A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson

Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life's quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result -- eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly -- in you.

A Short History of Nearly Everything is a book by Bill Bryson, first published in 2003. It's a book that talks about almost everything that you need to know about our world and humankind's origin. This book is the culmination of the author's researches in a lot of subjects. From the more popular subjects such as astrophysics, to the seemingly more unattractive fields like moss collecting. The author tells every subject that contributes immensely to the history of our world and mankind through personal stories from the point of view of the people that had (or still are) worked or dedicated their lives to the subject.

This book is the most human-centric science book I've ever read. Unlike school books that put personal story of famous figures, like Charles Darwin, in a trivia box in some page corner, this book puts them in the front and center. The stories of how and why certain fields came to be, put in the context of the people that breed and nurture the field. Their years of dedications and failures, all for the advancement of our understanding of the world, or for their own personal gain (That happened quite a lot throughout history apparently).

What I like the most of the book is how it sheds light on some of the less popular fields that are apparently more important and fascinating that one might seem, for example about how hard it is to actually find fossils. It is also interesting to see how our views of a lot of things changes throughout our relatively short period of existence, from our views of the stars and planets to our views on our own body and origin. And that there are still a lot of things in the world that even the brightest minds in the world still can't figure out until now. It's just simply amazing to remember how insanely lucky we are to get to this point of history.

Overall, this is one of the most entertaining and educative books I've read. Recommend it for everyone!

A Short History of Nearly Everything
Bill Bryson
First Published
May 6, 2003