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"Imagine if you can -- and of course you can't..." is how Bryson opens his explanation of how a universe is born. And he has the uncanny ability to not say too much, nor too little; to use metaphors brilliantly but without cliché; and to sound like he's actually learning as he goes along. Like Stephen Hawking before him, Bryson skips from one BIG topic to the next with the curiosity of a child and the patience of a schoolteacher. It's like having a front-row seat to the history of the world.

With his slightly bemused English accent, narrator Richard Matthews sounds completely at home in the material, chatting knowingly and with perfect dry comic timing. For managing to cover the universe and keep it lively, this experience definitely merits as an all-time favorite.

Description

One of the world’s most beloved and best-selling writers takes his ultimate journey - into the most intriguing and intractable questions that science seeks to answer. 

In a Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail - well, most of it. In In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his 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 himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. 

A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining. 

©2003 Bill Bryson (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc. Published by Arrangement with Random House Audio Publishing Group, A Division of Random House, Inc.

Commentaires

"Not to be missed." ( AudioFile)
"Destined to become a modern classic of science writing." ( The New York Times Book Review)

Ce que les auditeurs disent de A Short History of Nearly Everything

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Global
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Interprétation
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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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Un livre que tout le monde devrait lire

Une présentation des connaissances actuelles dans les domaines des sciences naturelles accessible à tous, assez exhaustive, bien narrée et qui fait vraiment réfléchir sur notre place dans le monde.

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars

Newer science mave have dated this book but it's

As interesting and informative as it was when it was first published. Science is continuing to move forward and illuminate. the author himself explores how scientific opinions change over time with newer discoveries overturning older ones. This book, written nearly 20 years ago, is as current today as it was then.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very entertaining book which make you learn

This book is really nicely written, while it is very good at teaching all those scientific cue, it does it with such tone that it never gets boring. Was a joy to listen to.

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Julia
  • 25/07/2005

A complete breakfast

Forget high school science. Just have your kids enjoy this book. Bryson gives a very understandable and thorough overview of astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, geology, etc., in an extremely engaging way. It is like hearing your favorite college professor sit down on a table in front of a group of students and weaving a fascinating story. The human interest aspects of the books were a plus to the scientific explanations. Although this is a tremendously enjoyable read for inquisitive adults, share it with your children and they might actually take up an enduring interest in science. This book is certainly far better than all of my high school science courses combined (and probably college too). Highly recommended.

33 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • mark harris
  • 24/12/2016

Six stars

The is the one book I wish I could give six stars. I read this once per year and insist my friends read it. My only complaint that it needs to be updated with the latest scientific knowledge available. They should do a 10 year anniversary update.

57 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • 09/11/2009

The Only Book I reread imediatley after reading

I cant say enough about this book! I was introduced to Bill Bryson while incarcerated. And might I just say that even hardened criminals could not get enough of this book. I made most of my money by renting out this book. The demand was so great that I had another copy mailed to me. I have since lent a copy to many friends, and have yet to have most of them returned. The only one which was returned was because that person bought their own copy so that they could highlight it. This book is infectious! My only regret is that I havent been able to aquire an illustrated version. This book does indeed feel like a short history of nearly everthing. But everyone I have ever ask about this book says that it only makes them want to know more about one or more of the topics in the book. That has been the case with me as well. I have gone back to school in order to learn more about the subject matter within the pages of this life altering book. Read this book, it will open new worlds and inlighten old ones

220 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean
  • 13/05/2004

Fascinating; Perfect for Adult ADHD

This book does something that few others do. It gives just enough information (without being too much) and makes it absolutely spellbinding. I don't want to know about cosmology, chemistry, and/or physics in minute detail, but I want a conversational knowledge of these and many other things scientific. Bryson provides that in an extremely entertaining, interesting manner. Although it is long, I whole-heartedly recommend the unabridged version.

125 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • reggie p
  • 01/12/2003

abridged - unabridged

I loved the abridged version so much I just had to get the unabridged version when it became available. The abridged version is a very good abridgement, probably contains enough detail for most, and Bill Bryson's narration of it is the icing on the cake for sure. The unabridged version offers a fuller explanation of many points and so exposes the listener to more stories and Bryson wit which is always enjoyable. Richard Matthews does a great job narrating although he's not exactly Bill Bryson, he's sounds a lot like him and is a good second choice. If you can't get enough of Bill Bryson, you're best bet is the unabridged version. You won't get bogged down with unnecessary scientific detail--it's all very enjoyable listening. If you just want to learn about the subject quickly, the abridged version is lots of fun.

100 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gary
  • 27/05/2012

Best survey of science book out there

After listening to this book, you will feel like a scientist and think of yourself as understanding our place in the universe like a true intellectual. Bryson just knows how to explain difficult concepts across all of the science disciplines. This is a great first book for someone who is interested in reading other science books or just ending their quest with this book. My cheap self was reluctant to get it because of the two credit price, I'm glad I let my spendthrift self take over.

The book does more than just talk about the science it also delves into the personalities involved with the great discoveries and illustrates how some of our greatest discoveries came about through the perseverance of smart people.

11 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • phil b
  • 19/11/2003

an all too

I'm sorry for the folks who bought the abridged version of this title. Opting for Bryson abridged is pointless. His prose is already polished to a pearly economy.

If you can listen to the final 22 minutes of this book without cringing, crying, or resolving to affect change in the way all of us treat this magnificent and mysterious planet; you are a hard, hard case. With disciplined but entertaining prose, Bryson surveys the branches of science that explain who we are and how we got to wherever it is we are. Spectacular!

34 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Aaron
  • 30/04/2005

Engrossing and dazzling

I am a scientist, and I feel that Bryson has a keen eye for what is important. His book is crammed with wonderful concepts and observations from a remarkable breadth of fields. It is always easy to understand, yet consistently mind-boggling. I personally found the stories of scientists' escapades captivating: it is so healthy to be reminded that science is a human endeavor. These stories of ruthlessness and heartbreak along the path of discovery are exactly the things that elevate this book above textbooks. Also, the narrator does a wonderful job of giving the author's words their intended voice, be it profound, tragic, or comic.

43 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Professor Sombrero
  • 06/06/2008

Give it a try

I never thought plate tectonics, atom smashing and trilobites could be so entertaining - there were times I actually chuckled. The author presents what could be a series of tedious lectures about dry subjects in a very understandable way. By using humor, he makes the subjects user-friendly without talking down to his audience.

I can't remember all the names mentioned and how to pronounce some of the terms used but I now look at clouds differently, am a little afraid of Yellowstone blowing up and think some scientists were really brave, creative and a little looney.

The narrator is great. In fact, I may purchase more books just because he narrates. I think he has a lot to do with my enjoyment of the book, capturing the tone I think the author intended.

I usually read fiction, particularly mysteries and thrillers but this was an excellent departure from that. I think anyone with a passing interest in how our world works would enjoy this book - not to mention discover things like: Newton pushed pointed objects into his eye sockets just to see what happened; heat is simply a matter of molecules banging into each other; Yellowstone is actually a volcano. Who knew!

59 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Rich
  • 02/02/2017

Mandatory Reading for 'Jeopardy!' Contestants

"A Short History" can be summarized simply as eighteen hours of science trivia. To be sure: it's eighteen hours of very well-written, well-curated science trivia. Bill Bryson takes the reader through a survey of most all the physical sciences, accented by the timelines and people that brought these branches of knowledge to life.

I found ASH simultaneously stimulating and boring. There's simply A TON of information to take in from cover to cover, and every reader will find certain topics more interesting than others. I'm very hard-pressed to believe that Bill Bryson "didn't know anything" about these subjects before embarking on these books--the net result of his survey is worthy of collegiate studies, a very impressive feat.

Bryson sequences the chapters very well, and writes with a very subtle wit. To be sure: you won't be side-split with laughter at any point and time, but you'll crack a smile every 20 minutes or so. My key takeaways from the book below. I don't see myself reading this book again, but am glad I did. My observations and experiences of the physical world around me have been brought to a higher resolution thanks to ASH.

- I didn't realize how much of our scientific knowledge has only come about in the past 100 years. To think about how much wasn't known when my own parents and grandparents were children is humbling.
- So much of our scientific knowledge stems from the British Empire.
- Humans really nailed chemistry. We got that science down pat.
- Paleontology and anthropology are a huge unknown with so very few data points.
- Earth is a very dynamic, violent, rare and precious place to call home.

6 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Siegfried Glaser
  • 26/03/2007

Food for thought / Stoff zum Nachdenken

This wonderful book, while guiding through a... well, let's say through a short history of nearly everything, provides a playful glimpse behind the scenes of what is commonly called science. It is informative, entertaining and clearly one of the best books I have ever had the luck to enjoy.
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Während dieses wundervolle Buch durch eine... nun, durch eine kurze Geschichte von fast allem führt, gewährt es einen verschmitzten Blick hinter die Kulissen dessen, was landläufig als Wissenschaft bezeichnet wird. Es ist informativ, unterhaltsam und eindeutig eines der besten Bücher die ich je genießen durfte.

5 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Fotofreak
  • 02/12/2012

Bildung und viel Spaß

Manchmal hört man Kritik an diesem Buch, weil es nicht wissenschaftlich genug sei. HALLO!?! Es ist ein Bill Bryson und keine Uni-Lektüre. Bryson gibt in seiner witzigen und unterhaltsamen Art einen Überblick zum menschlichen Wissensstand. Natürlich liegt der Schwerpunkt der Studien und Veröffentlichungen auf dem anglo-amerikanischen Raum. Das Buch sollte man aber nicht mit dem Ziel lesen eine rein sachliche Wissensvermittlung zu erhalten. Man erhält das, was einem versprochen wird: erstklassige Unterhaltung, und ganz nebenbei interessante Informationen zum Stand der Wissenschaft, die Lust auf mehr machen.

2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • BogdanGarezin
  • 11/03/2019

Very good, a little outdated

The book is wonderful and very informative, however future readers should remember that some of the information presented is somewhat outdated. Would be amazing if a more updated version were available.

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Claudia Weller
  • 21/01/2008

Great description, information and entertainment

Wholly recommendable audio book with information about scientific issues in a very entertaining way. I have enjoyed the book very much as well as the style in which it was written and told by the speaker. Even a subject such as chemistry which I always dreaded in school had taken my interest and awoken the desire to learn more.
Sehr empfehlenswertes Hörbuch mit Informationen über wissenschaftliche Themen die auf sehr unterhaltsame Weise dargestellt werden. Habe das Buch sehr genossen, auch den Stil und den Sprecher. Sogar ein Thema wie Chemie, die ich in der Schule immer gehaßt hatte, wurde duch Bill Bryson interessant.

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26/11/2006

fun to listen

this audiobook is a really nice thing to listen. However I found that certain topics were too much in focus while others are not that exaustive addressed.

5 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Maria
  • 24/08/2020

Fantastic storytelling of very interesting topics

Highly interesting topics are explained in an easy and very entertaining manner. Full with curious and sometimes even funny details and facts about a wide variety of scientific subjects

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Christian
  • 15/08/2020

Good book but expected it to be different

Very interesting book indeed. Covery a lot of things and history through time. I was a bit more excited initially in the preface/intro of the book as it was hinted to go deeper into certain questions about facts we know. Most of the boom though while interesting was more about history, the people who discovered something but didn‘t answer the questions that arise. At least not nearly enough as I hoped.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alejandro
  • 10/06/2020

Wonderfully read and captivating

Loved it. Well read, never dull and well paced. The narrator has a good voice and the book is very interesting. All chapters of it. Recommended.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ciaran Ryan
  • 14/05/2020

Simply a brilliant book.

Easily one of my favourite books. They way Bryson talks to about science in a non-science way is perfectly fitting. The stories of each scientist we meet is as enjoyable and funny as the things they discovered are important and interesting. It’s a book I’ve bought multiple times as I keep giving it out to people insisting that they read it and always losing track of where it is.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Eric M.
  • 02/10/2018

great enlightning book...

... that can also help a young person evaluate what profession to chose. Really marvelous. And the narrator couldn't be better!