Kate's Reviews > A Short History of Nearly Everything

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
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's review
Apr 06, 2009

really liked it

I really liked this book, I felt like every chance I got I was turning to my husband and saying, "Whoa, did you know that...." It was a pretty good concise history of a lot of stuff that I didn't know.

However, I do have some complaints:

- It could have used some diagrams. Lots and lots of diagrams. I was having a hard time visualizing a lot of the things he was talking about.

- If memory serves, the chapters were sort of in a strange order.

- The final chapter was weirdly abrupt and I thought wasn't a fitting end to such a grandiose idea of a book.

- He was a little too bogged down in shocking you with numbers. Like he's spend an entire paragraph saying things like, "10 to the 973rd power...that's a number with seven hundred billion zero's at the end." Maybe my brain just couldn't handle numbers that big and wanted to just move on.

- I was disappointed that there wasn't much mention of where humans currently are in the scheme of things with evolution. He didn't touch at all (that I can remember) on where the species might go from here.

- He also spent a lot of time talking about the infinitesimally small amount of time humans have been around comparatively speaking, but didn't really address the exponential technological progress we've made only in the past hundred years or so.

Overall it was definitely worth reading, and I recommend it highly to anyone who's interested in the natural world. It was a little bit of a slog at times, but if you stick with it you come through having a much better understanding of the world.

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