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Publisher's Summary

Throughout history, thinkers from mathematicians to theologians have pondered the mysterious relationship between numbers and the nature of reality. In this fascinating book, Mario Livio tells the tale of a number at the heart of that mystery: phi, or 1.6180339887....

This curious mathematical relationship, widely known as "The Golden Ratio", was discovered by Euclid more than 2,000 years ago because of its crucial role in the construction of the pentagram, to which magical properties had been attributed. Since then it has shown a propensity to appear in the most astonishing variety of places, from mollusk shells, sunflower florets, and rose petals to the shape of the galaxy. Psychological studies have investigated whether the Golden Ratio is the most aesthetically pleasing proportion extant, and it has been asserted that the creators of the Pyramids and the Parthenon employed it. It is believed to feature in works of art from Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa to Salvador Dali's The Sacrament of the Last Supper, and poets and composers have used it in their works. It has even been found to be connected to the behavior of the stock market!

The Golden Ratio is a captivating journey through art and architecture, botany and biology, physics and mathematics. It tells the human story of numerous phi-fixated individuals, including the followers of Pythagoras who believed that this proportion revealed the hand of God; astronomer Johannes Kepler, who saw phi as the greatest treasure of geometry; such Renaissance thinkers as mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa; and such masters of the modern world as Goethe, Cezanne, Bartok, and physicist Roger Penrose. Wherever his quest for the meaning of phi takes him, Mario Livio reveals the world as a place where order, beauty, and eternal mystery will always coexist.

©2008 Mario Livio (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Golden Ratio

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Tedious Listen

This might be a better read than a listen. It seems like there would be some diagrams in the actual book that would help make sense of the formulas, whereas in the audio the information is hard to follow. The narration is also terrible. You can tell he's reading; like you can hear every space between the words. Much of his tone sounds like a sales pitch - falsely energetic.

6 people found this helpful

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Interesting insight into the world of mathematics

Where does The Golden Ratio rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

top 40%

Any additional comments?

This book needs a PDF to help in visualizing all the forms that were described.

4 people found this helpful

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Narrators voice is nails on a chalk board

The content of this book is amazing! The story is perplexing and stirs curiosity! The man narrating has the most irksome voice and doesn't seem to understand the words he's saying.

2 people found this helpful

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Good points, far too many useless figures.

The author did his best to present an unbiased view of all sides of the argument, however, far over explains much of his case which, at times, shows the book down to root canal painfulness.

1 person found this helpful

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Φ The Other Cool Number

This was an inspiring listen about phi a name for the golden ratio; I found myself looking up more in-depth information on the web relating to some of the places where phi reveals itself. I haven't thought until now, to look up whether they have a phi day or not, but if not there certainly should be. There isn't much to say here that wouldn't just be spoiling the revelations in this book, other than it was organized well; mostly in chronological order, starting with many of the places speculated to have phi engineered into it, then explaining why many are spurious speculations. All famous mathematicians and other people mentioned are followed by the date of their birth and death. That was an enjoyable tidbit.

About the narrator, I was pretty content with his performance. The few pronunciation errors that were made that I know of are common in other physics books here at audible.com as well. I have now only really fault the reader if it is just annoyingly read, and this was not one of those narrators.

This was an all-around entertaining book. I don't expect more than this when I make purchases here. Not the best, but certainly worth a credit, and the time invested in listening to it. There is no reason not to follow up one of the books here on pi, with this one about the golden ratio.

1 person found this helpful

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The Divine number PHI

I am a big fan of all things Mario Livio. The Golden Ratio is a journey unlike any other I have been on so far. Without a PDF download, I have to admit that I had to get a hard copy to follow along with the extended numbers and processes presented. A quick trip to the library along with reading and listening is well worth the investment of your time. Mario presents not only the history of PHI but you may discover new concepts, like "incommensurability or Phyllotaxis", words that I don't remember learning before this book. Now I have a more educated understanding of PHI in nature and it's relationship especially to the Fibonacci sequence. Mario opens doors that are hidden right in front of our own eyes. Are numbers like Pi & Phi discovered or invented by human thought only, or did they exist before human thought and have we just unveiled them through our search for higher understanding? From the Golden Ratio to the Golden Triangle, to every other geometric form that surrounds us, you may now appreciate shapes and flowers and Galaxy's and the everything you look at in a more profound and amazed way. I especially liked the way Mario delves into the history of Phi and then brings it into "Art and Music". From the beginning of recorded time to our modern day technology, the search continues for these unending irrational numbers that have such a profound and deliberate design to our Universe. I have listened and read through the Golden Ratio multiple times, and each time a new door opens. I also recommend his audio book Galileo and the Science Deniers, Top notch research, science and history from a real scientist.

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Very useful information, balanced.

I recommend this book to anyone desiring a good overview of the wonder that is known as the Golden Ratio.

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An eloquent history of mathematics

This book is an intriguing look at the development of mathematics physics focused on Phi and the golden ratio
Though complex at points the book is interesting and entertaining enough to keep the reader.engaged and curious.

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  • E. A. N. Gray
  • 06-07-19

needs diagrams

an interesting and mind-blowing book but difficult to fully comprehend without diagrams as it is an audiobook.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-28-21

Starts off OK then gets hard to follow

Some books simply need to be read and this is one of them. So many huge and incomprehensible number are thrown out in such rapid fire commentary I found myself having to listen at 80% speed whereas normally I like 150-200%. If you listen with a notebook and stop regularly it would be great. There is almost no story though and ideas jump around from chapter to chapter, not a bad book just not a good audiobook.

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  • Mike
  • 09-10-20

Not exactly what I was expecting!

The narrator comes across as condescending at times, and there is a presumption that the author is right while all else is wrong.
But overall not a bad book, and if you are interested in the golden ratio it's worth a listen.

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  • jake
  • 06-22-20

Get through the beginning and it’s fabulous

A difficult book to make sense of audibly.

There is a lot of “01 010101 etc”

But the chapters on History are fabulous

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  • Phil A
  • 07-16-17

Interesting but sometimes difficult to follow.

An odd mix of a bit of fairly simple maths, natural sciences, history and fables - with a bit of physics thrown in. Geometry discriptions are difficult to follow. Perhaps the book should have included all "special" numbers and stuck to science or history or art.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-26-16

Historical but full of insights

Very historical account of phi rather than a mathematical one. Chapters 8 and 9 are gems though regardless.