“A short history of nearly everything” by Bill Bryson

This has been on my shelf for a while — I certainly read some of it in 2011 (the bookmark I was using was an ATM receipt from FPSAC Iceland) but then set it aside until recently.  Overall, I thought it did a good job of presenting a reasonably scientifically accurate account of our knowledge of natural history, from the big bang through the evolution and dispersal of modern humans, with an emphasis on telling an engaging narrative about who the people were who figured this all out and how they did so, appropriate for a lay audience.  Some things are to be expected from reading an older pop-science book: for example, at the time of writing, New Horizons lay in the future rather than in the past, and what we can learn from genetics has expanded to an almost unimaginable degree.  The most glaring oversight is how little attention human-induced climate change receives: it is mentioned in a couple of places, but with no sense that it represents an urgent threat.

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2 Responses to “A short history of nearly everything” by Bill Bryson

  1. Hank Roberts says:

    I wish you could comment on the ads that fill the first screenful of your blog.
    Are they individually targeted, or does every reader see the same thing?
    And would you ever click on any ad you see on your page? If so which ones do you recommend?

  2. JBL says:

    Hi Hank,
    Sorry for the delayed response! This is a free WordPress blog, and the ads come directly from WordPress to you: I have no role in them (content, targeting, profit) whatsoever. I could pay some fee to WordPress to have them go away, but since I am mostly writing here for my own amusement, it doesn’t seem worth it. Personally, I would suggest never clicking on any of them :)

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