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A superbly whimsical miscellany of knowledge. The narrator matches the style of Bill Bryson impeccably. The range of subjects covered is wide, and the treatment of each is first class. If every child starting high school listened to this before choosing subjects, there would be a far greater enrolment in the sciences. Whether you're a kid of 9 or 90, you will find this fascinating. I cannot resist a minor quibble - the wealth of Johannesburg was not based on diamonds, but gold. The South African city founded on diamonds is Kimberly, whence the term Kimberlite, the volcanic rock that frequently yields diamonds. That aside, what a great book.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
If youre interested in science in general this is a great book.
The price for over 15 hrs is a great buy.
Imposible to listen in one sesion.
Buy it, dont be chicken.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Bill Bryson is best known for writing fun travelogues of his journeys around the world and, here, he turns the same sense of humour and writing style to this brief walk through the history of science.
Split in fairly broad swathes by subject, he addresses what we know, what we suspect and what we thought we knew but now figure we got wrong. This is interspaced with tales of the people behind the discoveries (many oddballs and eccentrics).
This is by no means complete, but there is a surprisingly large amount covered including cosmology, geology, biology and lots of other things you hated at school because they weren't presented this clearly or interestingly.
The only downside to the audiobook comes when discussing some numbers where the sheer immensity gets lost a bit without seeing it written down but it's the most minor of quibbles for a truly special text introducing reasonable intelligent science to the reasonably intelligent person.
133 of 139 people found this review helpful
I was gripped by this from beginning to end. Bryson provides an overview of modern science, tracing the story of various disciplines. What stands out is the way that he makes each narrative strand fascinating in its own right, while weaving them into a bigger picture. I loved the way that he provides a historical perspective on scientific endeavour. He's really good at explaining where various ideas came from and why they seemed radical in their day. I'm sure that if you're a serious scientist then Bryson is just glossing the surface. But as an interested non-scientist I found that this explained and illuminated a lot of ideas I had previously found vague and confusing. Fascinating.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
It all starts with the narrator sounding like Dr Klein from half-life, which just lifted the mood for what was about to happen. Then instead of the history of the world as I expected, I copped a physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology and biology lesson I will never forget. I'll have to read this book again and again to ensure I soak it all in!
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
fantastically narrated, very funny and very informative. I enjoyed every chapter and found the ending to be very eye open and confronting.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful