I highly recommend the book, and not just because I worked on it. Jim did a spectacular job narrating his story, and the book includes many great pictI highly recommend the book, and not just because I worked on it. Jim did a spectacular job narrating his story, and the book includes many great pictures. ...more
I enjoyed this book immensely the first time I read it. Then I went back and read Pratchett's Watch series from the beginning, which added even more dI enjoyed this book immensely the first time I read it. Then I went back and read Pratchett's Watch series from the beginning, which added even more depth and humor to this book. It still ranks as one of my favorite Discworld novels!...more
I like how the author explored many essential questions about angel magic in the text. He had some great ideas about how it all works. However, I didI like how the author explored many essential questions about angel magic in the text. He had some great ideas about how it all works. However, I did not like how the book ends. The author spends more time defending the pedigree of the Golden Dawn than talking about their views on angel magic. The book feels incomplete; it needed a good editor....more
Generally, I'd rather read other people's summaries and commentaries of Jung than read Jung himself, and this proved no exception. I just don't have eGenerally, I'd rather read other people's summaries and commentaries of Jung than read Jung himself, and this proved no exception. I just don't have enough interest in Jungian psychology to wade into his complex terminology and often turbid writing. It did have some good ideas and insights on mandalas and their construction, especially the second essay. ...more
This book looked promising. I wanted to learn to read hieroglyphs, and the authors, both prominent Egyptologists, have taught this material for many yThis book looked promising. I wanted to learn to read hieroglyphs, and the authors, both prominent Egyptologists, have taught this material for many years. Sounds like a good match, right? It didn’t play out that way.
I had problems right off the bat with the first section of chapter one. The text presents the Egyptian alphabet, a list of one-consonant signs, but does not identify what any of the signs actually represent. I really felt that I needed to know what the signs meant as ideograms in order to correctly draw and understand them (“square, squiggle, bird, slug” just didn’t cut it), I so put the book down and quickly found a reference chart on the web that provided the necessary information. Strike one.
I told my best friend that I had started studying how to read hieroglyphs, and he asked me some simple questions I could not field using this book, like “how many hieroglyphs are there?” I easily found this information in other books; including a simple two- or three-page introductory essay that provided some basic facts would have added context and depth to this book. Strike two.
Exercises in the first section ask you to write out words in hieroglyphs, but the signs lack definition due to their small size, making it difficult to reproduce them. They made the signs too small; they need to print them in a larger typeface. Strike three, and I’m out looking for better book on how to read Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Postscript: I found Bill Manley’s recent book, Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Complete Beginners, most helpful in learning and understanding the writing of the Ancient Egyptians. Highly recommended!...more
I knew little bits here and there about the import of the Divine Proportion, but The Secret Code puts everything together in one package. This does noI knew little bits here and there about the import of the Divine Proportion, but The Secret Code puts everything together in one package. This does not read like a mathematical text; The Secret Code appeals to a more general audience, moving beyond the strictly mathematical import into connections with science, art and nature. The book has over 300 illustrations to assist the reader in grasping the whole concept of the Divine Proportion--the main purpose of this book.
I found the information on Fibonacci most interesting. Many people know about the numerical sequence named after him, but he actually made much more important contributions to mathematics. He introduced the Hindu concepts of number symbols, place values, and zero to the Western world in the 13th Century. Previously, they used Roman numeral and abaci to calculate numbers. This made multiplication and division very complicated! Needless to say, eventual acceptance of these new concepts revolutionized accounting and other business operations, not to mention Western mathematics.
The Secret Code also reminded me that Ptolemy's geocentric model of the universe stood for almost 1500 years until Copernicus proposed his heliocentric model in the 16th Century. It blows my mind that we only figured this out 500 years ago! Yet another example of religious ignorance impeding science.
I do have one primary criticism of the book. It appears obvious that someone (writer or editor) padded or fluffed-up the original manuscript. The connection between some of the images and the text seems tenuous at times. The content of the final chapter of the book had almost no relevance to the subject, and its deletion would have improved the book immensely. The book ends on a weak note.
One other thing: Some marketing genius decided to make the dust jacket of this book out of vellum (or something like it), and the dust jacket does not like to stay on the book. They wrap the book in plastic to hide this fact. Don't let that deter you from buying the book though. If you desire a good introduction to the Divine Proportion, you will not be disappointed with The Secret Code....more
I found this book disappointing. At first I appreciated Robb’s interpretation of the events in the life of Balzac. A good biography is more than a colI found this book disappointing. At first I appreciated Robb’s interpretation of the events in the life of Balzac. A good biography is more than a collection of facts and statistics—it puts that information into context and perspective for the reader. I also initially liked how the author used his familiarity with Balzac’s fiction to flesh out events and get into the head of his subject. However, Robb’s frequent interjection of his own conjecture and psychoanalysis of Balzac muddled the details of the biography, and it bothered me enough that I stopped reading about two-thirds of the way through. I already have the basic Balzac story from another biography, and felt like those essentials occasionally got lost in the Robb’s commentary—they sometime interrupted and obscured the chain of events. Still, I’d recommend this bio to any hardcore Balzac fans—they would probably enjoy the author’s investigations and side trips.
Balzac: A Biographyappears to be Robb’s first biographical work. I am eighty pages into his biography of Victor Hugo, and it is much better than his work on Balzac—the author’s interpretation of events is less frivolous and more concise. ...more