Reddit Reddit reviews A Short History of Nearly Everything

We found 122 Reddit comments about A Short History of Nearly Everything. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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122 Reddit comments about A Short History of Nearly Everything:

u/candre23 · 2858 pointsr/AskReddit

Fun fact: Thomas Midgley, one of the guys who invented tetraethyl lead, also invented and promoted freon and other CFCs (the stuff that wrecked the ozone layer). Between his two "contributions" to commercial chemistry, he is probably the most environmentally-destructive individual organism ever to have lived.

It could be argued that if you had a time machine and a single bullet, you might do more for humanity by going back and killing Midgely instead of Hitler. It's a shame, because he certainly didn't intend for either of his inventions to do so much damage.

Luckily (in a way), he died before we found out what a disaster TEL and CFCs turned out to be. Not so luckily (but perhaps predictably), he was killed by yet another of his own inventions. Partially paralyzed by polio, he devised a complicated arrangement of ropes and pulleys to give him more mobility. He ended up getting tangled in the contraption and was strangled to death by the ropes.

EDIT: Since half a dozen people have suggested Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" and something called "vsauce" as the potential source for this fun fact, I'm just going to mention here that I first learned this bit of trivia on QI. I have also read A Short History, but my first exposure to the inventive tragedy that is Thomas Midgley's career was courtesy of Stephen Fry. If you find facts like this fun, I strongly encourage you to watch QI (most of it is on youtube). I also encourage you to read Bill Bryson's book.

u/nickinkorea · 164 pointsr/history

A Short History of Nearly Everything. Essentially, Bryson describes the evolution of man through it's scientific advances. I think it will be a little less militarily focused than you want, but it seems pretty close.

u/Pelusteriano · 81 pointsr/biology

I'll stick to recommending science communication books (those that don't require a deep background on biological concepts):

u/velocitrapdoor · 42 pointsr/AskReddit

I was going to suggest AShort History of Nearly Everything. It's a book I think everyone should read.

u/shalafi71 · 34 pointsr/books

Easy one. A Short History of Nearly Everything.

It's largely a history of science. It was amazing finding out how long we've known certain things and how recently we found others. If I get wound up this'll turn into a novel. Just read it.

u/poundt0wn · 29 pointsr/morbidquestions

I first read about it a couple months ago in a book called "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryerson.

It's a great book if you like random trivia and it takes a casual conversation tone to just about everything and provides great insight into stuff we normally just don't think about. He talks a lot about various scientist and has a lot of good stories about how odd many of these people were.

If you are interested, some of the other amusing/interesting bits of info from the book include:

"Best remembered for coining the word Dinosaur, Richard Owen also gave us the modern concept of museums as places the common folk can visit and not just scientists. He was also one of the meanest persons in science history and the only person Darwin ever hated."

"Carl Wilhelm Scheele one of the founders of modern chemistry, had a habit of sniffing and tasting any new element or chemical he discovered including poisonous ones. He was found dead at the age of 43, killed by his last discovery."

"In the early days of pump and hose assisted diving, there was a dreaded phenomena called “the squeeze” where the diver’s entire body would be sucked into the hose and diving helmet, leaving just some bones and flesh in the diving suit. Ouch."

“In France, a chemist named Pilatre de Rozier tested the flammability of hydrogen by gulping a mouthful and blowing across an open flame, proving at a stroke that hydrogen is indeed explosively combustible and that eyebrows are not necessarily a permanent feature of one's face.”

u/Taj_Mahole · 21 pointsr/Documentaries

If you like this then you'll really like a book by Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything, highly recommended. Anything by Bryson, really.

u/tenebrousx · 15 pointsr/AskReddit

That I exist at all. From A Short History of Nearly Everything:

>If your two parents hadn't bonded just when they did - possibly to the second, possibly to the nanosecond - you wouldn't be here. And if their parents hadn't bonded in a precisely timely manner, you wouldn't be here either. And if their parents hadn't done likewise, and their parents before them, and so on, obviously and indefinitely, you wouldn't be here.

> Push backwards through time and these ancestral debts begin to add up. Go back just eight generations to about the time that Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born, and already there are over 250 people on whose timely couplings your existence depends. Continue further, to the time of Shakespeare and the Mayflower Pilgrims, and you have no fewer than 16,384 ancestors earnestly exchanging genetic material in a way that would, eventually and miraculously, result in you.

u/patefacio · 15 pointsr/space

If I might recommend a book, Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything sounds like something you'd be interested in.

It's mostly about the origins and stories behind major scientific discoveries and theories that have shaped our view of the world and universe today. He starts at the Big Bang and goes from there. The book is quite accessible to those without formal scientific education (like myself). Bryson dumbs things down just enough so you can understand it while feeling enriched afterwards at the same time. I can definitely say that the book changed me for the better when I read it for the first time back as a teenager. It also has an awesome illustrated edition.

u/boxbeat · 14 pointsr/gaybros

If you're looking for a fun, but enriching read, I highly recommend Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything". It's tough to put down and you're guaranteed to learn some amazing things.

Similarly, Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods" comes to mind, although I haven't read it in some time. Seems fitting for the gaybros since it's about hiking the Appalachian Trail - a dream of mine some day.

u/microcosmic5447 · 14 pointsr/booksuggestions

If you read one scientific/historical laugh-riot this year, make it:
Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything.

u/Smarter_not_harder · 9 pointsr/todayilearned

In Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" he makes a pretty good case that it is actually the exact opposite: that South America was settled by the Polynesians.

Obviously the Polynesians are incredible boaters, but what makes the most sense is that they initially sailed into the wind knowing that if they didn't find whatever it was they were looking for, the trip back home downwind would be much easier.

u/amaterasu717 · 9 pointsr/books

It might be helpful if you give us a list of any books you've read that you did enjoy or genres you think you might like.

I have never met a person who didn't love Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy but it may not be your thing if you don't like wacked-out sci-fi so some general idea of your interests could help a ton with suggestions.

A Short History of Nearly Everything is a solid non-fiction

Robot Dreams is a great set of sci-fi short stories

Ender's Game gets a ton of hate but is a pretty great sci-fi

On A Pale Horse is an older series that I'd consider fantasy but with sci-fi elements

Where the Red Fern Grows is well loved fiction

A Zoo in My Luggage is non-fic but about animal collecting trips for a zoo and is hilarious.

u/KaJedBear · 8 pointsr/booksuggestions

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson is good, but I'm not sure if it's quite what you're looking for.

u/Senno_Ecto_Gammat · 8 pointsr/space

This question gets asked all the time on this sub. I did a search for the term books and compiled this list from the dozens of previous answers:

How to Read the Solar System: A Guide to the Stars and Planets by Christ North and Paul Abel.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing by Lawrence Krauss.

Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan.

Foundations of Astrophysics by Barbara Ryden and Bradley Peterson.

Final Countdown: NASA and the End of the Space Shuttle Program by Pat Duggins.

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything by Chris Hadfield.

You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photographs from the International Space Station by Chris Hadfield.

Space Shuttle: The History of Developing the Space Transportation System by Dennis Jenkins.

Wings in Orbit: Scientific and Engineering Legacies of the Space Shuttle, 1971-2010 by Chapline, Hale, Lane, and Lula.

No Downlink: A Dramatic Narrative About the Challenger Accident and Our Time by Claus Jensen.

Voices from the Moon: Apollo Astronauts Describe Their Lunar Experiences by Andrew Chaikin.

A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin.

Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight before NASA by Amy Teitel.

Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module by Thomas Kelly.

The Scientific Exploration of Venus by Fredric Taylor.

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe.

Into the Black: The Extraordinary Untold Story of the First Flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the Astronauts Who Flew Her by Rowland White and Richard Truly.

An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics by Bradley Carroll and Dale Ostlie.

Rockets, Missiles, and Men in Space by Willy Ley.

Ignition!: An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants by John Clark.

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

Russia in Space by Anatoly Zak.

Rain Of Iron And Ice: The Very Real Threat Of Comet And Asteroid Bombardment by John Lewis.

Mining the Sky: Untold Riches From The Asteroids, Comets, And Planets by John Lewis.

Asteroid Mining: Wealth for the New Space Economy by John Lewis.

Coming of Age in the Milky Way by Timothy Ferris.

The Whole Shebang: A State of the Universe Report by Timothy Ferris.

Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandries by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon by Craig Nelson.

The Martian by Andy Weir.

Packing for Mars:The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach.

The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution by Frank White.

Gravitation by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler.

The Science of Interstellar by Kip Thorne.

Entering Space: An Astronaut’s Oddyssey by Joseph Allen.

International Reference Guide to Space Launch Systems by Hopkins, Hopkins, and Isakowitz.

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality by Brian Greene.

How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space by Janna Levin.

This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age by William Burrows.

The Last Man on the Moon by Eugene Cernan.

Failure is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond by Eugene Cernan.

Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger.

The end

u/Zerowantuthri · 8 pointsr/pics

Did you really imagine it?

From Bill Bryson's book, A Short History of Nearly Everything (for geographic reference he is talking about an impact that happened in Manson, Iowa some 74 million years ago and left the biggest crater in the US (you couldn't tell if you went there...nothing to see crater-wise anymore without using special equipment to see underground):

>An asteroid or comet traveling at cosmic velocities would enter the earth's atmosphere at such a speed that the air beneath it couldn't get out of the way and would be compressed, as in a bicycle pump. As anyone who has used such a pump knows, compressed air grows swiftly hot, and temperature below it would rise to some 60,000 Kelvins or ten times the surface temperature of the Sun. In this instant of its arrival in our atmosphere, everything in the meteor's path - people, houses, factories, cars - would crinkle and vanish like cellophane in a flame.

>One second after entering the atmosphere, the meteorite would slam into the earth's surface, where the people of Manson (an impact site of such a collision millions of years ago) had a moment before been going about their business. The meteorite itself would vaporize instantly, but the blast would blow out a thousand cubic kilometers of rock, earth, and superheated gases. Every living thing within 150 miles that hadn't been killed by the heat of entry would now be killed by the blast. Radiating outward at almost the speed of light would be the initial shock wave, sweeping everything before it.

>For those outside the zone of immediate devastation, the first inkling of catastrophe would be a flash of blinding light - the brightest ever seen by human eyes - followed an instant to a minute or two later by an apocalyptic sight of unimaginable grandeur: a rolling wall of darkness reaching high into the heavens, filling an entire field of view and traveling at thousands of miles an hour. Its approach would be eerily silent since it would be moving far beyond the speed of sound. Anyone In a tall building in Omaha or Des Moines, say, who chanced to look into the right direction would see a bewildering veil of turmoil followed by instantaneous oblivion.

>Within minutes, over an area stretching from Denver to Detroit and encompassing what had been Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, the Twin Cities - the whole of the Midwest, in short - nearly every standing thing would be flattened or on fire, and nearly every living thing would be dead. People up to a thousand miles away would be knocked off their feet and sliced or clobbered by a blizzard of flying projectiles. Beyond a thousand miles the devastation from the blast would gradually diminish.

>But that's just the initial shockwave. No one can do more than guess what the associated damage would be, other than that it would be brisk and global. The impact would almost certainly set off a chain of devastating earthquakes. Volcanoes across the world would begin to rumble and spew. Tsunamis would rise up and head devastatingly for distant shores. Within an hour, a cloud of blackness would cover the planet, and burning rock and other debris would be pelting down everywhere, setting much of the planet ablaze. It has been estimated that 1.5 billion people would be dead by the end of first day. The massive disturbances to the ionosphere would knock out communications systems everywhere, so survivors would have no idea what was happening elsewhere or where to turn. It would hardly matter. As one commentator has put it, fleeing would mean "selecting a slow death over a quicker one. The death toll would be very little affected by any plausible relocation effort, since earth’s ability to support life would be universally diminished."

>The amount of soot and floating ash from the impact and following fires would blot out the sun, certainly for months, possibly for years, disrupting growing cycles. In 2001, researchers at the California Institute of Technology analyzed helium isotopes from sediments left from the later KT impact and concluded that it affected earth’s climate for about 10,000 years. This was actually used as evidence to support the notion that the extinction of dinosaurs was swift and emphatic - and so it was in geological terms. We can only guess how well, or whether, humanity would cope with such an event.

>And in all likelihood, this would come without warning, out of a clear sky.

EDIT: Added geographic info for context.

EDIT2: It is worth noting that there were no extinctions associated with this impact. As devastating as it was it was still not sufficient to completely end any species' time on the planet. Now consider what the one that put a sharp and definitive end to the dinosaurs must have been like!

u/gelinrefira · 7 pointsr/science

I think he is referring to A Short History of Nearly Everything. It is a good book and very readable, like all Bryson's books.

u/YoungModern · 7 pointsr/exmormon

The way that they are reacting is actually statistically demonstrated by social scientists to be the most effective way for religious parents to influence their wayward children to eventually return to religious practice as they age:

Also keep in mind the the statistical factor that is most likely to lead to a resuscitation of religious practice for a young adult who has strayed is marriage and children. The younger and less financially and socially stable you are when you have children, the more statistically likely you are to be hooked back into a religious community:

Just make sure that you don't become a young parent, that you seek out secular communities like the Sunday Assembly etc., and that you do your research on miracles and revelation and philosophy, critical thinking, and science in general

u/GarinEtch · 7 pointsr/getdisciplined

Here's an idea I think you'd be good at based on your interests: I'm reading a book now called A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. It's about how we came to understand the things we know about our planet and our universe. It's absolutely fascinating but it's super long. Condense some of that information down into a format more accessible for high school students. The universe is unfathomably pants-wettingly amazing. But high school textbooks are the most boring possible medium ever for conveying that wonder. Turn it into some captivating format that blows kids' minds and makes them fall in love with science. Start a YouTube channel or something.

u/bonesfordoorhandles · 6 pointsr/askscience

Bill Bryson explains this very simply and well in his book A Short History of Nearly Everything.

The object would be traveling at such massive speed that you would almost certainly be powerless to do anything about it.

Depending on what it was made out of, but almost any substance would vaporize before IT would actually hit you. In fact, something of the dimensions you state would most likely never make it through the atmosphere.

Even if it somehow did, it would be the resulting explosion that would get you rather than the object itself.

u/NoFriendsJustBooks · 6 pointsr/AskReddit
u/DoodleVnTaintschtain · 6 pointsr/Documentaries

My reccomendation would be The History of Science. Everything is available on YouTube in decent quality.

As a matter of overview, I would suggest Bill Bryson's a A Short History of Nearly Everything. It's a book, which requires reading, but there's an awesome illustrated version that's a good time. The book is as accessible as they come, and it's entertainingly written.

I would also suggest Cosmos, since you seem to be focused more on space. Both the original and the remake are available on Netflix. The original is my favorite, beucase Carl Sagan, but the remake is also a solid show, and probably more what you're looking for. There's also Through The Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, and a Stephen Hawking on the universe series which you might like. Pretty much everything is available on YouTube, just search "<show name>, long, hd".

u/SirSupay · 6 pointsr/videos

"A short history of nearly everything" is a really good book where he tells about everything from the beginning of the universe to where we are now through science.

u/da6id · 6 pointsr/AskAcademia

This might be better suited to be asked in /r/books

I would recommend Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything for it's very clear writing and great breadth of science/science history.

u/The_Thane_Of_Cawdor · 6 pointsr/booksuggestions

A short History of Nearly Everything-

>“Tune your television to any channel it doesn't receive and about 1 percent of the dancing static you see is accounted for by this ancient remnant of the Big Bang. The next time you complain that there is nothing on, remember that you can always watch the birth of the universe.

>It is a slightly arresting notion that if you were to pick yourself apart with tweezers, one atom at a time, you would produce a mound of fine atomic dust, none of which had ever been alive but all of which had once been you

u/[deleted] · 5 pointsr/books

'A Short History of Nearly Everything' by Bill Bryson. Very easy to read and full of engaging science that a high schooler would be fine with I'm sure.

u/Compuoddity · 5 pointsr/suggestmeabook

Handbanna84 has good recommendations.

It's an easy read, but gives a lot of insight into 3rd-world countries. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

A Short History of Nearly Everything - Then what you do is keep a note of things you want to dig into deeper, and you can start to get more granular with your requests and searches.

EDIT: - Just thought, Malcolm - Blink - this book isn't about religion/cults, but gives an interesting insight into how we think and why we do the (stupid) things we do.

u/omaca · 5 pointsr/books

An excellent starting point is Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. Almost universally praised, this history of scientific thought covers... well, nearly everything. The basics, like physics, biology, chemistry, and then stuff like cosmology, evolution, quantum mechanics, environmental science... the list goes on and on.

Very readable, not aimed at technical audience. Highly recommended.

Once you have finished that (and it is a big book), you can then home in on areas of particular interest. For me, it's evolutionary theory, paleoanthropology, quantum mechanics, primatology and so on. If you have particular interests in those areas, please let me know.

And I simply can't leave without recommending my favourite book that combines wonderful history and science. You simply must pick up and read a copy of the Pulitzer Prize winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. Not only will you learn about the history of WWII, the amazing feats of the American government in achieving what they did, but also the science of atomic theory and the beginning of quantum mechanics. This is, quite simply, a wonderful book.

u/Teledildonic · 5 pointsr/videos

This book had a whole chapter about this guy and his two "contributions" and their eventual ban.

It's a great read. It's basically a history book that details the progress of our scientific discoveries. He also talks about the people behind them, and it turns out that many of our famous scientists and inventors were basically crazy people. Genius and insanity are separated by a very fuzzy line.

u/joanofarf · 4 pointsr/booksuggestions
u/Lovie311 · 4 pointsr/suggestmeabook

Try this! One of the best books I’ve ever read.

A Short History of Nearly Everything

u/---sniff--- · 4 pointsr/

Read "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson. Best damn science for laymen book I've ever read.

u/reddilada · 4 pointsr/AskReddit
u/elusive_one · 4 pointsr/exmormon

This is also an excellent book

Can't recommend enough. I got the audio book version and the performance is awesome, I can listen to it while doing other stuff and still follow along, which I love in audio books.

u/ceepington · 3 pointsr/MapPorn

Yep. I'm in the middle of A Short History of Nearly Everything, and it's pretty astounding reading about it. I just assumed we had known about it forever.

Even more amazing are the intra-plate quakes. They happen all the time almost everywhere and we have literally no idea what causes them.

u/danhm · 3 pointsr/booksuggestions

A Short History of Nearly Everything. Anything by Bill Bryson, really.

u/OBear · 3 pointsr/AskReddit
u/ILXXLI · 3 pointsr/AskHistory

A short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

It's kind of dated now, but still interesting.

u/kosmic777 · 3 pointsr/oculus

^^ This reminds me of A Short History of Nearly Everything. A good read btw.

I too sometimes worry about dying just when things are getting really good with all the awesome VR stuff that's surely coming. And I'm 50 years old, so I have a valid concern. If I was 21, I'd be feeling pretty good about getting to experience all the really good stuff.

I also somethings feel the "be careful and don't die" thing. In addition to that, I worry about going blind in one or both eyes. That would really suck too!

u/PresidentYummy · 3 pointsr/LifeProTips
u/HolisticReductionist · 3 pointsr/suggestmeabook
u/bop999 · 3 pointsr/history

Check out A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. It's a good start and a humorous read as well.

u/The_Dead_See · 3 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

Einstein I would say wait a little bit, he assumes a pretty decent mathematical background in his readers, so it can get a bit tricky.

Hawking, meh. The man's a genius but he's not good at explaining physics to laypeople imo. His books seem to state things without any indication of how physicists arrived at those conclusions, so they're a bit of a head scratcher for newbies.

I would say DeGrasse Tyson, Brian Cox and Michio Kaku are fairly easy jumping off points, but you'll soon get tired of hearing the same analogies. When that happens, move onto the slightly deeper books of Brian Greene and John Gribbin. Leave authors like Leonard Susskind, Roger Penrose and Max Tegmark until later, they're pretty heavy.

All of the above are pop science/astrophysics books that deal in exciting, puzzling things at the frontier of knowledge. If you're just looking for a grounding in more mundane everyday physics then you can do a lot worse than to take the free math and physics courses over at Khan Academy and then follow them up with the more advanced free ones at The Theoretical Minimum site. If you knuckle down through those you'll be at undergrad level physics by the end of it, which is honestly about as far as you can go with self teaching imo.

I found it useful to learn the history of things too. Understanding how conclusions were drawn makes the crazy-sounding theories much easier to comprehend. Bill Bryson's book "A Short History of Nearly Everything" is a great overview, and you can follow it up with books specific to the different eras of discovery... Recentering the Universe was a good one for the earliest eras of Copernicus and Galileo. James Gleick's Isaac Newton covers the classical mechanics era. Faraday, Maxwell and the Electromagnetic Field takes you the next step. Then you can get onto Einstein and relativity, of which there are a million and one choices. Then onto quantum mechanics, of which there are even more choices... :-)

Hope that helps.

u/oddsonicitch · 3 pointsr/askscience

This is also a good read: A Short History of Nearly Everything.

u/fletch407 · 3 pointsr/booksuggestions

If she is interested in science than Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything would be great for a summer read.

u/bjoeng · 3 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

Bill Brysons "A Short History of Nearly Everything" is a good place to start.

u/rouge_oiseau · 3 pointsr/geology

Even though it's not exclusively about geology, A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson is a fantastic read.

Although it covers everything from the Big Bang to early humans, about 7 of it's 30 chapters are on geologic topics such as paleontology, tectonics, asteroid impacts, ice ages, etc. as well as the history of the development of those fields. It's one of those rare books that is very readable and informative without being too dumbed down.

u/runmonk · 2 pointsr/AskReddit
u/Liebo · 2 pointsr/suggestmeabook

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson- Fascinating book about psychology and neuroscience about how psychopathic tendencies are pretty common among us humans. Very readable and entertaining.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson- Incredibly wide-ranging look at the developments of the universe and natural sciences from the big bang to today. It's an informative read but also contains Bryson's usual wit. Not my favorite book by Bryson but you will likely learn a lot and it's a worthwhile read.

u/Dustn323 · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

A Short History of Nearly Everything

Although admittedly, I didn't read it, but listened to the audio version as I drove cross country for a few weeks. I think reddit would really dig this.

Edit: If you're going to check out the audio book, listen to the one narrated by Richard Matthews.

u/McKrakalaka · 2 pointsr/AskReddit
The first time in a long time I have been so sucked in that after finishing int in 3 days, I wanted to go right back to it. Every child of the 80s I have shared it with, especially those who were extra-nerdy, loved this book.
If you want non-fiction, I finished this recently and it is hands down the best non-fiction book I have ever read. History filled with compelling narratives rather than dry dates and facts, Bryson brings the past to life - the story of how Halley convinced Newton to write the Principia even though Newton would rather have been searching for King Solomon's tomb for the dates of Christ's second coming or practicing alchemy is just one example of the wonderful narratives that fill this book.

u/misplaced_my_pants · 2 pointsr/economy

Okay your first two links are to blogs that only publish work by Austrian economists. Hardly objective analyses. Even if SO did drop the cost of gas, that says nothing of who bore the brunt of the cost. It says nothing of the enivronmental costs of their business practices. It says nothing of how they treated their workers. And still sidesteps the point of how the monopoly was formed by business practices that are anti-competitive and would completely overcome any advantages of a strictly free-market system. As I mentioned before, costs aren't the only metric we should use in judging a civilization.

> This is how high profits counter-intuitively accelerate the trend towards lower price and higher quality (witness computer and cellphone progression).

It isn't the fact that profits were high that drove this trend. It's the incredible volume of demand that drove prices down. Again, see the history of Bell Labs for this as far as computers and cell phones go. It was a government-sanctioned monopoloy that made these possible.

Your DC link was unfortunate, but was just a case of idiots in government. This isn't something inherent in governments. There are more than enough idiots in management. Luckily we live in a democracy that can be changed with an informed electorate.

> Insurance companies profit only because of the fact that it costs MORE to have health insurance for most people than it costs to NOT have it. It's risky to not have health insurance, but if you are of normal health, you come out ahead financially by not having it. Also, [5] many hospitals, doctors give discount for paying cash

I'm not sure what the point is you're trying to make. This is all obvious. The point is that you never know your future health states. The fact that doctors give discounts for paying cash is analogous to people not paying interest rates when they pay off their credit cards on time. But in the real world, most people can't afford to do this. As I mentioned before, the number one cause of individual bankruptcy in the US is due to medical bills.

> Consumer Reports is a private regulatory agency. Amazon ratings are a consumer-driven regulatory agency. Yelp too. Ebay feedback, etc. Your social network is a regulatory agency.

Okay so you never actually meant regulatory agency. Consumer Reports is a consumer advocacy magazine. Amazon, Yelp, and Ebay are a sort of word-of-mouth that only exist due to technology developed by the government and public-private parternships. And Yelp has recently been accused of removing negative reviews if the businesses pay up. None of these can do anything about abuse of workers or pollution or anything else industry has a history of doing.

>We can take risks for discounts, or be conservative and pay a premium for a trusted brand, and when that trusted brand starts overcharging, people like me step in and offer a new solution at a better price.

This really depends on what you're talking about. We shouldn't have to risk that discounted item being unsafe or dangerous or snake oil. Not everyone can afford items that are too expensive. And sometimes the profits just don't exist for goods and services at the price point that people can afford them at.

>Let's say there's a mafia. They steal from everyone, but they use the money to fund research projects. They steal half of what everyone earns (total cost of govt taxation over what things would cost without it, includes regulatory costs), but they take credit for everything that is done by the researchers they pay with the stolen money. Some people defend it, and say "without the mafia stealing from everyone and paying some of the people to research things, it would be impossible to get humans to create amazing things!" That is absurd, that human society requires guns to our heads to make us innovate.

Or let's say there's a charity that everyone chips into. They build roads so we can transport goods. They organize police forces so thieves don't rob us. They have fire departments so our homes don't burn down. They fund a military to protect us from foreign threats. They fund scientific research so that our children don't die of diseases that we suffer from or so that energy costs go down in the future from new and cheaper sources of energy.

Do you think ideas just pop into people's heads? You really really need to read up on some science history. I really hate to repeat myself, but you are incredibly ignorant and should educate yourself if you really want to argue that your magical free market could have built the world we live in. Private industry has no financial incentive to fund basic science research. Without basic science research, there can't be future applied science research. Without applied science research, there can't be future engineering in that field. Humans don't need guns to their heads to innovate. That's why we got together and use our tax dollars to fund basic science. But private industry sure as hell needs a gun to its head or else they risk pissing of their shareholders for throwing away profit on research they won't see an ROI for decades or centuries.

> Venture capitalists are the exact opposite of govt research, and they have funded every major advance in the past 20 years.

Buuuulllllllsssshhhiiiiiiiittt. Holy crap don't even try to act like you know what you're talking about. Are you gonna tell me that it was a VC who funded the Human Genome Project? It was a VC who funded CERN? It was a VC who put Rovers on Mars? You are completely divorced from reality.

NASA ended shuttle launches because America doesn't give a damn anymore. And those private enterprises you claim have no government funding . . . they get their grant money through NASA. It's called contracting. And in case you were unaware, contracting is done using tax dollars. Those engineering firms don't do it out of charity. They have to get paid like anyone else.

Learn some fucking history.

u/Second_Foundationeer · 2 pointsr/Physics

I don't know about physics history books, but I really liked A Short History of Nearly Everything when I read it a couple years ago. It doesn't go into the how too much, but it gets behind the scientists and shows them as real humans? Is that kind of what you're looking for?

u/delection · 2 pointsr/books

> A Short History Of Nearly Everything

I have never read this book, but from the book description on Amazon; it does look like it has similar topics.

u/thisisntadam · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Read. Make sure they are good books. If you want a leg-up on your classmates, make sure they cover topics you will be studying next year. Probably the best books for this off the top of my head are Lies My Teacher Told Me and A Short History of Nearly Everything. The first covers American history (including Columbus), the second covers many of the natural sciences.

For someone who is looking at public school as a failing educational tool, these two books will do a wonderful job of explaining topics in a way that will make them interesting and living subjects, not just a useless series of facts to be memorized.

As far as literature goes, try to read some heavy-hitting classics instead of whatever fantasy/Twilight crap someone your age might be reading. Again, try to keep ahead of the curve, both with what you are going to study and what is intellectually beyond what you are going to study. Something with more than 300 pages, if you need a measuring stick. If you really want to go above and beyond, email teachers and ask for book suggestions that AREN'T on the suggested summer reading list.

u/elementalizer · 2 pointsr/self

A good book that is fun to read and has tons of anecdotes about scientific history is A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

In a similar vein, you can ponder the more mind-bending aspects of our Universe with Stephen Hawkings A Brief History of Time

Other than that you may find some interesting things in the works of Carl Sagan or Richard Dawkins (I personally recommend Dawkins's The Selfish Gene)

If you are sick of scientific titles you can also check out Freakonomics or The Worldly Philosphers

These Books are all written for a general audience so they go down pretty easy.

Deciding which major in College can be tricky - I was lucky since I knew exactly what I wanted to study before I left High School, but maybe some ideas in these books will pique your interest. My parents always told me to go to school to study something I love, and not to train for a job. I'm not so sure this advice carries through in "recovering" economy. You may want to factor in the usefulness of your degree post-college (but don't let that be the only thing you consider!).

Good Luck, and enjoy!

u/travishenrichs · 2 pointsr/books

It depends on what you're interested in.

Great War for Civilisation is full of fascinating stories from a war correspondent covering the middle east; he interviewed Bin Laden several times before 9/11 among other things. The book is long, but it brings the conflicts to your doorstep and takes you behind the scenes where the media is often restricted from going. Be warned of the size and content though. It is gruesome in most places, and provides a very realistic account of what goes on daily over there.

1776 tells the story of the American revolution, concentrating on the battles and the men who fought them. It is written extremely well. If you have any interest whatsoever in the founding fathers, the characters behind the revolution, or even just a good story, read it and you shouldn't be disappointed.

Short History of Nearly Everything basically takes everything you're interested in that is science related, condenses it all into discrete explanations, and combines the whole to present a great reading experience. It's a bit like doing for science what "A People's History of the United States" did for history. It all feels genuine.

Those are a few I have particularly enjoyed.

u/Rainieri · 2 pointsr/atheism

Get A Short Story of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. It's a science book, not an atheist one. It covers everything from Geology to Cosmology and Genetics and Evolution, it talks about when and how things were discovered and gives a little biography for many scientists. And it's very easy to pick up and read, no big words but still manages to teach. It also talks a bit about religion and atheism in a way that shows that religion is a force that's almost always for ignorance and how science stands for more knowledge and advances society.

u/wall-of-meth · 2 pointsr/TheRedPill

I highly recommend science oriented books. Science is no "Maybe, perhaps, whatever", it is clear: facts are true when they are proven as such, and wrong when proven as wrong. There are theories everywhere but no one relies on them before they aren't proven right nowadays.

For a good summary of science, I recommend „A Short History of Nearly Everything". It really is about everything that regards progress in science: From Physics and chemistry, over geology and cosmology to anthropology and evolution. It is a pleasure to read, very well written and researched.

For more detailed, yet very accessible physics and explanations of the universe, there is "Big Bang".

Then there are things that - in my eyes - are beyond anything that TRP touches. Medical conditions which impair your sensory organs or rather the areas of your brain that process those sensations: Complete failure of a brain area, malfunctions in processing, illnesses. Those are very interesting stories and will make you think outside of your box. What would you do if this happened to you? How do people build a life around this? What does it feel and look like inside an affected persons head? Oliver Sacks has written a few books about those conditions/cases. He has a very pleasant and personal style of writing down his stories about the patients or even himself.

Quite analogue to that I recommend the series "Dr. House" if you are interested in that topic.

I can only recall those two from the top of my head. Of course, there are other topics which are interesting as well:

Philosophy (see: Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Platon), ancient poetry (see: Vergil, Homer, Alighieri) [because this indeed is for the most part fictional, you learn a lot about the spirit of the times], psychology, economy, paleontology, anthropology, etc etc.

Also, you shouldn't miss out on reading up about how cars/car engines are built and how they work (there are great animations of this on Youtube), this can come in handy if you want to repair one or get an idea of what features are worth your money. Same goes for computer technologies, household equipment. Basically I recommend to read up on every technical or even economical topic to be up to date.

As well, you can do researches about daily things. The internet is great at getting you those informations. But be sceptical, everyone on the internet can write articles about anything.

Often times it's the things we don't notice that have the most impact: linguistic (the history of bascially all languages is very exciting), where resources come from (nuclear plants - on this topic I found a well researched article/book on reddit regarding
-, coal power stations, wood clearing, purification plants, oil producers, mining, opencast mining, fishing, farming, animal breeding), the many climate zones of the globe and which one you live in, flora and fauna of the globe, the sea and especially the deep sea.

You get the idea. Turn your head around 360° and look under the surface of things. Lift a rock to see what is underneath, there is a lot to discover.

u/cr42 · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

I actually see a lot of parallels between your situation and where I found myself at your age. It was 14 or 15 that I really developed an interest in science, because before that I hadn't really been properly exposed before that. Fast forward 6 or 7 years, I'm now a third year university student studying physics and I love it; I'll be applying to PhD programs next fall.

Like you, astronomy (by which I broadly mean astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, etc.) was what really caught my attention. In school, I liked all the sciences and had always been good at math (calculus was by far one of my favorite high school courses because the science can be pretty watered down).

If you're interested in learning more about astrophysics, I would recommend any one of a number of books. The first book on the topic that I read was Simon Singh's Big Bang; I read a couple Brian Greene books, namely The Elegant Universe and Fabric of the Cosmos; I read Roger Penrose's Cycles of Time, and finally Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. Also, I bought a book by Hawking and one by Michio Kaku that, to this day, sit on a shelf at my parents' house unread. I would recommend Singh's book as a nice book that should be at your level, and in fact it was the one recommended to me by some professors who I bugged with questions about the universe when I was around your age. Also, Bryson's book is a good survey look at a lot of different scientific topics, not just astrophysics/cosmology specific; I enjoyed it quite a lot.

As far as reaching out to people, I would recommend trying to connect with some scientists via email. That's what I did, and they were more responsive than I expected (realize that some of the people will simply not respond, probably because your email will get buried in their inbox, not out of any ill-will towards you).

At this point, I'll just stop writing because you've more than likely stopped reading, but if you are still reading this, I'd be more than happy to talk with you about science, what parts interest(ed) me, etc.

u/schistkicker · 2 pointsr/geology

Here's 3:

"Your Inner Fish" - Neil Shubin

"Why Geology Matters" - Doug MacDougall

"A Short History of Nearly Everything" - Bill Bryson

u/Shlonch · 2 pointsr/DecidingToBeBetter

Going through a similar thing right now, while I'm no where near where I want to be, I've made some good improvements. Best tip I can give you from what I've learned is

Focus on one aspect first.

I've found whenever I start to feel like all these things are wrong with me (I'm not smart, I'm not funny, I'm not attractive), I tend to try and change things immediately. My next day will consist of a completely new minute-by-minute routine, new diet, new attitude, new me. However, the "perfect me" starts to cheat a little here and a little there, "I know it's time to exercise, but another 10 minutes on Reddit won't hurt..." Then in no time at all I'm back to just plain old me. The point is, a lot of change at once can be overwhelming.

If you start to feel that things need to be done right now and you feel like making drastic changes, more often that not, the thrill will quickly pass and you'll be left right where you started. Choose one thing you want to improve first and work on making that a routine.

Think of a stream of water pounding against a rock. It takes time before the rock begins to shape and feel the full force of the water, but it does feel it.

As for the learning to do things, I recently asked /r/suggestmeabook/ for recommendations on a book to increase my general intelligence and these were the recommendations. Currently reading through A Short History of Nearly Everything and loving it.

I know this isn't an all inclusive answer to all your problems, but I hope it helps. :)

TLDR: Focusing on changing too many things at once can be discouraging and leave you worse off than when you started. Read A Short History of Nearly Everything for brain power.


u/00Deege · 2 pointsr/suggestmeabook

[A Short History of Nearly Everything] ( by Bill Bryson. Fun, interesting, and informative.

u/nostalgichero · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

Check out "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson. It's right up your alley. It's a history of science and scientific thought. It discussess almost all of the major scientific thought processes and when, how, and who was involved in their discoveries, the rival thoughts at the time, how it changed our world, and also covers scientists lost to time or scientists whose theories were taken by others. It's also really, really entertaining to read. It's like a really entertaining history book but about science and scientific thought. It's pretty dang accurate and specific, but not so precise as to wear you down or confuse you. Really approachable, REALLY informative, and perfect for someone who feels that their science AND history knowledge is lacking.

u/Rowaan · 2 pointsr/neildegrassetyson

Bill Bryson - A Short History Of Nearly Everything. Freaking fantastic book.

u/Tin-Star · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson is a good overview of the history of science. PDF (or MP3 audiobook) available online if you're OK with torrenting copyrighted stuff, but a hard copy wouldn't be a bad investment.

u/Ressha · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything is an extremely readable tour through natural history and scientefic proccess from the very beginning of the planet. Probably my favoruite 'overview' non-fiction book.

If you want to read fiction that will make you more knowledgeable, read anything by Umberto Eco. The research he does on any time period his work is set in is outstanding and it really shows. I finished Prague Cemetery today by him, which is focuses on 19th century conspiracy theories, where every event and character that appears in the book apart from the main character is historically accurate. It's amazing how he blends a fascinating plot with historical accuracy.

u/Tettamanti · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

Definitely not the biggest, but very impressive is Robert Evans, amateur astronomer, found a record number (42) of supernovae...with his 10” home his backyard.

In Bill Bryson’s book, A Brief History of Nearly Everything, he discribes how incredibly hard this feat actually is. “To understand what a feat this is, imagine a standard dining room table covered in a black tablecloth and someone throwing a handful of salt across it. The scattered grains can be thought of as a galaxy. Now imagine fifteen hundred more tables like the first one — enough to fill a Wal-Mart parking lot, say, or to make a single line two miles long — each with a random array of salt across it. Now add one grain of salt to any table and let Bob Evans walk among them. At a glance he will spot it. That grain of salt is the supernova.”

Evans has also been quoted as saying "There's something satisfying, I think, about the idea of light travelling for millions of years through space and just at the right moment as it reaches Earth someone looks at the right bit of sky and sees it. It just seems right that an event of that magnitude should be witnessed."

u/antonbe · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

I've immersed myself in science and history my whole life and quite possibly the best book I've ever come across that condenses everything in a sequential order is "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson.

> In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail—well, most of it. In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, traveling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.

The book is simply amazing. I learn something new from it everytime I read it and I highly recommend it to everyone from an uneducated teenager to a PhD carrying senior!

While you're at it, I would also recommend the rest of his books. Bryson is an amazing nonfiction writer (I daresay one of the best in the world) and his penmanship will captivate you. Just search for him on Amazon and pick another one of his books up in a category that interests you as he writer about a very broad range of topics.

Edit: Also, I highly recommend "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared M. Diamond. and Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt

u/deRoussier · 1 pointr/atheism

"A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson is a perfect introduction into science. Its very accessible and very interesting.

u/birdsaresodumb · 1 pointr/IWantToLearn

Bill Bryson has a great book that has a layman's explanation of the high points.

u/erragodofmayhem · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

Read all the things!

Seriously though, I think the most important choice is deciding to approach any new information from a fresh, as unbiased as possible, perspective.

You want to find and know the truth ... let the truth show itself to you without you having any preconceived ideas of what the truth ought to be, or which truth would make you most comfortable.

Then read anything and everything that interests you.

If you're into science and want to know more about how we know what we know so far, read "A Short History of nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson.

If you like philosophical arguments and logical mind exercises, check out anything by Sam Harris (Lots of Youtube debates and speeches too).

If you want the above, but with buckets of passion, eloquence and English wit, check out Christopher Hitchens (again, many Youtube debates and speeches)

If you want to understand why atheists don't take to heart a lot of the Theist Arguments, check out Thunderfoot's "Why do creationists get laughed at" series.

u/MilhouseVanHouten · 1 pointr/atheism

Read A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. It's not about religion.

u/grotgrot · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I strongly recommend reading Made in America by Bill Bryson. In theory it is about the history of American English but in practise it is also American history and as with all Bill Bryson books is very funny in addition to being informative. It covers this whole naming situation, including amusing efforts at regulating spelling. The post office did (eventually!) manage to enforce that there couldn't be duplicate names within a state.

A short history of nearly everything is also a rollicking good read.

u/vencetti · 1 pointr/skeptic

Great Question. I was thinking about my own history. I wish there was a good single Codex, like handing out Bibles. I'd say read books broadly, read well, listen to debate, study the free MOOC courses online like Always have a consciousness above what you are listening/reading that takes the mental exercise to evaluate: what works and what flaws there are in things, even ideas you love. I think books on Science history are especially helpful, like Byson's A Short History of nearly Everything or Boortin's The Discoverers

u/ekofromlost · 1 pointr/IAmA

Dude, for a newbie, I thought Bill Bryson's "A Short History of nearly Everything" was Awesome.

Of course that's a lot simpler than Godel or Douglas Hofstadter.

Have you read "The Selfish Gene", by Richard Dawkins? Awesome read.

u/RelaxingOnTheBeach · 1 pointr/InsightfulQuestions

A short history of nearly everything.

It's heavy on the science and math but also includes some history and philosophy. What's great about it is it doesn't just tell you the world is 4 billion years old, it tells you how we know that and goes over the evolution of human thought and how we got to where we are today in each subject. It's also easy to read and the audio book version can be finished in a week of just listening to it during your commute.

Telling someone with no philosophy background to try to read 900 pages of Kant is a recipe for frustration.

u/EngineerRogers · 1 pointr/EngineeringStudents

Well, one of the books I read that really got me started in cosmology and physics is Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos. I think it is his best book and talks a lot about the fundamentals of our universe. Brian Greene studies string theory and those bits are interesting, but just know that the theory is far from complete or proven. This one is definitely the most physics heavy suggestion.

Another book that I really enjoy is A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. It is essentially a history of science, and he covers a lot of topics. Many of which I knew almost nothing about when I read it. It puts into perspective how all the things we know came to be.

The next two recommendations are not books, but they still have a lot of great information in them. This first is a Youtube series called Crash Course Astronomy. The host is Phil Plait, one of the programmers involved with the Hubble Space Telescope. There are a lot of videos, so it would keep you busy and learning for a while.

The last recommendation is as close to the upper level undergraduate astronomy courses that I have taken without actually doing any math. It is a bunch of class lectures from Ohio State University that were recorded and released as a podcast about stellar astronomy and planetary astronomy. I found the lecturer's voice a little whiny at first, but I soon got past that because the content was so good. I kid you not, I listened to this ahead of my ASTRO 346 Stellar Astronomy class at my university, and I felt like the class concepts were almost a review.

All of those recommendations require you to do no math, but you only get a glimpse of the concepts that way. If you want to dive in more, you'll need to take a class or read a textbook on your own.

I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions about astronomy as a subject or as a course of study in school :)

u/Bama011 · 1 pointr/AskReddit
u/LunasaG · 1 pointr/history

If you're up for an fun, easy read I'd suggest you start with 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' by Bill Bryson and see when you feel like exploring when you're done. -

u/SafariNZ · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

This is a fun read and gives a good insight into the typical way history unfolds.

u/urban_ · 1 pointr/booksuggestions
u/ReadingRainbowRocket · 1 pointr/politics

I have the perfect non-fiction book for you that is great history AND science/number-y to an insane degree!


Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything." The book is about what we know about our planet/reality and how we came to know it. Fucking fascinating. It can get a little dry in the middle with all the earth-measuring stuff but you might actually like that part.


You will be instantly drawn in with the beginning astronomy stuff and relative size/scale analogies.




u/brzcory · 1 pointr/AdviceAnimals

> © Bill Bryson, Reprinted with love.

Love me some Bill Bryson.

u/Foolness · 1 pointr/getdisciplined

For anxiety, I recommend Hope and Help for Your Nerves

I didn't post the Amazon link because there's a summary in that link of the steps (though the book does not portray it as steps)

> Here are Dr Weekes' 4 steps to overcoming anxiety:

> FACING the things you fear (instead of avoiding) – but in the right way, with appropriate help. (Fighting the fear, says Dr Weekes, will only add to your exhaustion and make the problem worse, by triggering more adrenalin.)

> ACCEPTING the symptoms, the fear, the situation. This will begin to reduce the triggering of adrenalin.

> FLOATING above or through the fear – not resisting or fighting.

> LETTING TIME PASS – allowing time for full recovery, because full recovery depends on repeated experiences of being in the situations you fear, and learning that you are ok, you can cope.

> Now, you might be tempted to dismiss this as too simple, or something you have heard before. But Dr Weekes explains each of these steps in a way that you can put into practice.

Mainly though it's more for your social worker so that they would be more tolerant of your present self. (I don't know what they mean by rigid but it sounds like they are trying to rush your recovery.)

Yeah perfectionism can be troublesome. The thing to look out for here is how would you achieve the perfect result? Sometimes you are on the right track and that's where you can do things in short bursts but you lose track of the right track (like the why behind your task) and end up getting distracted.

I'm not sure if you've seen this Simon Sinek TedTalk but at the core of perfect results is not the word perfect but the word results. How you define the ingredients for the word result will determine how prone or less prone you are to distractions because distractability is not a state, it's a rationalization and like all rationalization it can appear or disappear relative to the mindset you establish during that period of doing.

Realistically, even if you are distractable, there is so many happening right now in your thoughts that any short burst of productivity add up in the long term especially when it feels right regardless of how positive or negative you expect the results to be.

It all comes down to flow and bouncing forward. See the perfect results is like a signal. To you, there's a task that "feels right". That sends a signal that you are potentially sprinting towards a perfect result. That's flow. That's bouncing forward. That is the motivation or the clue to the motivation you are seeking.

But the signal gets buried under the noise over time. The worries start to creep in. The right to be ok gets replaced by the right to stay ok.

...but is staying ok really ok? For you, it doesn't seem that way.

And so you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. If you stay this way then you won't try too hard but you'll also be trying too hard to stay like this. If you don't get better then people might still care about you but then if you don't get better then people might grow tired of caring for you. What a vicious circle.

...but... (yeah I'm using but a lot but we're getting meta here)

Ask yourself: "must" you be in this vicious circle?

To quote Albert Ellis:

>"When you are upset, look for the must."

In this particular reply, ask yourself:

"must" you have an extrinsic motivation?

"must" you worry about trying hard?

"must" you worry that people will stop caring about you?

What are the worst case scenario and then note them down and check back on those worst case scenario "as you are" trying to be better and as you are getting better.

As for failing, do a Google search and you can see random articles listing how many successful people are actually failures. link example

It is because you are a failure that you can accomplish anything. Deep down you already know that. Why would you wait to take action if you don't believe you can take any action once everyone gets angry and fed up with you? Sure, a part of that is because you won't have a choice but a part of that is that you have a choice...but the choice gets rationalized externally when what you should be looking for is emotionally inside you and deep down inside of you, you believe that you can do something provided that everyone gets angry and fed up so why not simulate that inside of your head?

Nothing is preventing you from creating a role where everyone has already gotten angry and fed up with you. Then take that bottom down approach and appreciate every little piece of benefit that gets sent your way even the imperfect ones. Visualize and list down the qualities that your social worker for example may be fed up with concerning you and then if they do something contrary to that, now you visualize and imagine this is how they've gotten to be AFTER they got fed up and angry with you. Negatives don't always lead to negatives.

Sometimes negative thinking is necessary for starting over and then restarting over. That's why I keep using but. For every negative thought you have there is a but that can lead to realistic thinking. It all starts inside of you (even when most days it seems something external gets in the way).

For your passion, I recommend starting with a book or movie about a lost soul who found themselves. If you've seen Kumare it may either uplift you or depress you more but find something similar to this.

You could also try some interesting trivia books like A Short History of Nearly Everything or 64 Things You Need to Know Now for Then

If you are into audiobooks, check out autobiographies - those tend to be easy to consume. For now just explore and take your present situation in little by little. The more you are mindful of how you grow from day to day - the more finding your passion and honing it becomes easier. Even meditation when forced can be difficult to receive benefits from but mindfulness of your own existence - that is that precious thing that keeps you going.

u/rAtheismSelfPostOnly · 1 pointr/INTPBookmarks

Unsorted Bookmarks!51536011%2Cn%3A409211011%2Cn%3A16321991&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-4&pf_rd_r=276843EDAC57400B8E84&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1387855682&pf_rd_i=51537011!/today/

u/AchillesFury · 1 pointr/nba
u/kakaroto_BR · 1 pointr/brasil

[A Short History of Nearly Everything] ( livro para leigos curto e intrigante sobre as mais diversas áreas do conhecimento científico e casos interessantes sobre personalidades que fizeam a ciência ao longo dos séculos.

u/Sluumm · 1 pointr/NoStupidQuestions

This book might be the closest thing you can get. It is a great book.

u/CrisOMG · 1 pointr/science

This is an excellent book that covers most major scientific subjects. More than that, it's a great read.

If you're looking for more physics related stuff, this is a pretty easy read and even has a NOVA series that accompanies it.

u/kylev · 1 pointr/

It really is lame. It turns out that the world knows so little about the oceans. I'm reading a really good book and the author notes that. There is just no money for oceanic exploration and research, despite how important currents and oceanic biology are to our world! We didn't know about the another major current until a set of hockey gloves washed off a ship's deck a few years ago. Such a shame.

u/Jrrtubbs · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon
  1. Let's face it, school gets boring an stressful sometimes. When I have some downtime, I like to laugh and Party Down is one of the funniest shows ever. Party Down: Season 1 DVD ~ Adam Scott

  2. If we're to battle evil, we must study it. That's why I need this figure of Scarecrow, to learn about his weaknesses and strengths. Batman: The Animated Series > Scarecrow Action Figure by DC Comics

  3. In the same vein, a book of essays on villains can come in very handy. I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined) by Chuck Klosterman

  4. If I'm going to be a resourceful wizard, knowledge is power. What better knowledge is there than knowledge of everything?! A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

  5. Since it's my first time going to school in a long time, I thought it would be a good idea to bone up on how to be a student and get along with others. Who better to learn from than Veronica Mars? Veronica Mars: Season 1 DVD ~ Kristen Bell

    Bonus: learning to think critically an solve problems is an important skill for any student. Who better to teach us those lessons than the good people at Lego and the Dark Knight himself? LEGO Super Heroes The Batcave 6860 by LEGO

    Mischief managed!
u/LOLUM4D · 1 pointr/AskReddit

This was money:

I had it on audio book and would listen while in traffic.

u/gunslinger81 · 1 pointr/AskReddit

The Axemaker's Gift by James Burke: All about examining of why we are the way we are and how we got here the way we did--it's the evolution of technology starting all the way back when monkeys came down from the trees.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson: The science textbook you wish you got in school. Funny, informative, and provides an accessible way to learn about the world around us.

The Republic by Plato: Pretentious, I know, but this was the first philosophy book that ever really opened my mind to different types of thought.

u/immortal-esque · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

Not sure why I'm having such a hard time wrapping my head around this :)

I think I read somewhere (possibly this book) that we're still able to detect some of the very first microwave radiation (?) that was caused by the Big Bang eons ago, and I think that's what's confusing me: this really old "light" that was created shortly after whatever started the observable universe that's been happily traveling along rather quickly, occasionally bumping into stuff like planets and monitoring equipment where it can be observed...

So if the Big Bang happened way over THERE and everything we know including microwave radiation and what ultimately became us had to travel outwards away from that point until we ended up way over HERE a really long time later on (i.e. now), then why does this old microwave radiation only reach us now? Did it take a pit stop somewhere?

If that still doesn't make any sense I really don't blame you! Makes my head spin, lol.

u/anodes · 1 pointr/

thanks, but i think you're thinking of bill bryson's book. (this is ken wilber's)[].

edit: not sure why the link's not working. bill bryson's book is "a short history of nearly everything"; ken wilber's is "a brief history of everything".

u/arfbrookwood · 1 pointr/askscience

The first part of Bill Brysons "A Short History of Nearly Everything" explains this kind of thing:

u/kufu91 · 1 pointr/AskReddit

A Short History of Nearly Everything

From the introduction:

> I grew up convinced that science was supremely dull, but suspecting that it needn't
be, and not really thinking about it at all if I could help it. This, too, became my position for a
long time.

> Then much later-about four or five years ago-I was on a long flight across the Pacific,
staring idly out the window at moonlit ocean, when it occurred to me with a certain
uncomfortable forcefulness that I didn't know the first thing about the only planet I was ever
going to live on. I had no idea, for example, why the oceans were salty but the Great Lakes
weren't. Didn't have the faintest idea. I didn't know if the oceans were growing more salty
with time or less, and whether ocean salinity levels was something I should be concerned
about or not. ...

> And ocean salinity of course represented only the merest sliver of my ignorance. I didn't
know what a proton was, or a protein, didn't know a quark from a quasar, didn't understand
how geologists could look at a layer of rock on a canyon wall and tell you how old it was,
didn't know anything really. I became gripped by a quiet, unwonted urge to know a little
about these matters and to understand how people figured them out. ...

> So I decided that I would devote a portion of my life-three years, as it now turns out-to
reading books and journals and finding saintly, patient experts prepared to answer a lot of
outstandingly dumb questions. The idea was to see if it isn't possible to understand and
appreciate-marvel at, enjoy even-the wonder and accomplishments of science at a level that
isn't too technical or demanding, but isn't entirely superficial either. That was my idea and my hope, and that is what the book that follows is intended to be.

u/NFeKPo · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion

I am sure you have heard a thousand things.
A Short History of Nearly Everything is a great read. It covers everything from our solar system/universe to geology. It's written in a easy to understand way and if there are sections that you don't find interesting (I didn't care for the geology section) you can easily skip them.

u/youcancallmejoey · 1 pointr/ScienceParents

A Short History of Nearly Everything

Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us.

u/CricketPinata · 1 pointr/milliondollarextreme

If you want to just know buzzwords to throw around, spend a bunch of time clicking around on Wikipedia, and watch stuff like Crash Course on YouTube. It's easy to absorb, and you'll learn stuff, even if it's biased, but at least you'll be learning.

If you want to become SMARTER, one of my biggest pieces of advice is to either carry a notebook with you, or find a good note taking app you like on your phone. When someone makes a statement you don't understand, write it down and parse it up.

So for instance, write down "Social Democracy", and write down "The New Deal", and go look them up on (Put's all of it in simplest language possible), it's a great starting point for learning about any topic, and provides you a jumping board to look more deeply into it.

If you are really curious about starting an education, and you absolutely aren't a reader, some good books to start on are probably:

"Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words" by Randall Munroe

"A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson

"Philosophy 101" by Paul Kleinman, in fact the ____ 101 books are all pretty good "starter" books for people that want an overview of a topic they are unfamiliar with.

"The World's Religions" by Huston Smith

"An Incomplete Education" by Judy Jones and Will Wilson

Those are all good jumping off points, but great books that I think everyone should read... "A History of Western Philosophy" by Bertrand Russell, "Western Canon" by Harold Bloom, "Education For Freedom" by Robert Hutchins, The Norton Anthology of English Literature; The Major Authors, The Bible.

Read anything you find critically, don't just swallow what someone else says, read into it and find out what their sources were, otherwise you'll find yourself quoting from Howard Zinn verbatim and thinking you're clever and original when you're just an asshole.

u/bfevans19 · 1 pointr/books
u/black_omen6 · 0 pointsr/booksuggestions

If I understand correctly, I found that Bill Bryson had written a decent book. Of course, I may not have understood correctly.