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A Brief History of Nearly Everything

Posted by BoMToons - May 3rd, 2019

Edit: Go vote for my art in the art portal!!!!

I just finished the book: A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson


It touches on just about every major branch of science and the history of scientific discovery in surprising, but never boring or alienating, depth. The narrative is built around how we came to be who we are from the Big Bang through the expansion of the universe, the formation of our solar system and planet, our planet's history (including the history of science itself), early (and current) microorganisms, through the branches of evolution, to today. And it does all this with a great dash of British dry humo(u)r (though the author was born in Des Moines Iowa...).

Topics covered:

  • Astrophysics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Evolution
  • Anthropology
  • Geophysics
  • Geology
  • Science History
  • And probably more (and many of the sub-branches within each of those)

What I really enjoyed is that it made it easy to see and understand the interconnectedness of all these scientific disciplines. I can see anyone, old or young, reading this book and coming away with a better understanding of, well, everything. It's very approachable.

I've heard there's an illustrated version. It'd be neat to have that sitting around the house for anyone to pick up, turn to a section randomly, and learn in bite-sized chunks.

It was published in 2003 and updated in 2005, so there are some more recent scientific advancements that are missing, but overall, would highly recommend if you're a fan of science!

Next up is a classic called "Fear and Trembling" which is a sharp shift from all the science stuff I've been reading lately. It was written in 1843, in Danish, by resident of Denmark Søren Kierkegaard (under a story-relevant pseudonym "Johannes De Silentio"). It's a short philosophical study of the Biblical story of Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac. The little I've peeked at in advance seems pretty compelling.

After that is the Robert Heinlein book I mentioned in my last post "Stranger in a Strange Land" (which is also a Biblical reference I just realized) about a human born on Mars that comes to Earth.

I'm still chipping away at the computer science book "Design Patterns" but it's slow going because it's so dense and SO NOT entertaining... Full of useful information though.

Oh, and also "Le Ton Beau De Marot!" (Taking that one slowly just to savor it). As I've mentioned before, it's vying for position as my favorite book ever.

I need some more suggestions for books to listen to while I'm driving, so please leave me a comment.

Here's some art I made in exchange for your comment! (I call it "Beetle Cancer")


Bonus for continuing to scroll, now you have to comment.

"Flame Crab"



Comments (4)

neato. keep at it buddy.

I'll try.

“What I really enjoyed is that it made it easy to see and understand the interconnectedness of all these scientific disciplines.”

Well put!
That’s exactly what I liked about that book. I’m always looking for books with this characteristic. When I was a kid in the seventies, I was especially fond of the Reference section of the library, laying out all these huge tomes of scholarly arcana (old school hyperlinking ftw).

For most of my 20s and 30s, I only read science books. Lately It’s been all historical stuff. Here are some recent faves that are available in audio book format:

The Outline of History by H. G. Wells

A Little History of Science by William F. Bynum

The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman

The Frontiersman: A Narrative by Allan Eckert

Six Armies in Normandy by John Keegan

I'll def look into your suggestions, thanks!

I don't have the brain or interest right now to read any philosophical or scientific analyses :| One day though. Got a lot of character devel- I mean, personal growth to do in the meantime.
Seriously though, maybe one day I'll remember this post when I know enough to pick these books up and I'll read them.

Take your time, priorities!

flame crab