Ever wonder how great scientific minds had their insights? How history was shaped by events ignited by great ideas? Have you ever wonder how we, as human tend to still be here, on the planet? Or how the planet in itself exists? This and many other questions are the foundation for one of the most enjoyable popular science books out there.
Bill Bryson gives you a tour of the most fundamental ideas, which change our thinking and understanding of life, evolution and our place in all this. Due to his meticulously combination of scientific facts with murky historical events it is a great pleasure to read the book. Although at some point you might feel overwhelm by all the facts presented you begin to see science at what it is, a build-up of knowledge, with credit for discoveries, being most often given to the few who were lucky enough to speak and international language (read as English), lucky to have the material means to pursue their interest in their own time, and lucky to have the connections that could help popularize their findings. All of these are extremely similar to how science is made today. Wherever the money goes, some discoveries in that field are bound to take place. This is not to say that great minds are not born every decade and are not capable of great insights, merely the fact that most often being a genius and not having the right connections or luck, means that your genius might be acknowledge well past your lifetime.
One of my personal favorite past time book, I enjoyed taking the tour through the history of many great discoveries, and must confess that at the end of it I was left with a taste of wanting to find out more about scientific discoveries in all fields of knowledge. As it turns out, this is the effect of great books and wonderful writers, they keep you hooked, wanting and longing for more.