Do you appreciate being reminded of your futility when comparing your existence to the scope of the entire universe? Do you love hearing that you will live and you will die making no difference to anything in this infinitely large universe? Do you enjoy remembering that you are merely composed of atoms, bits of matter that aren’t even sentient? Then read this book.Do you despise being reminded of your futility because you consider yourself a special snowflake? Do you enjoy hearing about how miraculous and incredible your existence is? Do you love thinking about how the odds of you becoming a living organism, in particular, becoming a living human on Planet Earth in the Milky Way, have more zeroes than our extraordinary brains can possibly conceive? Then read this book.A Short History of Nearly Everything is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read. In this sprawling work, Bryson begins by explaining the creation of the universe and ends with the evolution of modern humans and potential climatic changes facing us in the future. In between, he covers the eccentricities and brilliance of Isaac Newton; countless scientific feuds; the curious profluence of trilobites in the Cambrian era; the frightening possibility that we may die any second from A) a rogue meteoroid B) Yellowstone’s supervolcano C) manmade problems, ranging from the use of lead to the destruction of our planet D) infinite other creepy crawlies present in the vast universe; and, well, everything else. Bryson’s scope is immense, and I enjoyed every second of it. While I could’ve done away with some of his focus on the amusing personalities behind the scientific discoveries rather than the science itself, I can think of few authors who could make these finicky subjects approachable to the layman. If you are reluctant to read this book because you aren’t scientific, please reconsider. Although I am experienced in biology, physics is basically my kryptonite, yet I found the chapters on particle physics and the background to the creation of the universe some of the most interesting. Just yesterday, I found myself explaining Einstein’s theory of relativity to my sister and explaining how the Newtonian conceptualization of gravity isn’t valid because gravity is simply a distortion of spacetime. Yes, reading this book gave me the chops to throw down words like “spacetime”—clearly, I learned a lot. For anyone who wants to learn about science but may feel ill-equipped to do so, A Short History of Nearly Everything is the book for you. It will make you marvel at the miracle of our existences one moment and demonstrate how terribly unimportant we all are in the grand scheme of things the next.