BOOK REVIEW: A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (Review by John Purcell)

by |November 10, 2015

A short history of nearly everythingI read this book many years ago and for the two weeks it took me to read it, I felt like a genius. However, closing the book having read the last page, I found to my dismay that I had returned to my natural moronic state.

Only quite recently I bought the audio book online. It was a drunk purchase, one I immediately regretted on discovering when popping it on in the car (I’d sobered up by that time) that it wasn’t read by Bill Bryson but by some over excited, irritating Bill wannabe.

As I had nothing but an hour of Sydney traffic ahead of me, I persevered and listened to it anyway.

With each passing minute my empty head started to fill with knowledge and sooner than expected I was parking the car at work – the pain of Sydney traffic nullified.

I have now listened to the audio book end to end three times in a row and one or two facts have begun to stick.

I kinda know a little about quantum physics, geology, biology, astronomy and err… moss.a-really-short-history-of-nearly-everything

If you’re feeling particularly ignorant – and in the age of Google who isn’t? – get yourself a copy of Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. Until science discovers a way for us to download knowledge direct to our brains or invents a genius pill, this is the simplest way to know a little bit about a lot.

But if the short history of nearly everything is just too long for you … there’s always the really short history version.

Bryson thinks of everything.


Grab your PRINT copy of A Short History of Nearly Everything here!
Grab your CD/MP3 copy of A Short History of Everything here!


A Short History of Nearly Everything

by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays safely in his own study at home he can’t contain his curiosity about the A short history of nearly everythingworld around him.

A Short History Of Nearly Everything is his quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization- how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. Bill Bryson’s challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there isn’t some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science.

It’s not so much about what we know, as how we know what we know. How do we know what is in the centre of the earth, or what a black hole is, or where the continents were 600 million years ago? … Read more

Grab your PRINT copy of A Short History of Nearly Everything here!
Grab your CD/MP3 copy of A Short History of Everything here!

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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