What an amazing book. Bill Bryson manages to cover enough of the world’s history to make it really feel like you have learned a little something about everything.
From the publisher:
“Bill Bryson has been an enormously popular author both for his travel books and for his books on the English language. Now, this beloved comic genius turns his attention to science. Although he doesn’t know anything about the subject (at first), he is eager to learn, and takes information that he gets from the world’s leading experts and explains it to us in a way that makes it exciting and relevant. Even the most pointy-headed, obscure scientist succumbs to the affable Bryson’s good nature, and reveals how he or she figures things out. Showing us how scientists get from observations to ideas and theories is Bryson’s aim, and he succeeds brilliantly. It is an adventure of the mind, as exciting as any of Bryson’s terrestrial journeys.”
I really enjoyed this book; it may be responsible for my acceptance of the idea of listening to books as opposed to reading written words. The narrator Richard Matthews brought this book to life for me; I don’t think I would have enjoyed this book if I had read the printed book.
The best thing I learned was that early scientists were laymen with very little if any formal training. Many of them were minor royalty who could have lived a life of leisure without contributing anything to mankind; instead they chose to pursue science and to share what they learned freely.
And the part about interns in Yosemite taking baths in hot springs that are off limits is kind of gross, but also fascinating.
I give this book an 8 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone with an interest in science and history. I bought this book on Audible.