This New York Times bestseller “elegantly weaves evidence and insights . . . into a single, accessible historical narrative” (Bill Gates) and presents a captivating history of the universe — from the Big Bang to dinosaurs to mass globalization and beyond.
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 looking at the full span of time change the way we perceive the universe, the earth, and our very existence?
These were the questions David Christian set out to answer when he created the field of “Big History,” the most exciting new approach to understanding where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. In Origin Story, Christian takes readers on a wild ride through the entire 13.8 billion years we’ve come to know as “history.” By focusing on defining events (thresholds), major trends, and profound questions about our origins, Christian exposes the hidden threads that tie everything together — from the creation of the planet to the advent of agriculture, nuclear war, and beyond.
With stunning insights into the origin of the universe, the beginning of life, the emergence of humans, and what the future might bring, Origin Story boldly reframes our place in the cosmos.
"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
"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
"David Christian is not one for half measures. Origin Story is a majestic distillation of our current understanding of the birth and development 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 dozens of disciplines in 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 as a whole to have a clearer, more informed understanding of our place on earth and of the earth's place in the cosmos."—Sir Ken Robinson, author of The Element
"Mr. 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."
—The Wall St. Journal
"The most powerful example of interdisciplinary scholarship that I know of."