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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)

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.

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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!

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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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A book everyone the world over should read.

Provides a view of our blind spots and a more realistic perspective that is not so erogante. It provides some insight on the worlds true questions we should pose and seek answers to and work towards solving. It also provides an interesting view of science for those that may be skeptical.

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  • 2022-03-07

Learned every minute of it

What a fascinating listen. I'll never think the same about electricity, meat, ownership, time, sight, space, pollution and so many other topics of every day life. I got this on sale or included in membership, but would be well worth full price or credit. It's an enlightening education on biological, societal and civilizational blind spots.

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exquisite

this is a book that will make you think. it reminds us of the destructive nature of humanity upon the natural world. it warns us of the impending catastrophe that humanity is heading towards if we do not collectively change course. it is eloquently written and highly informative. and I like that it was read by the author, that's always a nice touch.

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Human senses are limited. Learnings compensate.

Awesome book!
Through evolution, we humans now have the ability to "see", "hear", "taste", "smell" and "touch". These are the only signals that we can detect. Within that spec, we are limited.
Each of these human senses has been optimized for the survival of our species. Any more sensitivity to these signals would go against Darwinian principles.

Our mind allows us to peek beyond our senses. This book does this.
This is the only review / comment on the web that I have ever done.
Aubrey

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Stay on Topic!!

The book starts out interesting enough, discussing how we perceive reality from a human perspective.. but then out of nowhere it switches into an environmental awareness platform discussing the meat industry, environmental sustainability and general problems with the human impact on the planet.
The rest of the book reads like collection of Google searches on a myriad of topics.

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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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  • bill cain
  • 2022-04-07

This book should be a mandatory school read!

I listened to the book nearly nonstop! The information shared and oration we're fantastic!

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  • Beau
  • 2021-06-20

Apocalypse

I like how Ziya Tong structured the books and how she weave in and out topics and tied bow around it at end of chapter. Listening to this books was like watching a Adam Curtis documentary but her ideas were succinct and without all the repetition.

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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.