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on 27 July 2007
One should take the title serious, it is very much a beginner's guide. If you are not an absolute beginner to the field of speculation about reality you may find it a bit disappointing. Well I did. It is not actually bad. He writes a nice colloquial style, has a lot of cool references to cool films (like the Matrix, if you didn't guess from the cover art), and he ambitiously takes on the task of presenting a introductory glimpse into a field which spans sociology, psychology, various strands of philosophy: classic, analytic, and continental, and even modern physics with a big dollop of quantum mechanics.
Truly impressive to pack all of that into one book with less than 250 pages.

Why wasn't I impressed then? The book comes in three parts, starting with social reality, he works his way down to personal reality, to final reach out for the physical reality. Or actually he keeps reaching out for the unreality of it all. What looks like a intersting slide into the innermost secrets of the universe doesn't really work though, because the questions and problems raised by social reality don't actually lead to question and problems of personal reality, and the questions and problems of the consciousness don't lead up to problems of quantum mechanics. Would reversing the order have helped. I am not sure. In the end all he does is to list some of the theories and arguments generally discussed about each of the three levels of reality.
Anyway, the biggest problem is that he obviously a physicist who only feels really comfortable in the last part of the book, but even then unfortunately whenever it gets interesting and more involved he just keeps talking about the discussion rather than introducing the reader to it. I guess it would have made the book less small and easy going to try that. But then, he also simply is not the best possible explainer of complicated things. So expect to be edutained rather than educated, you may find you gained some interest in the end but unlikely to get some real insights. The danger, as with all edutainment, might be that one actually thinks one had learned something and only later discovers that one has barely scratched the surface.

Overall, as a point of first contact, it probably does a good job of introducing people to some of the concepts out there and get them interested in the discussion. If you have already made first contact, I'd suggest keep searching for something that provides a bit more intellectual nourishment.
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on 20 February 2007
I was very impressed with this book - i am not a huge reader of books but have a real interest in philosophy, and thought/thinking in general.

Jim Baggott has produced a throughly interesting read here in his book, using everyday situations and things we take for granted and very simply put them down, questioning the 'norm'.

I like his humour and personal facts he puts on the bottom of various pages, keeping u interested and wanting to read on..

I had many problems and crazy thoughts about how we live our lives, and the way the world works in general, and i thought we are not really living at all, rather just playing a role in someone elses game.. and to read this book made me smile with evey page, and i had constant 'of course' thoughts with almost every statment - to sum it up, anyone wanting a crash course on beginners philosophy will be very happy and satisfied with this fantastic little book filled with wisdom.

10/10 for sure.
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on 26 May 2009
Stand by to have your version of Reality challenged. Excellent book written in laymans terms but addresses the subject in economic (not boring), scientific and philosophical viewpoints that leave you wondering and thinking is anything real? I have bought this book for friends and relatives and sat back for the onslaught of discussion - terrific!
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on 16 October 2009
This book really does deliver what it says on the cover, I have been interested in spirituality, reality and metaphysics for a few years now, this book is very easy to read and offers a great introduction to the world as it is. But that's about it, a very basic introduction, there is no new ideas to be found here, I didn't get very much out of this book. If you have no understanding off physics, metaphysics or the general existing ideas about reality it might be a good start. If you have already heard of Plato, Kant or Einstein and the ideas they have put forward in the past you probably wont get too much out of this book.
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on 17 October 2014
Really enjoyed this book, it gets you thinking without being too heavy.
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on 30 September 2007
This book was so intriguing and interesting on every page... it really made the philosophical ideas very clear and accessible, and was very useful in researching my philosophy papers.
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on 25 October 2010
The book arrived promptly and in excellent condition. I found it very interesting and took it on holiday. Within a week, pages started to separate from the binding and the book eventually fell apart, which was disappointing as I would have liked to have kept it for future reading.
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