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  • The Reality Bubble

  • Blind Spots, Hidden Truths, and the Dangerous Illusions That Shape Our World
  • Written by: Ziya Tong
  • Narrated by: Ziya Tong
  • Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Science & Engineering, Science
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (111 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize

From one of the world's most engaging science journalists, a groundbreaking and wonder-filled look at the hidden things that shape our lives in unexpected and sometimes dangerous ways.

Our naked eyes see only a thin sliver of reality.

We are blind in comparison to the X-rays that peer through skin, the mass spectrometers that detect the dead inside the living, or the high-tech surveillance systems that see with artificial intelligence.

And we are blind compared to the animals that can see in infrared, or ultraviolet, or in 360-degree vision. These animals live in the same world we do, but they see something quite different when they look around.

With all of the curiosity and flair that drives her broadcasting, Ziya Tong illuminates this hidden world and takes us on a journey to examine 10 of humanity's biggest blind spots.

First, we are introduced to the blind spots we are all born with, to see how technology reveals an astonishing world that exists beyond our human senses. It is with these new ways of seeing that today's scientists can image everything from an atom to a black hole.

In section two, our collective blind spots are exposed. It's not that we can't see, Tong reminds us. It's that we don't. In the 21st century, there are cameras everywhere, except where our food comes from, where our energy comes from, and where our waste goes. Being in the dark when it comes to how we survive makes it impossible to navigate our future.

Lastly, the scope widens to our civilizational blind spots. Here, the blurred lens of history reveals how we inherit ways of thinking about the world that seem natural or inevitable but are in fact little more than traditions, ways of seeing the world that have come to harm it.

This vitally important new book shows how science, and the curiosity that drives it, can help civilization flourish by opening our eyes to the landscape laid out before us. Fast-paced, utterly fascinating, and deeply humane, The Reality Bubble gives voice to the sense we've all had - that there is more to the world than meets the eye.

©2019 Ziya Tong (P)2019 Allen Lane

What the critics say

“In a time of mounting global crisis, the kind of radical curiosity that fills this book - a commitment to probing the unseen, unknowable, and unthinkable - has become essential to our survival. In Ziya Tong's hands, we learn that it can be joyous, too, with thrilling facts, questions, and juxtapositions on every page. A kaleidoscopic guide to everything we're missing.” (Naomi Klein)

“This book will tear through your preconceptions like a meteor through space. Ziya Tong is a wonderfully erudite companion on a tour of reality, from the very smallest to the size of the universe and everything in between. It’s an incredibly illuminating and challenging but ultimately empowering book, and reading it delivers a shock almost on the level as when Neo took the red pill in The Matrix. Prepare to have your bubble well and truly burst.” (Rowan Hooper, New Scientist)

The Reality Bubble grabs your metaphoric lapels and rattles your mental cage. Page after page, Ziya Tong provides clear lenses for looking at the world, and entertainingly insists we use them - like, now, please. If you don’t want to destabilize your conceptions of space, time, biology, and geography, I suggest you back away slowly.” (Adam Rogers, WIRED)

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What listeners say about The Reality Bubble

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this book was a bittersweet and very entertaining

The amount of research is mind boggling. This book is a beautifully packaged reality check for the planet at the eleventh hour.

4 people found this helpful

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A great book on the importance of perspective

I really enjoyed this book. Though a bit repetitive, this book is thought-provoking an interesting with little nuggets and factoids even on topics I thought I knew inside out. It bounces back and forth but given the subject matter, I didn't mind the fluidity from subject to subject. Despite how grim some of the topics get, there is something slightly uplifting in the book and its end helps put into perspective our unique positions and roles.

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Great listen. 10/10

Narrator was great, very well written. Several chapters taught me a great deal. Highly recommend!

3 people found this helpful

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LOVED this book!

I've listened to this book three times. Not only is it full of interesting and awe-inspiring information about the world, it is exceptionally well-written and the narrator (the author) is the best I've heard in any audible book - expressive, upbeat, beautiful tone to her voice. I loved it and would recommend it to any thinking person who wants to gain a deeper and broader perspective on life and the world around us.

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A must read for all

Both entertaining and insightful, the Reality Bubble is a great read. Life is not always as you see it, and Ziya Tong does a great job of peeling back the layers of reality. Filled with valuable insights into what’s really going on and why we think the way we do, this book will open your eyes to a whole new reality.

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Perspective

We can all use a shift in perspective, and this book is entirely about that. While those with personal interests and experience in the sciences, philosophy, etc. may find many of the concepts discussed are not new, there are enough novel considerations, recombinations, and turns of phrase to keep this fresh and interesting for anyone.
I generally prefer references to be from primary literature/peer reviewed journals, and noticed a lot of reference to other‘s books/articles here; however, based on the scope of this book and noting that it remains consistent with the actual science in the cases I can comment on directly, the author gets a pass for being appropriately selective.
Overall: recommend!

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Epic

This is one of the top life changing books to read in our age.
Business as usual? No thanks.

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where is the emergency brake?

I thought the book was well written and well narrated also. Unfortunately, I also found it deeply disturbing. Undoubtably that was the effect the author was going for and she achieved it profoundly!

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very interesting overview

interesting book but a great overview of various topics, from philosophy of science to climate change. Not at all a hard book. Possible a bit boring for those with good overall knowledge in science but with some interesting chapters even for those.

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This is the most important book to hear right now

This book was extremely well written and planned. Everything that is said in the book came from a very factual perspective and is 100% relevant to our current times. It is so important to understand our role on earth and in mankind! There were a few spots in the book where the information was overwhelming, but I'm convinced this was the case because it was challenging my worldviews and asking me to be more open minded about how the world is currently operating. Recommend this to anyone living on earth right now.

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  • astrid
  • 2019-08-06

It kept blowing my mind

This is a must read. It makes you think about your own humanity and our interconnectedness. How the author managed to weave dense, scientific, physical and metaphysical themes in one clear narrative is beyond me.
I want to know more about the process of writing this book; it’s a masterpiece.

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  • P. Lio
  • 2019-07-13

Thought provoking

This is an interesting book. It is sort of a pop science take on a number of subjects, roughly at the level of Scientific American. I didn’t learn anything revelatory, and I wasn’t exactly sure what the over arching theme was beyond just better seeing the world, but I still liked it and it did reinforce some ideas and broaden my knowledge within. I feel like for a break high school student this would be mind blowing!

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  • kw
  • 2020-02-25

Easy to enjoy

Too fun to be non- fiction A lot of interesting stories laced with facts, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how interesting stuff( you didn’t want to think or read about) can be. A friendly voice, should be a school required reading. No one could be disappointed after reading, it’s just that good and you’ll feel important, inspired and ready to improve your world.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-11-03

depressing yet motivating lol

a great call to action. unwraps so many complex topics clearly. it kept me hooked

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  • harrow
  • 2019-07-08

fantastic. like science? you will love this.

ziya weaves an encompassing web of pre-history, history, perception, where all of that puts us as a species, and what we're looking at if we continue this course. everyone should listen to this.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-06-26

Some chapters are downright chilling.

I had to take a break and contemplate some chapters. Well read and written. Very eye opening.