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The incomparable Bill Bryson travels through time and space to introduce us to the world, the universe and everything in this groundbreaking book, the best selling popular science book of the 21st century.

Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays safely at home he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. Bill Bryson's challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science.

The ultimate eye-opening journey through time and space, A Short History of Nearly Everything is the biggest-selling popular science book of the 21st century, and reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.


Mr Bryson has a natural gift for clear and vivid expression. I doubt that a better book for the layman about the findings of modern science has been written

Sunday Telegraph

A fascinating idea, and I can't think of many writers, other than Bryson, who would do it this well. It's the sort of book I would have devoured as a teenager. It might well turn unsuspecting young readers into scientists. And the famous, slightly cynical humour is always there

Evening Standard

A genuinely useful and readable book. There is a phenomenal amount of fascinating information packed between its covers ... A thoroughly enjoyable, as well as educational, experience. Nobody who reads it will ever look at the world around them in the same way again

Daily Express

Of course, there are people much better qualified than Bill Bryson to attempt a project of this magnitude. None of them, however, can write fluent Brysonese, which, as pretty much the entire Western reading public now knows, is an appealing mixture of self-deprecation, wryness and punnery


The very book I have been looking for most of my life... Bryson wears his knowledge with aplomb and a lot of very good jokes

Daily Mail

Impressive in his terse concreteness ... Hugely readable and never obfuscating

The Sunday Times

This most enjoyable of books ... A travelogue of science, with a witty, engaging, and well-informed guide

The Times

Bill Bryson has an unmatched gift for explaining the most difficult subjects in the clearest possible way. If, like me, your brain tends to go numb when faced with terms like plate tectonics, genome, relativity theory, big bang and particle physics, then it is more than likely that A Short History of Nearly Everything is the cure you have always been looking for...It deserves to sell as many copies as there are protons contained in the full stop that ends this review (at least 500,000,000,000)

Mail on Sunday

Lucid, thoughtful and, above all, entertaining

The Scotsman

I don't doubt that with A Short History of Nearly Everything he is plugging a gap in the market. As a result, several hundred thousand people will end up knowing a little bit more about the universe than they did before

Daily Telegraph

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    August 15, 2016

    Black Swan

    672 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    May 1, 2010

    Transworld Digital

    672 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Audio Book


    December 1, 2003

    Corgi Audio

    RRP $35.00

    Online retailers


    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Bill Bryson

The Road to Little Dribbling
Down Under
At Home (Illustrated Edition)
One Summer
A Really Short History of Nearly Everything
At Home
Troublesome Words
Icons of England
The Lost Continent
Bryson's Dictionary: for Writers and Editors
Mother Tongue: Popular Penguins
The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid
Bryson's Dictionary
Neither Here, Nor There
Bill Bryson's African Diary
Notes From A Big Country
A Walk In The Woods
Made In America
Large Print: One Summer
Notes From A Small Island


The Gene
A Brief History Of Time
Ask an Astronaut
The God Delusion
When Breath Becomes Air
The Inner Life of Animals
The Grand Design
The Power of Habit
Guns, Germs And Steel
You Are the Universe
The Body Keeps The Score
The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Brutal World of Victorian Medicine
The Magic of Reality
Storm in a Teacup
The Disappearing Spoon...and other true tales from the Periodic Table