This is the epic story of the universe and our place in it, from 13.8 billion years ago to the remote future
How did we get from the Big Bang to today’s staggering complexity, in which seven billion humans are connected into networks powerful enough to transform the planet? And why, in comparison, are our closest primate relatives reduced to near-extinction?
Big History creator David Christian gives the answers in a mind-expanding cosmological detective story told on the grandest possible scale. He traces how, during eight key thresholds, the right conditions have allowed new forms of complexity to arise, from stars to galaxies, Earth to homo sapiens, agriculture to fossil fuels. This last mega-innovation gave us an energy bonanza that brought huge benefits to mankind, yet also threatens to shake apart everything we have created.
This global origin story is one that we could only begin to tell recently, thanks to the underlying unity of modern knowledge. Panoramic in scope and thrillingly told, Origin Story reveals what we learn about human existence when we consider it from a universal scale.
If you read one book this year, make it this one — Fareed Zakaria, CNN
A journey through billions of years that nails home the point: Life is a miracle … [A] remarkably cogent and compelling history of everything ― Washington Post
Rather like the Big Bang, the book is awe-inspiring. The processes it describes are all familiar, but I’d never seen them explained with such clarity and verve … Superb — Gerard Degroot ― The Times
[Origin Story is] long-haul science with wit and oomph ― Nature
Christian tells this story very well, providing, in effect, a short course in modern science. This is a brief history of the universe, and an excellent one ― Wall Street Journal
I have long been a fan of David Christian. In Origin Story, he elegantly weaves evidence and insights from many scientific and historical disciplines into a single, accessible historical narrative — Bill Gates
In Origin Story, David Christian has found a spectacular way to use history to put order in the entire set of our knowledge about the world. This is a wonderful achievement — Carlo Rovelli ― author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and The Order of Time
Origin Story is a majestic distillation of our current understanding of the birth of the universe, of the solar system, of the oceans, of mountains and minerals, of all life on earth and of the driving dynamics of human culture and achievement. All of this in just over 300 pages of captivating prose that weaves together innumerable insights from the sciences, arts and humanities. With fascinating ideas on every page and the page turning energy of a good thriller, this is a landmark work that comes at a time when it has never been more important for humanity to have a clearer, more informed understanding of our place on earth and of the earth’s place in the cosmos. A spellbinding synthesis — Ken Robinson ― educator and bestselling author of The Element and You, Your Child and School
A remarkable book that puts us self-important humans in our proper place in the cosmos, yet also explains why the story of human culture and knowledge – what Christian calls collective learning – matters for understanding our present world and shaping its future — Merry Wiesner-Hanks, President of the World History Association
About the Author
David Christian is a distinguished professor in history at Macquarie University in Australia and the co-founder, with Bill Gates, of The Big History Project, which has built a free online syllabus on the history of the universe and is taught in schools all over the world. He is also co-creator of Macquarie University Big History School, which provides online courses in big history for primary and high school students. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford. He has delivered keynotes at conferences around the world including at the Davos World Economic Forum, and his TED Talk on the history of the Universe has been viewed over 7 million times.