 list of the frightful fates of some scientists.

1. Max Planck (1858-1947) was a German theore
...more
Diane
Oct 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
I must admit that science is not my strong suit -- I've always been more of a Humanities gal. In high school, I had to work harder in my biology and chemistry classes, whereas English, history and social studies always came more easily to me.

Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" is a good overview of all the science classes I didn't take (or don't remember) in college. It's like Intro to Physics, Chemistry, Geology and Astronomy all in one wonderfully droll book. Since I read very
...more
Paul E. Morph
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting book. Bryson succeeds in explaining some complex topics in such a way that they can be understood by the layman. I enjoyed this one a great deal. If I had one complaint it would be that some of the tangents were allowed to run on a bit too long, to the point where I almost forgot what the author was talking about in the first place.
D'Argo Agathon
May 09, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one.
Oh my gods, what a waste of perfectly good paper! I am flabbergasted that this has such consistently high reviews...

Three problems with this tripe:
1. falsity of the science (most blatantly around cosmology, but not limited to any one field) and misunderstanding of scientific principles;
2. a focus more on "biography" rather than on real "history";
3. trivial worthlessness of the information.

Number 1 is briefly chronicled below. Within just the first 20 pages or so, there are ridiculous factual er
...more
Maciek
May 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Basically everyone
This is an immensely readable book with a truly monumental amount of information. While reading it, one might wish to remember all its content, but it's written in a way allowing the reader to pick up the volume and start reading at any point, according to his interests, though Bryson relays all subjects in captivating and available way, with a big dose of humor.

This is a weighty book - 600 pages - but Bryson's not joking. He really tries to cover everything, from the beginning of the universe a
...more
David
Jul 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, nonfiction
I am a scientist, and I found much of this book quite fascinating. The book certainly isn't comprehensive in any sense of the word--in fact it seems to roam in a semi-random sort of way; but the author's sense of humor and attention to colorful historical facts kept my interest from beginning to end.

One of the themes of this book, is that when someone comes up with with a new discovery, there are three stages before it is accepted:
1) Nobody believes it.
2) Nobody thinks it is important
3) It gets
...more
Mimi
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hands down my favorite science text written by a non-scientist, although I should mention I don't make a habit of seeking out science books written by non-scientists for kicks. Like most (sensible? pragmatic? responsible?) people, I prefer to read about science from people who actually practice science. Bill Bryson is the only exception though because he's an exceptionally gifted writer who just happens to share my sense of humor--that the end is nigh and that maybe is not necessarily such a ter ...more
Mohamed al-Jamri
هذا الكتاب رائعٌ حقًا واستطيع بلا تردد وصفه بواجب القراءة لكل شخص يريد أن يخرج من الأمية العلمية.

منذ البداية يسحرك الكتاب بمقدمته الشاعرية التي تجعلك لا تريد التوقف عن قراءته. ينتقد الكاتب في البداية صعوبة فهم الكتب العلمية وكأن هناك مؤامرة خفية لتنفير الناس عن قراءتها أو فهمها، فهي لا تخبرنا كيف اكتشف العلماء هذه النظرية أو تلك كعمر الأرض أو تكوين طبقاتها وإنما تقدم لنا المعلومات بصورة جافة تحول روعة العلم إلى موضوع ممل

لهذا قرر الكاتب البدء في هذا المشروع الجبار والذي حصر فيه أجزاء كبيرة جدًا م
...more
Hussein Dehghani
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1
آیا میدانستید ۱% برفکی که روی صفحهی تلویزیونتان ظاهر میشود، مربوط به نوری است که حدود ۱۴ میلیارد سال پیش در لحظهی مهبانگ (انفجار بزرگ) و آفرینش این جهان تولید شده است و تازه توانسته است راه طولانی مرز کیهان را تا زمین بپیماید و به ما برسد!؟
آیا میدانستید اگر آب بر خلاف تمام مایعات بر اثر جامد شدن (یخ زدن) حجمش افزایش نمییافت، احتمالن زندگی بر روی کرهی زمین شکل نمیگرفت؟
آیا میدانستید فضای کیهان پر است از ملکولهای پیچیده و آلی نظیر اسیدهای آمینه و قندها و مطمئنن سرچشمهی این ملکولها در این همه کهکشان
...more
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11,246 followers
William McGuire "Bill" Bryson, OBE, FRS 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, Bil
...more

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“Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life's quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result -- eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly -- in you.” 1561 likes
“Tune your television to any channel it doesn't receive and about 1 percent of the dancing static you see is accounted for by this ancient remnant of the Big Bang. The next time you complain that there is nothing on, remember that you can always watch the birth of the universe.” 359 likes
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