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A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

March 17, 2014

Short History of Nearly EverythingI loved Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. It’s a big task to tackle: Bryson sets out to answer the oldest and most complex questions we all have about the universe and ourselves. I found it absolutely fascinating. And while there is a ton of information packed into this book, Bryson’s writing style and his ability to break down complicated topics, makes it completely digestible and enjoyable.

Bryson starts off with a story from his days in elementary school: in a school textbook there was an illustration of a cross-section of the earth. This fascinating picture was accompanied by the dryest explanation ever – “This is the core. This is molten rock. This is the crust” – and young Bill wondered how scientists ever came to know this about the earth. He deduced that that part of the story was the most interesting part and A Short History of Nearly Everything sets out to tell it.

With extensive reading lists and interviews with experts, Bryson takes us from the Big Bang and the solar system to evolution and the earliest humans – everywhere in between. It’s an incredibly fascinating ride and Bryson is a knowledgeable, funny, and clever tour guide.

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