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# The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World's Most Astonishing Number: The Story of Phi, the World's Most Astonishing Number

by
Mario Livio (Goodreads Author)

The first book for the layperson on a mathematical relationship that has obsessed mathematicians, philosophers, scientists, and artists since ancient Greece--an omnipresent number considered to be "divine."

Hardcover, 294 pages

Published
September 1st 2003
by Turtleback Books
(first published 2002)

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## Community Reviews

(showing
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3,000)

This book shows how many people have read far too much into Phi (1.6180339887 ...) [The Golden Ratio]. The author shows how, Phi is prevalent in nature, but it is not magically so. Phi's prevalence is due simple to the nature...more

I'm not a platonist. I don't look at concepts made up by humans and say those describe things humans see so they must have a magical relationship to truth. I actually weirdly assume when people make things up those things should be related to what is true so it is a given they will relate to true things.

there were parts of this th...more

Mar 15, 2011
Woodge
rated it
4 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
mathematics,
non-fiction

Here I go all math geeky again. I picked up this slim book (about 250 pages) a couple years ago and then I started thinking about it and felt compelled to read it. (Voices in my head. You know.) The golden ratio, or phi (pronounced "fee"), was first discovered by Euclid (remember him from geometry class?). Somewhere around 300 B.C. Euclid--

YOU: Whoa-whoa-whoa, wait a minute, Woodge... you actually read another book about math. For fun?! Are you for real?

WOODGE: Yeah, you TV Guide-reading eejit!...more

YOU: Whoa-whoa-whoa, wait a minute, Woodge... you actually read another book about math. For fun?! Are you for real?

WOODGE: Yeah, you TV Guide-reading eejit!...more

This book is more numerology. The author creates loose and thin parallels to Phi, then refutes them. This happens repeatedly throughout the book.

The great pyramids might be built based on a ratio similar to phi. Oh, no, maybe not.

Oh, these painting might contain phi built into some of the geometry. Oh, wait, nope. They don't. The artist didn't even know what phi is.

The content makes no sense.

The author goes into lengthy sidebars about art and...more

I'll admit it's not very catchy, but it...more

When Livio does manage to address phi directly, he does so by debu...more

**"La sezione aurea" ovvero "Opere famose che non hanno nulla a che spartire con ɸ"**

Non è mia abitudine lasciare da parte un libro, ma quando è troppo, è troppo.

La storia di ɸ, un numero irrazionale che vale 1,618..., e del suo sorprendente ricorrere negli ambiti più svariati, è un argomento che ben si sarebbe prestato alla stesura di un saggio valido.

Quello di Mario Livio mi ricorda vagamente un trattato esoterico un po' fuori luogo, in cui gli appassionati di ɸ (categoria di cui lui, per fortuna,...more

The book's strength is that you don't have to be a mathematical minded person to be able to understand it. I could follow the mathematical formulas roughly by the mathematical knowledge I gained more than fifteen years ago, but even though I was persistent enough to try to foll...more

Mostly, this book is a history of mathematics. From the etymology of numbers, to the Pythagorean brotherhood, and the discovery of incommensurability, and finally, to modern day mathematics.

The book dispels myths of Phi's use in famous works of art, construction of the pyramids, etc.

I find Livio to be a trustworthy author, who prefers demystification over hyperbole, which I respect....more

This book is a mathematical utopia.

A must read.

The book was 4 or 4 and a half stars, but the Kindle version was riddled with typos and errors. With a book with equations and other mathematics, not checking the electronic ve...more

Feb 24, 2009
Cameron
rated it
4 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
documentary-biography

I know it is very strange that I was reading a book about Math but this was really cool. This number and ratio are talked about in the book "The Da Vinci Code" and I thought it was interesting in that book. when I saw a friend of mine reading this book I thought I would give it a try. It is amazing to think about how this number comes up so often in so many different things such as math, geometry, architecture, art, Music and even poetry (though I did not understand that part). There are many ti...more

Really, anyone could read this book, ie non mathematicians, but f...more

Still, I enjoy stepping outside my own areas of expertise or experience and looking into new areas like mathematics. I think the problem is that I’ve been spoiled by stuff like Bill Bryson’s excellent A Brief History of Nearly Everything, which manag...more

Dec 19, 2011
Migdalia
rated it
3 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
science-math,
history-science

Mario Livio knows how to write in a way to make complex ideas comprehensible to the layman. He also makes it an entertaining read.

That being said, this is by no means an easy read. Look, you're dealing with Phi here - a mathematically complex number whose beauty is in its simplicity [I know that sounds contradictory.] IF you can understand the ideas behind it and that spring from it. That's MATHEMATICS with a capital word. Going in, you need to have some basic understanding of it, or you'll curs...more

That being said, this is by no means an easy read. Look, you're dealing with Phi here - a mathematically complex number whose beauty is in its simplicity [I know that sounds contradictory.] IF you can understand the ideas behind it and that spring from it. That's MATHEMATICS with a capital word. Going in, you need to have some basic understanding of it, or you'll curs...more

*is*uniquely good at it. Other authors in this genre, such as Amir Aczel can sometimes be guilty of spending too much time on sculpting the biography of a math genre and leaving its concepts severely under-explained. Livio however, created what I felt to be an adequate mix between math teaching an math biogr...more

http://news.slashdot.org/story/04/02/...

When I stumbled upon the title again in Goodreads, I decided to re-post it here.

"The book surprised and fascinated me. I thought it was going to be solely about the Golden Ratio. Mario Livio does cover the topic but along the way he throws in some mathematical history and even touches on the idea that math may not be a universal concept spread across the galaxy."

I have to admit that it is a lit...more

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People read this stuff? | 7 | 77 | Aug 07, 2013 06:35AM |