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Bill_bryson_a_short_historyName: A Short History Of Nearly Everything

Author:  Bill Bryson

Genre : Non Fiction

Pages : 672

Publication Year: 2003

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)


About book – from the Kindle edition:

From primordial nothingness to this very moment, A Short History of Nearly Everything reports what happened and how humans figured it out. To accomplish this daunting literary task, Bill Bryson uses hundreds of sources, from popular science books to interviews with luminaries in various fields. His aim is to help people like him, who rejected stale school textbooks and dry explanations, to appreciate how we have used science to understand the smallest particles and the unimaginably vast expanses of space. With his distinctive prose style and wit, Bryson succeeds admirably.

Though A Short History clocks in at a daunting 500-plus pages and covers the same material as every science book before it, it reads something like a particularly detailed novel (albeit without a plot). Each longish chapter is devoted to a topic like the age of our planet or how cells work, and these chapters are grouped into larger sections such as “The Size of the Earth” and “Life Itself.” Bryson chats with experts like Richard Fortey (author of Life and Trilobite) and these interviews are charming. But it’s when Bryson dives into some of science’s best and most embarrassing fights–Cope vs. Marsh, Conway Morris vs. Gould–that he finds literary gold.


Well, when I saw the title of the book – I thought it will be indeed a short history of nearly everything but as I started reading, I realized that it’s not at all short history instead it’s a history of nearly everything.

What we learn in this book is apart from science is how insane or competitive were the scientist who invented most of the things in science. As titled suggested ‘A Short History of nearly everything’ not everything is covered in this book, for example philosophy, religion, economics, politics, medicines, computers etc. What actually covered in this book is – physics, atoms, big bang, quantum physics, gravitation, (so-called) evolution, dinosaurs etc.

What you learn reading this book is – what you should have learnt as a student of science. This book answers many question which we wanted to know as a child when we were in school, for example – how on earth scientist know exactly the weight of earth or how the figured to weight of atoms or how the knew the atom can be divided into quarks etc.

Overall a pretty good read for anyone who wants to know about science and beware it’s not short history – the book is very dense and you might need some long reading hours to complete it.


Synopsis :
This is the story of a 14 year old girl “Sophie Amundse” living in Norway in 1990 with her mother.Her father is a captain of an oil tanker. Sophie’s journey to philosophy begins when she receives a mysteries letter from unknown person with only two questions on it :
1. “Who are you?”
2. “Where does the world come from?”
After some days she receives another letter from unknown person titled “What is philosophy?”. Sophie learns about the philosophers such as Socrates. Sophie’s interest in the mysteries of life, shocks her mother and she starts doubt the her daughter becoming mad and she need some psychiatrist.
After few days, she gets another letter from the man “Alberto Knox” with history of Pluto and Aristotle. At the same time while she receives philosophical lesson from Alberto, she also receives postcards addressed from a United Nations observer Albert Knag in Lebanon to his own 15-year-old daughter, Hilde. Alberto continues with his teaching of History of Philosophy.

In his course alberto covers the Renaissance, Baroque, Enlightenment and Romantic periods, and the philosophies that stemmed from them.
Sophie and Alberto tries to find out who is the Albert Knag and why he sends post cards of her daughter to Sophie’s address, and they thinks Albert Knag has god like powers.
At Kierkegaard chapter Gaarder introduces us to Hilde daughter of Albert Knag and she receive the a book titled “Sophie’s World” as a gift for her fifteen birth day in which Alberto teaches Sophie about history of philosophy.
I must say a Must Read, you can’s put it down once you start reading it.
Very good book, if you want to know what is Philosophy and History of Philosophy.

Sophie's World

1. “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” ~ Thomas Edison
2. “Wisest, is he who know he doesn’t know.”
3. “A Russian astronaut and a Russian brain surgeon were once discussing religion. The brain surgeon was a Christian but the astronaut was not. The astronaut said, ‘I’ve been out in space many times but I’ve never seen God or angels.’ And the brain surgeon said, ‘And I’ve operated on many clever brains but I’ve never seen a single thought.'”
4. “The truth is not ‘out there’ but ‘in here’.”
5. “What if you slept? And what if, in your sleep, you dreamed? And what if, in your dream, you went to heaven and there plucked a strange and beautiful flower? And what if, when you awoke, you had the flower in your hand? Ah, what then?”

Personal Opinion:
WOW..!! This is what I felt when completed this book!!
Before starting this I thought many time, shall I try it or not. This book I purchased long time back but I haven’t looked at it. After Reading This book, I am Speechless. This Book is such a marvel, I feel like Student of Philosophy. I always wondered about the questions like ” Where does the world come from? ” and “Are we alone in the whole universe?” . I always wanted to know, what other thought about ” World “, about our solar system, about our planet earth, about us!. Finally I got the answers to questions ( But not all ). Gaarder explained it very beautifully that you will love it, it has emotions,suspense and everything you want from the book of philosophy come novel.
Starting from B.C to Current time, it explain every thing about philosophy. If you love to think freely and If wondering what philosopher thought about the world and about existence of human beings, this book is best guide for you.
I am very much thrilled when I read how Charles Darwin’s proved his “Origin of Species” ~
Darwin advanced two theories here :
1. He proposed that, all existing vegetables and animals forms were descended from earlier, more primitive forms by way of biological evolution .
2. The evolution was the result of natural selection.
Then I realized that why we always say ” The Survival of the Fittest! “.
I really wondered when read about Berkley, he is the one who denied the existence of material world. He thought nothing is real.
I enjoyed this book, this a very very good, if you wanted know about philosophy !
I will definitely read it again in coming days!

Author : Jostein Gaarder
Rating : ****1/2 out of 5

~ Keep Reading.

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