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5.0 out of 5 stars An EXCELLENT read!
Rarely has a book engrossed me so much.
Well written, well structured, and easy to understand.
Illuminating one of the many mysteries of our universe.
Published 19 months ago by David Irvine

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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More like the Golden Bore
What a depressing book this turned out to be. I thought a book about the "golden section" would have been interesting but in the hands of Mario Livio it is pure pain. To give a few examples... The author discusses the theory that the golden ratio was used by the builders of the pyramids and refutes it easily. And then continues to refute it for page after page. Then he...
Published on 3 April 2004 by Thomas Paul


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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More like the Golden Bore, 3 April 2004
By 
Thomas Paul (Plainview, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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What a depressing book this turned out to be. I thought a book about the "golden section" would have been interesting but in the hands of Mario Livio it is pure pain. To give a few examples... The author discusses the theory that the golden ratio was used by the builders of the pyramids and refutes it easily. And then continues to refute it for page after page. Then he does the same thing with the Parthenon, destroying the theory using the exact same reasons he used for the pyramid, explaining them in the same level of detail. But he isn't done yet. We get to have the same discussion again when we look at Renaissance paintings. I didn't really care about the discussion when discussing the pyramids but by the time I heard the argument for the third time I was ready to find something else to read. As he discusses the history of the golden section he goes into side trips to discuss anyone who had even the slightest relationship with phi. Anyone who has never heard of Kepler may find this interesting even if it is irrelevant to phi but I just started skimming pages hoping for something a little meatier. There is a little spark here and there that kept me reading hoping for more but more never arrived. A writer with a greater interest in the mathematics of phi could have made this a fun and interesting book. Livio seems to think the math is boring so he avoids it like the plague and creates a book that completely misses the point and ends up being a total bore.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An EXCELLENT read!, 24 Dec 2012
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Rarely has a book engrossed me so much.
Well written, well structured, and easy to understand.
Illuminating one of the many mysteries of our universe.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Biography of a Number, 28 Dec 2009
By 
S. Wilton - See all my reviews
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In this book Mario Livio writes the detailed story of the most irrational of all numbers.
To help with later chapters he writes a bit of basic number origin in the opening chapters; he then progresses onto where this number, phi, has been reportedly shown to appear in ancient buildings.
He then takes a spiralling journey with the book through some classical mathematics (The 13 Elements) through to Leonardo of Pisa (Fibonacci). He dwells here for a while as there are some interesting aspects of recreational mathematics that link phi and the Fibonacci Sequence; for example the sequence creates a spiral approaching the logarithmic spiral produced by phi.
He then finishes up with some 'real-world' examples where phi has shown up in recent times, like the structure of quasi-crystals.

The material inside shouldn't be challenging for any reader and the content wont be found on any traditional maths degree course (and a far sight more interesting - I should know as I am a Maths Undergrad).

In short an excellent entry level popular science book which is well worth a read for this price.
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