Joaquim Rocha
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Book review: A Short History of Nearly Everything

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    Joaquim Rocha
  • Principal Software Engineering Manager at Microsoft

A Short History of Nearly EverythingA Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I met a friendly alien from outer space and she me asked how do things work here, I’d suggest she read this book.

“A Short History of Nearly Everything” deviates a bit from Bill Bryson’s books about travel, places or cultures and instead takes us on a guided trip to the great discoveries of science. From the theories on the origin of the universe to the extinction of species, Bill Bryson gives a nice overview of a lot of topics, explaining them in a clear and simple way.

Although the book has a less humorous tone, the irony we got used in other of his works is also present here, especially when he talks about the character, lives and events of the people who uncovered a bit of the mysteries of our universe. It shows how science’s history is full of jealously, discredit, vanity and injustices behind big breakthroughs.

Having studied sciences, the book covered many topics I had already studied but the author’s entertaining way of explaining them didn’t let me get bored and it’s always nice to review these things. One thing that caught my attention was the emphasis on how many things are just projects or theories and not actually demonstrated (like the temperature of the inner core of the earth). Some of the books I had at school talked about these things taking it more as facts.

The more I advanced in the book the more I had the feeling that the quote from the Guardian that is used in the book’s cover — “Truly impressive… it’s hard to imagine a better rough guide to science” — is best way to describe it.

For all this, I give this amazing book 5/5 stars.

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