Bill Bryson

Born: December 8, 1951

Occupation: Author

Quotes of Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson

The number of people on whose cooperative efforts your eventual existence depends has risen to approximately 1,000,000,000,000,000,000, which is several thousand times the total number of people who have...

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Bill Bryson

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...

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Bill Bryson

I'm quite certain that if the rest of the world vanished overnight and the development of cricket were left in Australian hands, within a generation, the players would be wearing shorts and using the bats...

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Bill Bryson

There seemed to be a mystifying universal conspiracy among textbook authors to make certain the material they dealt with never strayed too near the realm of the mildly interesting and was always at least...

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Bill Bryson

By the time I had finished my coffee and returned to the streets, the rain had temporarily abated, but the streets were full of vast puddles where the drains where unable to cope with the volume of water....

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Bill Bryson

If you can imagine a man having a vasectomy without anesthetic to the sound of frantic sitar-playing, you will have some idea of what popular Turkish music is like.

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Bill Bryson

I refer of course to the soaring wonder of the age known as the Eiffel Tower. Never in history has a structure been more technologically advanced, materially obsolescent, and gloriously pointless all at...

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Bill Bryson

Life just wants to be; but it doesn't want to be much.

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Bill Bryson

Strange as it may seem, wrote Richard Feynman, we understand the distribution of matter in the interior of the Sun far better than we understand the interior of the Earth.

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Bill Bryson

It was one of those sumptuous days when the world is full of autumn muskiness and tangy, crisp perfection: vivid blue sky, deep green fields, leaves in a thousand luminous hues. It is a truly astounding...

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Bill Bryson

It was the kind of pure, undiffused light that can only come from a really hot blue sky, the kind that makes even a concrete highway painful to behold and turns every distant reflective surface into a...

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Bill Bryson

A third...candidate for Shakespearean authorship was Christopher Marlowe. He was the right age (just two months older than Shakespeare), had the requisite talent, and would certainly have had ample leisure...

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Bill Bryson

Why is it, I wondered, that old people are always so self-centered and excitable? But I just smiled benignly and stood back, comforted by the thought that soon they would be dead.

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Bill Bryson

There are three stages in scientific discovery. First, people deny that it is true, then they deny that it is important; finally they credit the wrong person.

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Bill Bryson

Isn´t it strange how wealth is always wasted on the rich?

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Bill Bryson

Everywhere throughout New England you find old, tumbledown field walls, often in the middle of the deepest, most settled- looking woods- a reminder of just how swiftly nature reclaims the land in America.

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Bill Bryson

A cough so robust that I tapped into two new seams of phlegm.

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Bill Bryson

I come Des Moines. Somebody had to.

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Bill Bryson

Physicists are atoms' way of thinking about atoms.

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Bill Bryson

I wanted to quit and to do this forever, sleep in a bed and in a tent, see what was over the next hill and never see a hill again. All of this all at once, every moment, on the trail or off.

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Bill Bryson

I love everything about motels. I can't help myself. I still get excited every time I slip a key into a motel room door and fling it open.

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Bill Bryson

Of all the things I am not very good at, living in the real world is perhaps the most outstanding.

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Bill Bryson

I turned to my own bunk and examined it with a kind of appalled fascination. If the mattress stains were anything to go by, a previous user had not so much suffered from incontinence as rejoiced in it....

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Bill Bryson

On the dashboard of our family car is a shallow indentation about the size of a paperback book. If you are looking for somewhere to put your sunglasses or spare change, it is the obvious place, and it...

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Bill Bryson

... it occurred to me that never again would he be seven years, one month and six days old, so we had better catch these moments while we can.

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Bill Bryson

Hunters will tell you that a moose is a wily and ferocious forest creature. Nonsense. A moose is a cow drawn by a three-year-old.

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Bill Bryson

When I awoke it was daylight. The inside of my tent was coated in a curious flaky rime, which I realized after a moment was all of my nighttime snores, condensed and frozen and pasted to the fabric, as...

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Bill Bryson

I have long known that it is part of God's plan for me to spend a little time with each of the most stupid people on earth.

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Bill Bryson

There are only three things that can kill a farmer: lightning, rolling over in a tractor, and old age.

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Bill Bryson

The remarkable position in which we find ourselves is that we don't actually know what we actually know.

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Bill Bryson

I had always thought that once you grew up you could do anything you wanted - stay up all night or eat ice-cream straight out of the container.

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Bill Bryson

There are things you just can't do in life. You can't beat the phone company, you can't make a waiter see you until he's ready to see you, and you can't go home again.

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Bill Bryson

Boston's freeway system is insane. It was clearly designed by a person who had spent his childhood crashing toy trains.

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Bill Bryson

I can't fix the world. If you want to make a difference in life, you have to direct your energies in a focused way.

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Bill Bryson

A world without newspapers or a world where the newspapers are purely electronic and you read them on a screen is not a very appealing world.

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Bill Bryson

America is a great disappointment to me. As I said in one of my books, other societies create civilisations; we build shopping malls.

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Bill Bryson

America is a very seductive place in terms of lifestyle and comfort, but it wasn't for me.

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Bill Bryson

Anyone who has read my books will know that I don't tend to use guides when I am travelling. It's not a pride thing, but it is certainly a fact.

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Bill Bryson

Cheapness is a great virtue.

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Bill Bryson

Des Moines is like your typical American city; it's just these concentric circles of malls, built outward from the city.

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Bill Bryson

England was full of words I'd never heard before - streaky bacon, short back and sides, Belisha beacon, serviettes, high tea, ice-cream cornet.

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Bill Bryson

For a long time, I'd been vaguely fascinated by the idea that Charles Lindbergh flew the Atlantic and Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs in the same summer.

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Bill Bryson

I always wanted to do a baseball book; I love baseball. The problem is that a very large part of my following is in non-baseball playing countries.

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Bill Bryson

I can't imagine there has ever been a more gratifying time or place to be alive than America in the 1950s. No country had ever known such prosperity.

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Bill Bryson

I don't know whether I'm misanthropic. It seems to me I'm constantly disappointed. I'm very easily disappointed.

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Bill Bryson

I don't want to go and start trying to make jokes in places like India, Tanzania or Iraq. Afghanistan is not a funny place.

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Bill Bryson

I see litter as part of a long continuum of anti-social behaviour.

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Bill Bryson

I understand cricket - what's going on, the scoring - but I can't understand why.

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Bill Bryson

In a funny way, nothing makes you feel more like a native of your own country than to live where nearly everyone is not.

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Bill Bryson

It is unthinkable to have a British countryside that doesn't have actual functioning farmers riding tractors, cows in fields, things like that.

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Bill Bryson

More than 300 million people in the world speak English and the rest, it sometimes seems, try to.

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Bill Bryson

The first book I did - the first successful book - was a kind of a travel book, and publishers in Britain encouraged me to do more.

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Bill Bryson

The whole of the global economy is based on supplying the cravings of two per cent of the world's population.

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Bill Bryson

There is the odd exception, like Albert Einstein, but as a breed, scientists tend not be very good at presenting themselves.

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Bill Bryson

You may find that your parents are the most delightful people, but you don't want to live with them.

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Bill Bryson

We forget just how painfully dim the world was before electricity. A candle, a good candle, provides barely a hundredth of the illumination of a single 100 watt light bulb.

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Bill Bryson

All the things that are part of your heritage make you British - that makes this country what it is. It's part of your history. And here, unlike America, it's still living history.

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Bill Bryson

An awful lot of England is slowly eroding, in ways that I find really distressing, and an awful lot of it is the hedgerows... We're reaching the point where a lot of the English countryside looks just...

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Bill Bryson

Book tours are really kind of fun. You get to stay in nice hotels, you are driven everywhere in big silver cars, you are treated as if you are much more important than you are, you can eat steak three...

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Bill Bryson

Britain still has the most reliably beautiful countryside of anywhere in the world. I would hate to be part of the generation that allowed that to be lost.

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Bill Bryson

Coming back to your native land after an absence of many years is a surprisingly unsettling business, a little like waking from a long coma. Time, you discover, has wrought changes that leave you feeling...

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Bill Bryson

Have you ever seen Glenn Beck in operation? It is the most terrifying thing. It's so bad that you think he's going to announce in a minute that it's all a great con. He makes Sarah Palin look reasonable...

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Bill Bryson

I can wear a baseball cap; I am entitled to wear a baseball cap. I am genetically pre-disposed to wear a baseball cap, whereas most English people look wrong in a baseball cap.

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Bill Bryson

I don't know whether I'm misanthropic. It seems to me I'm constantly disappointed. I'm very easily disappointed. Disappointed in the things that people do; disappointed in the things that people construct....

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Bill Bryson

I hadn't realized quite how extraordinary Charles Lindbergh's achievement was in flying the Atlantic alone. He had never flown over open water before, but he flew straight to Dingle Bay in Ireland and...

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Bill Bryson

I just use my life story as a kind of device on which to hang comic observations. It's not my interest or instinct to tell the world anything pertinent about myself or my family.

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Bill Bryson

I wish I could adjust my voice, but it's just what's happened to me. It's because I've lived abroad for a long time, and my wife is English and my kids all have English accents, and every voice I hear...

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Bill Bryson

I'm not a natural story-teller. Put a keyboard in front of me and I'm fine, but stand me up in front of an audience and I'm actually quite shy and reserved.

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Bill Bryson

If you drive to, say, Shenandoah National Park, or the Great Smoky Mountains, you'll get some appreciation for the scale and beauty of the outdoors. When you walk into it, then you see it in a completely...

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Bill Bryson

If you go out on the Appalachian Trail, you have to bring so much more equipment - a tent, sleeping bag - but if you go hiking in England, or Europe, generally, towns and villages are near enough together...

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Bill Bryson

In the countryside, litter doesn't have a friend. It doesn't have anybody who's saying, 'Wait a minute, this is really starting to get out of control.'

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Bill Bryson

Maine is wonderful. It can be very hard. I mean, if you look at the profile maps it doesn't look it, but somehow when you get out there it's really steep and hard.

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Bill Bryson

Roads get wider and busier and less friendly to pedestrians. And all of the development based around cars, like big sprawling shopping malls. Everything seems to be designed for the benefit of the automobile...

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Bill Bryson

Science has been quite embattled. It's the most important thing there is. An arts graduate is not going to fix global warming. They may do other valuable things, but they are not going to fix the planet...

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Bill Bryson

The real problem you get with humour is that you only have so many kinds of jokes within you, and you mine that vein a lot. This isn't just common to me; it's anybody who's funny.

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Bill Bryson

There'd never been a more advantageous time to be a criminal in America than during the 13 years of Prohibition. At a stroke, the American government closed down the fifth largest industry in the United...

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Bill Bryson

To me, the greatest invention of my lifetime is the laptop computer and the fact that I can be working on a book and be in an airport lounge, in a hotel room, and continue working; I fire up my laptop,...

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Bill Bryson

Very little of what America does is actually bad, and I don't think it ever does anything anywhere that is intentionally bad. I mean, sometimes we make mistakes and bad judgments and kind of back the wrong...

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Bill Bryson

Where I grew up, in Des Moines, Iowa, there is hardly any downtown economic activity now. Everybody shops in malls - you don't find a sense of community in malls.

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Bill Bryson

Yes, U.S. travelers dress better. The British are always so conspicuous in hot climates. They don't seem to wear shorts. American men seem to be comfortable wearing hot-weather clothing.

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Bill Bryson

You don't have to know anything about baseball to respond to Babe Ruth because he's just this magnificent human being. And a really good story because he was this kid who grew up essentially as an orphan,...

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Bill Bryson

Your pillow alone may be home to 40 million bed mites. (To them your head is just one large oily bon-bon). And don't think a clean pillow-case will make a difference... Indeed, if your pillow is six years...

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Bill Bryson

No one knows, incidentally, why Australia's spiders are so extravagantly toxic; capturing small insects and injecting them with enough poison to drop a horse would appear to be the most literal case of...

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Bill Bryson

The people are immensely likable— cheerful, extrovert, quick-witted, and unfailingly obliging. Their cities are safe and clean and nearly always built on water. They have a society that is prosperous,...

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Bill Bryson

You may not feel outstandingly robust, but if you are an average-sized adult you will contain within your modest frame no less than 7 X 10^18 joules of potential energy—enough to explode with the force...

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Bill Bryson

...if you were designing an organism to look after life in our lonely cosmos, to monitor where it is going and keep a record of where it has been, you wouldn't choose human beings for the job. But here's...

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Bill Bryson

Australians are very unfair in this way. They spend half of any conversation insisting that the country's dangers are vastly overrated and that there's nothing to worry about, and the other half telling...

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Bill Bryson

In my day, the principal concerns of university students were sex, smoking dope, rioting and learning. Learning was something you did only when the first three weren't available.

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Bill Bryson

It is a curious feature of our existance that we come from a planet that is very good at promoting life but even better at extinguishing it.

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Bill Bryson

I could spend my life arriving each evening in a new city.

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Bill Bryson

To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.

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Bill Bryson

The taipan is the one to watch out for. It is the most poisonous snake on Earth, with a lunge so swift and a venom so potent that your last mortal utterance is likely to be: "I say, is that a sn--

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Bill Bryson

There is always a little more toothpaste in the tube. Think about it.

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Bill Bryson

My first rule of travel is never to go to a place that sounds like a medical condition and Critz is clearly an incurable disease involving flaking skin.

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Bill Bryson

What this means in practice is that if you are not a born worrier you have nothing to worry about (though of course you wouldn't be worrying anyway), whereas if you are a worrier by nature there is absolutely...

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Bill Bryson

Perhaps it's my natural pessimism, but it seems that an awfully large part of travel these days is to see things while you still can.

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Bill Bryson

Geologists are never at a loss for paperweights.

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Bill Bryson

Language is more fashion than science, and matters of usage, spelling and pronunciation tend to wander around like hemlines.

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Bill Bryson

English grammar is so complex and confusing for the one very simple reason that its rules and terminology are based on Latin - a language with which it has precious little in common. In Latin, to take...

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Bill Bryson

For most of us the rules of English grammar are at best a dimly remembered thing. But even for those who make the rules, grammatical correctitude sometimes proves easier to urge than to achieve. Among...

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Bill Bryson

Those who sniff decay in every shift of sense or alteration of usage do the language no service. Too often for such people the notion of good English has less to do with expressing ideas clearly than with...

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Bill Bryson

As a rule of thumb, I would submit that if you need to call your floss provider, for any reason, you are probably not ready for this level of oral hygiene.

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Bill Bryson

To an American the whole purpose of living, the one constant confirmation of continued existence, is to cram as much as sensual pleasure as possible into one's mouth more or less continuously. Gratification,...

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Bill Bryson

It was an odd situation. For a century and a half, men got rid of their own hair, which was perfectly comfortable, and instead covered their heads with something foreign and uncomfortable. Very often it...

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Bill Bryson

As the saying goes, it takes all kinds to make the world go around, though perhaps some shouldn't go quite so far around it as others.

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Bill Bryson

If this book has a lesson, it is that we are awfully lucky to be here-and by 'we' I mean every living thing. To attain any kind of life in this universe of ours appears to be quite an achievement. As humans...

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Bill Bryson

My favourite fellow of the Royal Society is the Reverend Thomas Bayes, an obscure 18th-century Kent clergyman and a brilliant mathematician who devised a complex equation known as the Bayes theorem, which...

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Bill Bryson

It is always quietly thrilling to find yourself looking at a world you know well but have never seen from such an angle before.

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Bill Bryson

To my mind, the only possible pet is a cow. Cows love you. They will listen to your problems and never ask a thing in return. They will be your friends forever. And when you get tired of them, you can...

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Bill Bryson

I tell the kids that, even in a childhood marked by despair and deprivation, I knew that no matter what happened, I still had my family, or at least the remnants of a family ripped apart by divorce and...

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Bill Bryson

Christmas tree stands are the work of the devil and they want you dead.

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Bill Bryson

The human diet consists of just nine plants: corn, rice, wheat, potatoes, cassava, sorghum, millet, beans, barley, rye and oats.

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Bill Bryson

Physics is really nothing more than a search for ultimate simplicity, but so far all we have is a kind of elegant messiness.

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Bill Bryson

Every twenty minutes on the Appalachian Trail, Katz and I walked farther than the average American walks in a week. For 93 percent of all trips outside the home, for whatever distance or whatever purpose,...

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Bill Bryson

It's an unnerving thought that we may be the living universe's supreme achievement and its worst nightmare simultaneously.

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Bill Bryson

So, if people didn’t settle down to take up farming, why then did they embark on this entirely new way of living? We have no idea – or actually, we have lots of ideas, but we don’t know if any of...

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Bill Bryson

I became quietly seized with that nostalgia that overcomes you when you have reached the middle of your life and your father has recently died and it dawns on you that when he went he took some of you...

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Bill Bryson

For anyone of a rational disposition, fashion is often nearly impossible to fathom. Throughout many periods of history – perhaps most – it can seem as if the whole impulse of fashion has been to look...

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Bill Bryson

Traveling makes you realize what an immeasurably nice place much of America could be if only people possessed the same instinct for preservation as they do in Europe.

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Bill Bryson

I sat on a toilet watching the water run thinking what an odd thing tourism is. You fly off to a strange land, eagerly abandoning all the comforts of home and then expend vast quantities of time and money...

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Bill Bryson

Our instinct may be to see the impossibility of tracking everything down as frustrating, dispiriting, perhaps even appalling, but it can just as well be viewed as almost unbearably exciting. We live on...

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Bill Bryson

Taxonomy is described sometimes as a science and sometimes as an art, but really it’s a battleground.

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Bill Bryson

We are so used to the notion of our own inevitability as life's dominant species that it is hard to grasp that we are here only because of timely extraterrestrial bangs and other random flukes. The one...

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Bill Bryson

Because we humans are big and clever enough to produce and utilize antibiotics and disinfectants, it is easy to convince ourselves that we have banished bacteria to the fringes of existence. Don't you...

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Bill Bryson

The upshot of all this is that we live in a universe whose age we can't quite compute, surrounded by stars whose distances we don't altogether know, filled with matter we can't identify, operating in conformance...

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Bill Bryson

So here I am, my affections torn between a postal service that never feeds me but can tackle a challenge and one that gives me free tape and prompt service but won't help me out when I can't remember a...

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Bill Bryson

[The Royal Society] is quite simply the voice of science in Britain. It is intellectually rigorous, not afraid to be outspoken on controversial issues such as climate change, but it is not aggressively...

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Bill Bryson

Every atom you possess has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to becoming you. We are each so atomically numberous and so vigorously recycled...

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Bill Bryson

That's the trouble with losing your mind; by the time it's gone, it's too late to get it back.

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Bill Bryson

Think of a single problem confronting the world today. Disease, poverty, global warming... If the problem is going to be solved, it is science that is going to solve it. Scientists tend to be unappreciated...

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Bill Bryson

Because time moves more slowly in Kid World ... it goes on for decades ... It is adult life that is over in a twinkling.

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Bill Bryson

It was an especially wonderful time to be a noisy moron.

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Bill Bryson

I ordered a coffee and a little something to eat and savored the warmth and dryness. Somewhere in the background Nat King Cole sang a perky tune. I watched the rain beat down on the road outside and told...

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Bill Bryson

Germans are flummoxed by humor, the Swiss have no concept of fun, the Spanish think there is nothing at all ridiculous about eating dinner at midnight, and the Italians should never, ever have been let...

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Bill Bryson

At a conference of sociologists in America in 1977, love was defined as "the cognitive-affective state characterized by intrusive and obsessive fantasizing concerning reciprocity of amorant feelings by...

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Bill Bryson

Woods are not like other spaces. To begin with, they are cubic. Their trees surround you, loom over you, press in from all sides. Woods choke off views & leave you muddled & without bearings. They...

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Bill Bryson

Before, prior to. There is no difference between these two except length and a certain affectedness on the part of 'prior to.' To paraphrase Bernstein, if you would use 'posterior to' instead of 'after,'...

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Bill Bryson

I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.

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Bill Bryson

18th century scientists, the French in particular, seldom did things simply if an absurdly demanding alternative was available.

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Bill Bryson

But that's the glory of foreign travel, as far as I am concerned. I don't want to know what people are talking about. I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to...

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Bill Bryson

Traveling is more fun - hell, life is more fun - if you can treat it as a series of impulses.

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Bill Bryson

There is something about the momentum of travel that makes you want to just keep moving, to never stop.

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Bill Bryson

A significant fraction of thru-hikers reach Katahdin, then turn around and start back to Georgia. They just can't stop walking, which kind of makes you wonder.

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Bill Bryson

The food is excellent. The beer is cold. The sun nearly always shines. There is coffee on every corner. Life doesn’t get much better than this.

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Bill Bryson

Most of the time I am sunk in thought, but at some point on each walk there comes a moment when I look up and notice, with a kind of first-time astonishment, the amazing complex delicacy of the words,...

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Bill Bryson

I still enjoy traveling a lot. I mean, it amazes me that I still get excited in hotel rooms just to see what kind of shampoo they've left me.

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Bill Bryson

You can always tell a Midwestern couple in Europe because they will be standing on a traffic island in the middle of a busy intersection looking at a windblown map and arguing over which way is west. European...

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Bill Bryson

Every dog on the face of the earth wants me dead.

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Bill Bryson

After years of patient study (and with cricket there can be no other kind), I have decided that there is nothing wrong with the game that the introduction of golf carts wouldn't fix in a hurry.

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Bill Bryson

Every living thing is an elaboration of a single original plan. As humans we are mere increments - each of us a musty archive of adjustments, adaptations, modifications and providential tinkerings stretching...

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Bill Bryson

Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain--which is to say, all of it. Every last bit of it, good and bad--old churches, country lanes, people saying 'Mustn't...

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Bill Bryson

I do find London exciting. Much as I hate to agree with that tedious old git Samuel Johnson, and despite the pompous imbecility of his famous remark about when a man is tired of London he is tired of life...I...

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Bill Bryson

But I got a great deal else from the experience. I learned to pitch a tent and sleep beneath the stars. For a brief, proud period I was slender and fit. I gained a profound respect for the wilderness and...

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Bill Bryson

Take a moment from time to time to remember that you are alive. I know this sounds a trifle obvious, but it is amazing how little time we take to remark upon this singular and gratifying fact. By the most...

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Bill Bryson

In the morning I awoke early and experienced that sinking sensation that overcomes you when you first open your eyes and realize that instead of a normal day ahead of you, with its scatterings of simple...

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Bill Bryson

And before long there will be no more milk in bottles delivered to the doorstep or sleepy rural pubs, and the countryside will be mostly shopping centers and theme parks. Forgive me. I don't mean to get...

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Bill Bryson

We used to build civilizations. Now we build shopping malls.

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Bill Bryson

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...

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Bill Bryson

Disassemble the cells of a sponge (by passing them through a sieve, for instance), then dump them into a solution, and they will find their way back together and build themselves into a sponge again. You...

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Bill Bryson

As my father always used to tell me, 'You see, son, there's always someone in the world worse off than you.' And I always used to think, 'So?

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Bill Bryson

When you sit in a chair, you are not actually sitting there, but levitating above it at a height of one angstrom (a hundred millionth of a centimetre), your electrons and its electrons implacably opposed...

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Bill Bryson

Look at a globe and what you are seeing really is a snapshot of the continents as they have been for just one-tenth of 1 per cent of the earths history.

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Bill Bryson

It isn't easy to become a fossil. ... Only about one bone in a billion, it is thought, becomes fossilized. If that is so, it means that the complete fossil legacy of all the Americans alive today - that's...

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Bill Bryson

English grammar is so complex and confusing for the one very simple reason that its rules and terminology are based on Latin, a language with which it has precious little in common.

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Bill Bryson

Making English grammar conform to Latin rules is like asking people to play baseball using the rules of football.

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Bill Bryson

99.99 percent of all species that have ever lived are no longer with us.

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Bill Bryson

When you consider it from a human perspective, and clearly it would be difficult for us to do otherwise, life is an odd thing. It couldn't wait to get going, but then, having gotten going, it seemed in...

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Bill Bryson

Energy is liberated matter, matter is energy waiting to happen.

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Bill Bryson

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...

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Bill Bryson

What is it about maps? I could look at them all day, earnestly studying the names of towns and villages I have never heard of and will never visit...

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Bill Bryson

Most big companies don't like you very much, except hotels, airlines and Microsoft, which don't like you at all.

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Bill Bryson

Human beings would split the atom and invent television, nylon, and instant coffee before they could figure out the age of their own planet.

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Bill Bryson

Columbus real achievement was managing to cross the ocean successfully in both directions. Though an accomplished enough mariner, he was not terribly good at a great deal else, especially geography, the...

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Bill Bryson

Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life's quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic...

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Bill Bryson

Four times I was honked at for having the temerity to proceed through town without the benefit of metal.

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Bill Bryson

I mused for a few moments on the question of which was worse, to lead a life so boring that you are easily enchanted, or a life so full of stimulus that you are easily bored.

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Bill Bryson

At the foot of the mountain, the park ended and suddenly all was squalor again. I was once more struck by this strange compartmentalization that goes on in America -- a belief that no commercial activities...

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Bill Bryson

Black bears rarely attack. But here's the thing. Sometimes they do. All bears are agile, cunning and immensely strong, and they are always hungry. If they want to kill you and eat you, they can, and pretty...

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Bill Bryson

Everything seems to be designed for the benefit of the automobile and not the benefit of the human being.

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Bill Bryson

In three minutes, 98 percent of all the matter there is or will ever be has been produced. We have a universe

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Bill Bryson

The universe is not only queerer than we suppose; it is queerer than we can suppose

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Bill Bryson

Most of what has lived on Earth has left behind no record at all.

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Bill Bryson

Out of the thirty thousand types of edible plants thought to exist on Earth, just eleven—corn, rice, wheat, potatoes, cassava, sorghum, millet, beans, barley, rye, and oats—account for 93 percent of...

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Bill Bryson

For a long time it puzzled me how something so expensive, so leading edge, could be so useless. And then it occurred to me that a computer is a stupid machine with the ability to do incredibly smart things,...

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Bill Bryson

He had the sort of face that makes you realize God does have a sense of humor.

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Bill Bryson

It is not as if farming brought a great improvement in living standards either. A typical hunter-gatherer enjoyed a more varied diet and consumed more protein and calories than settled people, and took...

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Bill Bryson

Even though sugar was very expensive, people consumed it till their teeth turned black, and if their teeth didn't turn black naturally, they blackened them artificially to show how wealthy and marvelously...

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Bill Bryson

...and it occurred to me, with the forcefulness of a thought experienced in 360 degrees, that that's really what history mostly is: masses of people doing ordinary things.

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Bill Bryson

When the Duke [W.J.C. Scott-Bentinck] died, his heirs found all of the aboveground rooms devoid of furnishings except for one chamber in the middle of which sat the Duke's commode. The main hall was mysteriously...

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Bill Bryson

Eating in Sweden is really just a series of heartbreaks.

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Bill Bryson

Beulah has a husband?' I know. It's a miracle. There can't be more than two people on the planet who'd be willing to sleep with her, and here we are both in the same town.

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Bill Bryson

In terms of adaptability, humans are pretty amazingly useless.

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Bill Bryson

And I find chopsticks frankly distressing. Am I alone in thinking it odd that a people ingenious enough to invent paper, gunpowder, kites and any number of other useful objects, and who have a noble history...

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Bill Bryson

Still, I never really mind bad service in a restaurant. It makes me feel better about not leaving a tip.

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Bill Bryson

Protons give an atom its identity, electrons its personality.

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Bill Bryson

Consider the Lichen. Lichens are just about the hardiest visible organisms on Earth, but the least ambitious.

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Bill Bryson

It is not true that the English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavors look interesting and lively; that was merely an unintended side effect. ...It is the only sport that incorporates...

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Bill Bryson

When the poet Paul Valery once asked Albert Einstein if he kept a notebook to record his ideas, Einstein looked at him with mild but genuine surprise. "Oh, that's not necessary," he replied . "It's so...

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Bill Bryson

I was heading to Nebraska. Now there's a sentence you don't want to say too often if you can possibly help it.

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Bill Bryson

The tearoom lady called me love. All the shop ladies called me love and most of the men called me mate. I hadn't been here twelve hours and already they loved me.

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“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

― Dr. Seuss