A Short History of Nearly Everything

From Powell’s Books:

Book_16 In large structure, A Short History of Nearly Everything is broken into six sections, roughly summarized as the universe, evolution, physics, the earth, life, and people. Each section has several chapters, so no particular chapter is dauntingly long. Bryson’s emphasis is as much on how we learned stuff as it is about the knowledge itself. The foibles and follies of science are lauded right alongside the achievements, and scientists are shown as human beings, warts and all. Bryson has a gift for descriptions that leap into the mind; here’s his description of James Watson: “In 1951, he was a gawky twenty-three-year-old with a strikingly lively head of hair that appears in photographs to be straining to attach itself to some powerful magnet just out of frame.” In his readings, if he found some passage or image that helped his understanding, he included it; the book itself thus contains Bryson’s “suggested further reading” list.

I think the best teachers are not necessarily those who know a subject best, but are those who remember what it’s like not to know the subject.

More here.