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The Uncertain Sea: Fear is everywhere. Embrace it.
The Uncertain Sea: Fear is everywhere. Embrace it.
The Uncertain Sea: Fear is everywhere. Embrace it.
Audiobook1 hour

The Uncertain Sea: Fear is everywhere. Embrace it.

Written by Bonnie Tsui

Narrated by Stephanie Willing

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

4/5

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About this audiobook

Bonnie Tsui, the bestselling author of Why We Swim, a Time magazine Must-Read Book of 2020, writes about finding strength in the face of fear and uncertainty. Enlightening and inspiring, The Uncertain Sea is just the story most of us need right now.

Fear and uncertainty—emotions we’ve become all too familiar with this past year. From the pandemic to political upheaval to the recession to lurking environmental disasters, we’ve been battered by one unfathomable event after another, with more to come. How do we handle the emotional fallout from such traumas? How do we bounce back?

Bonnie Tsui tackles these big questions in The Uncertain Sea, her insightful look at fear and the many ways people handle it. Plagued by the anxiety she herself was feeling in 2020, she looked for guidance from an old friend whose very career would make most of us shudder. Ron Elliott is an underwater photographer specializing in sharks—in particular, the great whites of the Farallon Islands, off San Francisco, notorious for being one of the sharkiest spots on earth. Over the years, Elliott has had numerous close calls and was even attacked by a great white in 2018, nearly losing a hand. Yet still he returns to the water. Tsui wondered how Elliott managed risk and fear and what his resilience might teach the rest of us.

In her 2020 bestseller Why We Swim, Tsui—an accomplished swimmer and surfer—examines the cultural and biological aspects of our relationship to water. In The Uncertain Sea, she uses open water—and what lurks beneath the surface—as a metaphor to explore our psychological responses to the unknown. She draws on scientific research to better understand how and why fear manifests itself in humans, and frankly discusses her own deep-seated anxieties. She takes a thoughtful look at the movie Jaws, the blockbuster that cemented sharks in our collective unconscious as the symbol of all that is dangerous and scary. As a result, sharks—animals that are crucial to the food chain and present a statistically insignificant threat to people—have been threatened by overhunting. The fact that shark-liver oil is being used in developmental COVID vaccines that could save millions of lives adds to the dark irony of our shark mythology.

Throughout her narrative, Tsui turns back to her friend Ron Elliott, who, Buddha-like, finds his quiet center in the sharks’ cold, forbidding “living room.” He is comfortable with being uncomfortable; in fact, that’s how he finds his strength. It’s a lesson we all should learn.

“We are imperfect beings, teetering on a razor’s edge between reason and emotion,” Tsui writes. “What does resilience look like? Why do we embrace risk? My very human answer: We risk, sometimes a lot, so that we can seek joy.”

LanguageEnglish
Release dateMar 2, 2021
ISBN9781094412917
Author

Bonnie Tsui

Bonnie Tsui is a longtime contributor to The New York Times and the author of American Chinatown, a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller that won the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Her most recent book, Why We Swim, was published in April 2020; it was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, a Time magazine Must-Read Book of 2020, an NPR Best Book of 2020, and is currently being translated into five languages. Her first children’s book, Sarah and the Big Wave, about the first woman to surf Northern California’s renowned Mavericks, will be published in May 2021. She lives, surfs, and swims in the Bay Area.

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Reviews for The Uncertain Sea

Rating: 4.033834586466165 out of 5 stars
4/5

266 ratings15 reviews

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Hmm everything this writer writes about is exactly everything that I'm always speaking about and tend to sound like a broken record . Humm if I would ever exchange insights with this writer.. I'm surprised she doesn't write about how mankind should practice more of a vegetarian diet..
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    This book is fantastic and engaging. I listened to it in one go.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    It is more on like documentary about fear and the sea. It is quite good.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Informative and insightful, while at an easily-consumable in a single setting size.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    An essay on that most primeval of all human emotions--fear of the unknown. The author relates a diver's encounters with sharks as well as her experience of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2021 in the U.S.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    The Audiobook is short, sweet and insightful. I learn a lot.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    It was great ,it made me think of instances in my own life it was very uplifting very interesting a tad comical I loved it
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Great little piece, relevant to the current climate and Stoic philosophy (it's buried but it's in there). I couldn't help but laugh when the narrator pronounced Scribd wrong tho.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Great book topic and it was cover well for me. It made me think about our lives today and the implications of fear.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Thought-provoking. A very good story and excellent writing. I took a number of notes for a piece I'm writing about the value of getting out of our comfort zones.

    1 person found this helpful

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Thought provoking, well read, timely. I want to share this message with many other people. Inspirational!

    1 person found this helpful

  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    2/5
    Interesting concept but failed to really connect. The host also quoted other authors excessively and sometimes failed to connect points. Otherwise interesting the first half but boring second half.

    1 person found this helpful

  • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    1/5
    It felt like the author focused more on the story and, to a lesser extent, politics rather than the elaboration of the ideas they were presenting.

    2 people found this helpful

  • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    1/5
    Nobody cares about the pandemic. Just stop pushing fear. Go wear your mask if that's what you want. This book is struggling HARD to be any sort of relevant.

    1 person found this helpful

  • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    1/5
    Nicely written but unfortunately finished it off with too much pandemic angst, white supremacy, and other alternative reality fears

    3 people found this helpful