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Publisher's Summary

A unique fusion of philosophy and metaphysics set against the backdrop of contemporary culture. Have you ever wondered if the world is really there when you're not looking? We tend to take the reality of our world very much for granted. This book will lead you down the rabbit hole in search of something we can point to, hang our hats on, and say this is real.

Along the way Jim Baggott presents the important arguments concerning the nature reality as examined by the world's greatest thinkers from the philosophers of ancient Greece to modern scientists and social theorists and takes on materialism, perception, and progress in a refreshingly new and entertaining way.

©2009 Jim Baggot (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

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A real great listen on the nature of reality

In last five or so years that I have been listening to audio books, I have chosen to listen to several nonfiction books on philosopy and even more on science, learning from all and enjoying most. Today I finished A Beginner's Guide to Reality by Jim Baggott and have decided that it is the best of those listens in which the author tried to reconcile science and philosophy as methods of determing what is real and what is not. Baggott develops his discussion chronologically by beginning with Sccrates, Plato, and Aristotle's explanations of reality. He furthers follows the philosophical discussions of this topic through the recent contributors. He makes these discussions interesting by illustrating using pop icons like the movie, "The Matrix." As building a continuum between philosophy and science, he discusses scientists earliest efforts to define what is reaal and follows their changing positions on the subject through the most recent arguments for modified string theory and that elusive "Theory of Everything." I highly recommend this listen to anyone for whom reality is still a mystery worth solving.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Somebody... Quick... get me outta the rabbit hole!

What did you love best about A Beginner’s Guide to Reality?

I love the perspectives entertained in this unusual and profound audio. The first listening was awesome... listening to it the second time has caused me to consider how a third listening could, maybe, reveal the way out of the rabbit hole this book helped my perspectives slide down into.

Who was your favorite character and why?

All of the scientists and philosophers mentioned in "A Beginner's Guide to Reality" are my favorite characters.

What does Victor Bevine bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Reading the book would have been difficult, for me, because I'd still be reading the thing due to its thought-provoking nature. I'd simply have to bookmark most chapters so I could read the works of every one of the great thinkers mentioned in this book as well as watch the entire Matrix series again before I picked up where I left off.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

The Lemon experiment. I did what was suggested (get a lemon, and involve all my senses by seeing it, tasting it, smelling it, touching it, and listening to the song about it as suggested by the author... & etc.). Then, of course, I squeezed the thing into a glass of water and drank it afterwards just for fun.

Any additional comments?

Everything I heard while listening to Victor Bevine's narration of Jim Baggott's work, "A Beginner's Guide to Reality," was to some degree or another relatively mind-gripping to the point where I'm not so sure that what I perceive is/was/will be really... uh... REAL. How exciting

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Brett
  • Charlotte, NC, United States
  • 07-02-14

More Quantum Physics than I wanted to Hear

This book had two distinct parts.

The first part, which I found very interesting, was a historical account of the philosophical arguments about reality. I think that I had heard most of these at one time or the other, but this author did an excellent job summarizing and tying them together.

The second part of the book I found less interesting. It was mostly a scientific discussion of quantum mechanics and other theories.

I suppose that the author intended to show that in these details of science we are back to the same old philosophical arguments that we couldn't answer before. This was an interesting argument but all of the details of all the science (e.g., quantum entanglement) started to bore me.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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First half was painful and the ending unhelpful

What did you like best about A Beginner’s Guide to Reality? What did you like least?

There were a couple of interesting ideas in the book.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The coverage of physics was ok, but superficial (probably necessarily given the format and audience).

What does Victor Bevine bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narration was nicely done - smooth and natural.

Do you think A Beginner’s Guide to Reality needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Please, no.

Any additional comments?

I found the discussion of philosophy to be tedious and circular - I nearly quit listening a couple of times - but I dislike philosophy. If you have different interests your mileage may vary.

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  • Michael
  • EASLEY, SC, United States
  • 08-02-14

Nothing "Beginner's" about it, if you're not a PhD

What did you like best about A Beginner’s Guide to Reality? What did you like least?

Solid science, but I feel the book was purposely mislabeled to make more sales.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

There is no beginning or ending. It's a doctoral dissertation.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Not applicable

Could you see A Beginner’s Guide to Reality being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No

Any additional comments?

Too much depth even for a science nerd like myself.

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Not what I thought it was going to be about.

Would you listen to A Beginner???s Guide to Reality again? Why?

No. The author is obsessed with the movie "The Matrix" and makes a lot of comparisons to different aspects of the movie. I found that very tedious.

Would you recommend A Beginner???s Guide to Reality to your friends? Why or why not?

No. Not unless they were also obsessed with "The Matrix".

Any additional comments?

First of all...I don't like this format for reviewing. I would rather say what I want without being structured. <br /> <br />The book was not so much about questioning reality as it was our perception of reality. I thought it was going to be a bit more philosophical. An example would be our monetary system. Money is printed on paper. It's value is determined and we all abide by the decision that each has it's own value...so that's our reality. Blah.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful