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Origin Story: A Big History of Everything
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Origin Story: A Big History of Everything

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  352 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
A captivating history of the universe -- from before the dawn of time through the far reaches of the distant future.

Most historians study the smallest slivers of time, emphasizing specific dates, individuals, and documents. But what would it look like to study the whole of history, from the big bang through the present day -- and even into the remote future? How would look
Hardcover, 357 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by Little, Brown and Company
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Timothy E I'd like to add to your addition to those two books Martin mentioned, how does this book compare to The Rational Optimist and The…moreI'd like to add to your addition to those two books Martin mentioned, how does this book compare to The Rational Optimist and The Evolution of Everything by Matt Ridley?(less)

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Bill Gates
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
We all have an origin story. In some societies, they manifest as creation myths. In others, they look more like history textbooks. For example, as a kid in the United States, I grew up learning about the group of rebels who stood up to their British overlords and founded our country. It’s human nature to be curious about where we come from, and origin stories unite people through a common history and shared sense of purpose.

But what if all of humanity shared an origin story? What would that stor
Caleb Masters
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderful and relatively compact history book that does its best to tell the history of EVERYTHING, from the big bang to what the future may hold for us and our universe. Christian highlights various "thresholds" that our universe and then our species crossed to take history to its next big level. I admire his ability to synthesize information and present it in an easy digestible package for the reader. Fans of Harari's "Sapiens" and Tyson's "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry" will find a lot ...more
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating, well written, & full of information that you probably don’t know, but should. Makes you think, wonder, & want to learn more.
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
excellent book that condenses the entire knowledge on universe into a delightful read
Teo 2050
<7.5h @ 1.7x. Contents:
(view spoiler)
Nancy Ellis
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Having read Dr. Christian's previous text on Big History, Maps of Time, as well as having studied his course on Big History produced by The Great Courses (previously known as The Teaching Company), I found this an enjoyable refresher. It is a more condensed version of Big History than the massive Maps of Time and is an excellent introduction to whet the appetite of potential students. Anyone who knows me is aware of my tendency towards OCD behavior in reading, in that I am obsessive about readin ...more
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read a recommendation for this book by Bill Gates and was lucky enough to get a copy quickly from the library. It was slow going at first as there was so much scientific information, much of which was not known when I was in school back in the 50s and 60s. However, in spite of the technological challenges, Christian's writing is engaging enough to keep the reader hanging in there. Proudly finished it a day before it is due back and where 44 people have it on their hold lists and are anxiously ...more
Tarek Amer
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
-The Big Bang created the Universe 13.8 billion years ago, the first of a series of key events in our history.
-The appearance of stars 12 billion years ago and the way they die were important steps forward for the universe.
-The earth was formed by the accumulation of debris about 4.5 billion years ago.
-Earth had the right conditions to allow life to flourish.
-Photosynthesis was an energy bonanza for early, single-celled life that helped spark a biological revolution.
-Evolution and the extinctio
Michael Huang
This is really a historical from 30,000 ft high (or, perhaps more appropriately 13 billion light years away). The story covers (a) the cosmology part of history from the Big Bang, formation of stars, explosion of stars (supernovae), to the formation of earth; (b) the biology part from prokaryotes, eucaryotes, to evolution and the rise of mammals; (c) the social part from hunter-gatherer society, farming-enabled complex society, to industrialized and information-age modern society.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Comprehensive in scope and accessible in prose, Origin Story was a delight to read. I expect I will re-read this again regularly. Christian provided a very useful and broad summary of what has led us to today, and what our paths are forward. A compelling rallying cry, and a rare book that changed the way I think about several topics. Highly recommended.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is really a big history of humanity which is logical given our domination of Planet Earth. The writer does take the reader through everything from pre-Big Bang to the beginning of life to the emergence and growth of man to how he sees the future and the eventual end of the universe. Christian has that knack like Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson of making the driest,most esoteric physics and biology fascinating. I thought when he tried to predict the future of Man he lost his way a little ...more
Mansi Gupta
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'd have given it 5 stars except the last couple of chapters just felt out of sync with the tone of the rest of the book.
Jerry Wall
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
History of universe and people with timeline in thresholds from one age to another with seven of so thresholds til we get to modern history.
early on after big bang energy itself split up into 1 gravity, 2 the electromagnetic force, then the 3 strong and 4 weak nuclear forces. p.23
. . . electromagnetism is . . . 10 to 36th times as strong as gravity. p. 28
. . . the first living organism as Luca (Or LUCA, from "last universal common ancestor. . . p. 90
. . . symbols (deceptively simple words like
Patrick Pilz
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of those ground breaking books. Ran across it because Bill Gates had it on the summer read list.
"Big History" is a new field of science, one that tries to tell the story of the universe, planets, life and humanity in a single uniform narrative. I read a lot of books which cover parts of this story from the angle of physics, chemistry or biology, but never in such an interwoven way. David Christian make an interesting story told in easy understandable language which really explains everythin
Jamila Heckathorn
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
it was really interesting and educational, but not overwhelming, right up until it got downright depressing. pretty much the cliffs notes of years of science and history that my brain had stored away, followed by the daunting plan of what can extend the life of our planet and species, and thusly concluded with how, even if we buy some time, eventually we will all be absorbed into black holes billions of years from now anyway. joy! glad i took this “refresher course” anyway. sometimes i miss scho ...more
Steve Perryman
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent history of our universe. I would consider this a must read for anyone interested in a contextual history of where we came from, where we are now and what the future looks like.
Carol Peters
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Science changes so fast, I like to read new books that recount from the big bang forward.

This one is pretty good at supplying occasional information that was new to me for about 200 pages, right up to the development of agriculture.

Then it declines into econo-politico-anthropocene-futuristico filler.

Too bad he didn't know where to stop.
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting. Fulfilled its purpose very well. I wish it had been more about social systems but that wasn’t the goal of the book, just my personal preference and (incorrect) assumption that it would include more of that lens. Covered a tremendous amount of information with excellence.
Jie Mauricio
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Learned so much from this book!!!
Andre Chiasson
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An overview of science and history and culture

From astrophysics to geology, biology, history... You name it, an overview of everything from the Big Bang to today and beyond. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in science, in history, in where we are and how we got here. I would like to see young people exposed to this kind of an overview to inspire their interests for future studies.
Mahesh Kumar
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I never thought history would be this interesting!
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
If anyone's feeling sorry for themselves, try reading up on The Origin Story by David Christian.

For those who are remotely interested in world history, perhaps they have come across Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, which covers the history of humans, as named. However, that's not the full story - not even the marginal story. The Origin Story, then, gives a more comprehensive view of the universe. I have yet to cross any book that covers all disciplines, including: physics, cosmology, astronomy, che
Bev Simpson
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A most interesting read. David Christian takes us gracefully through what is called Big History, defined as "the attempt to understand, in a unified way, the history of Cosmos, Earth, Life and Humanity." Big History is a project funded by Bill Gates with Christian who is a professor of History at Macquarie and an elegant and interesting writer. Big History, in my understanding, is basically what is known about just about everything from the earliest days of the Cosmos, though early humans and th ...more
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I wanted more from this book. I should have known when I was getting into when I approached it, because it really does cover the "big history" of our world. I thrive on details, see, and the details I got were not enough to make me fly through this book. I hesitate to say that I found it dry, but as someone who struggles to wrap her brain around certain scientific principles, it was... a lot of science. Atoms and energy and chemicals and lots of numbers.

The content seemed front-heavy, and it rus
Matt Stevens
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Audible Audiobook. A very fantastic, interesting history of how we got to here. Its really interesting reading this book just a month after I finished Origin by Dan Brown because it has the same big premise - life vs. entropy or life because of entropy.

Entropy is basically that in the universe, things break down and energy is released. Life is the opposite of that, life conserves energy and creates things. The theory in this book, and in Origin is that Life actually makes entropy more efficient
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
'Origin Story' does as good a job of covering "the big history" as is realistically possible for a project of its size. There are several interesting facts about the world we live in and the planet we call home. However, it underplays the (hi)stories of the lesser privileged half of the world, thereby missing valuable lessons to be learnt from humanity's biggest mistakes. This makes the book feel a little incomplete.
Jeff Gabriel
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
This just wasn't what i was hoping for. I think the audience is probably middle school aged children. I also found the author's insistence on factoring everything through energy expenditure was a bit too cute. You might get more mileage out of "A brief history of time" by Hawking, "what is life" by Schroedinger, and "the gene: an intimate history" by Mukherjee.
Shyue Ping Ong
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting read, especially for a physical scientist who understands the laws of thermodynamics. It is somewhat refreshing to understand broad human history in the context of the first and second laws of thermodynamics, though these concepts are sometimes misused. The ending is too Hollywood in its optimistic, "man-can-conquer-all-with-determination" statement.
Sujith Philip
Immensely insightful.... till where human recorded history starts. I guess the book 'Sapiens' will do better here.

Christian view is that this cosmic nataraja nritham is but shape-shifts of energy.

Read it!
Suman Srivastava
A surprisingly coherent story of the universe from the Big bang to today and then into the future. The author says that matter is congealed energy (E=mc2) and then proceeds to explain everything that has ever happened in the context of energy and entropy. Fascinating book.
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David Gilbert Christian is an Anglo-American historian and scholar of Russian history notable for creating and spearheading an interdisciplinary approach known as Big History. He grew up in Africa and in England, where he earned his B.A. from Oxford University, an M.A. in Russian history from the University of Western Ontario, and a Ph.D. in 19th century Russian history from Oxford University in 1 ...more
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“Nevertheless, the first states were a new phenomenon in human history. They all assumed the right to mobilize wealth from farming communities, towns, and cities in return for some degree of protection. As the English political theorist Thomas Hobbes wrote in Leviathan (1651), the right to distribute resources “belongeth in all kinds of Common-wealth, to the Soveraign power. For where there is no Common-wealth, there is… a perpetual warre of every man against his neighbor.” Traditional elites owed their power, in part, to the intrinsic weakness and isolation of traditional farming communities.” 0 likes
“As Seth Lloyd puts it: “To do anything requires energy. To specify what is done requires information.”3” 0 likes
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