Get a free audiobook

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes
Written by: Adam Rutherford
Narrated by: Adam Rutherford
Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (57 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

A National Geographic Best Book of the Year  

In our unique genomes, every one of us carries the story of our species - births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration, and a lot of sex. 

But those stories have always been locked away - until now. 

Who are our ancestors? Where did they come from? Geneticists have suddenly become historians, and the hard evidence in our DNA has completely upended what we thought we knew about ourselves. Acclaimed science writer Adam Rutherford explains exactly how genomics is completely rewriting the human story - from 100,000 years ago to the present.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2016 Adam Rutherford (P)2018 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    44
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    44
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    39
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very informative. I loved listening

The author took on quite a task with the book. He made the book clear and offered a lot of real-world examples I would recommend this book to any who is curious about our origins.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely brilliant

A concise and easy to understand history of humanity in the genetic and historical sense!

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully written and narrated

This is science writing at its best. The language is approachable and clear for the layman like me to follow and understand. This book held my interest from the start and I enjoyed it and learned much from it. We need more Adam Rutherfords to explain and demystify science when headlines are crowded with myths, lies and superficialities that can only lead to ignorance and know nothingness. Professor Rutherford, may we have some more, please?

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating listen!

The author has written a book on a complex topic(s) and manages to make it accessible to everyone. His reading voice is superb, his findings and explanations are clear and concise. Our genes tell stories we have previously misunderstood, until Adam Rutherford explains.I look forward to future books by this author.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A foray onto pseudoscience

Adam Rutherford here in this book has managed to bring history, genetics and overall science of existence together to form a comprehensive treatise for every reader out there irrespective of their educational backgrounds. Moreover, the rational assault brought about on pseudoscience and incorrect interpretation of facts is dealt with clinical precision . In the times of alternative facts it is refreshing to see such clean demonstration of complete reliance on scientific knowledge.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Engrossing. Beautifully read.

An enlightening and delightful step on the road to understanding the human phenomenon. "O, what a tangled web we weave"

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robert Blais
  • 2019-04-24

DETAILED BUT ENTERTAINING

This book contains far more technical data about DNA and genetics than the average person would need. However it was very enlightening for scientific, social and historical ramifications. At times the author became carried away with philosophical issues but he presented this in a very clever and sometimes comical way. I finished the book much better informed about the science of genetics then when I started this is always a good thing. Of particular note is that the author / narrator did an excellent job and added familiarity and humor that was much appreciated.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • melody sheldon
  • 2019-03-31

I wish this book was in American high schools.<br /><br />

This book along with "Guns, Germs and Steel", would be the death of American racism.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • DNA Diva
  • 2019-03-01

Both entertaining and informative

Adam uses wonderful analogies and has a very engaging, humorous writing (and speaking) style. As a scientist, I appreciated the details and evidence that was presented.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Elina
  • 2019-07-27

Good, interesting, could be shorter

The book is good but would have benefited from being less lengthy. Some repetitions over too many hours - 12+. Nevertheless, it offers interesting facts, ideas, and perspectives

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Maui Diver
  • 2019-07-05

A brilliant description of modern human genetics

There are numerous books on human genetics. This is one of the very best. Clearly written, the science well explained, examples and analogies bring the incredibly complex subject of genetics into understandable focus. The data is current and leaves an excited expectation for future developments.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Wanderlusting
  • 2018-10-17

too much politics and idealistic ranting

most of the chapters are excellent however towards the second half of the book he starts getting a bit political and goes on a few rants. he also contradicts himself a couple times against things you said in the first half of the book.. lots of potential I really enjoyed the genetic milk drinking tolerance chapter and sections on Ancient DNA.

17 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mark Gunn
  • 2019-02-22

Content drifted away from title, but worth a read

Author was an excellent narrator and did a fabulous job of explaining some of the more complex elements of genetics.

The content didn't exactly follow the scope promised in the title, with a lot of side trips into the author's opinions on commercial genetic services, scientific principles, Christianity, creationism, etc not much of which, helped advance the explanation of our genetic history and seemed more of a soapbox for the author to take a shot at things he didn't like, but despite this, I think it's worth a read.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Charles K. Ackerman
  • 2019-12-20

Sit back and listen to the sweep of human history

Rutherford does a great job of summing up the pieces of human biological history. He weaves together lots of facts and observations that add to a detailed picture of the sweep and pageantry.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Phil Queeg
  • 2019-11-13

Hey, forget "everyone;" this is about me.

This is a very disappointing book which is not about the history of everyone who ever lived. The book seems to be a series of recycled news articles put together by the author which are vaguely connected to genetics or platforms for smarmy, politically correct sermons. Should be a great favorite for St. Beto. Rutherford seems to a strong candidate for the Justin Trudeau Award for prissiness and self-absorption, full of “victims 'r' us” stories. The reader, who confusingly has the same name as the author, has a very strong German accent and exaggerated Teutonic mannerisms which become extremely annoying over time. If you have a three digit IQ, I suggest Prof. Reich's wonderful book on the supposed subject of this poor effort.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • danee
  • 2018-11-07

So tedious and boring.

I love genetics and origin stories but this was so boring and tedious I couldn’t make it through. A few small pieces sounded so interesting bet fell flat.

3 of 10 people found this review helpful