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Author: Bill Bryson

What is it about? It’s a short history of, well, nearly everything. No field of science is left untouched, as Bryson takes us on a tour of our universe’s history, from the Big Bang to the rise of Homo sapiens, and everything in between. While Bryson took a departure from the travel genre to write this book, he didn’t deviate from his usual brand of humour. There are few authors who could write a history book about science and not only make it readable, but enjoyable and funny as well.

My Two Cents: A highly engaging book that I’d recommend to anyone who is even remotely curious about how things work, how we discovered them, and where we really are in the grand scheme of the universe.

One Comment

  1. This is definitely one of my favorite books. I think I will read this book at least once a year for the rest of my life. It puts the entire universe and our lives in perspective. It really makes you appreciate every aspect of life. From the sun that wakes you up in the morning, to the trees that produce the invisible element that life depends on. It’s truly astounding.

    What I really like about this book is how Bryson describes our universe and the astounding chain of events that all led to us being here. It’s hard to imagine that once upon a time, the same area where I live, was roamed by Wholly Mammoths and Dragonflies bigger than humans. An example of an aspect of life that is often looked over but is brought to our attention in this book, is the importance of the moon. Without it, the Earth would have fallen into the sun’s orbit and I wouldn’t be typing this message right now. Oh, and don’t forget that the only reason it exists is because an enormous asteroid hit Earth and the projected debris from the collision shot up into space and over time formed into what it is today . . . Yeah, exactly.

    A subtle but important writing technique that Bryson uses is that rather than just saying a number like 10 million, he writes it out 10,000,000. Nowadays its easy to forget just how big some numbers are and Bryson cleverly reminds us that a million or a millionth is quite an extraordinary number.

    While Bryson shares all these incredible facts and information about the universe and Earth, he also notes that we still don’t know a lot. In fact, we barely know anything. As he puts it:

    “The upshot of all this is that we live in a universe whose age we can’t quite compute, surrounded by stars whose distances we don’t altogether know, filled with matter we can’t identify, operating in conformance with physical laws whose properties we don’t truly understand.”

    A must read for anybody who has an interest in anything!

    Appeal: 5/5

    Readability: 5/5

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