Book Review: The Golden Ratio

golden ratioTitle: The Golden Ratio: The Divine Beauty of Mathematics
Author: Gary B. Meisner
Publication Date: October 23, 2018
Pages: 224
Publisher: Race Point Publishing
Date Started: October 2, 2018
Date Finished: November 6, 2018
Format: Adobe Digital

 


*I would like to thank the publisher, author, and NetGalley for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

The Golden Ratio, the Divine Proportion, phi, 1.618. It has been known by many names, yet the mathematical properties of this ratio have baffled and enlightened scholars since early days. Many have recently been made aware of it through popular media such as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and many conspiratorial and outrageous theories circle the internet.

The Golden Ratio is a coffee table book inspecting the presence and beauty of the divine proportion. The figures provide lovely representations of the text, with many pieces of art with the ratio transposed on top for a striking visualization. Each chapter focuses on a different media in which the ratio is observed, including art, architecture, and nature. But before getting into demonstrating its presence throughout these forms, the book covers the mathematical proofs that explain and derive its properties. Do not be put off by these proofs, they do not require more than high school algebra to follow, though can take a bit of mental energy to follow. This is all intertwined with the history of the number, which I found quite comprehensive.

What I appreciated about this book is that it takes a logical approach to demonstrating the presence of the Golden Ratio, instead of just willy-nilly ascribing the ratio to everything under the sun. The author created a strict set of guidelines in order to be able to determine whether the golden ratio was actually at work within man-made pieces. For example, he defined the error parameters and required background on the artists and their familiarity with the number in addition to requiring the ratio to appear multiply within each piece. The result is a well composed, quite believable analysis of the subject.

I really enjoyed this book and learned many new properties of the ratio. The figures were gorgeous. This is surely a sophisticated book to leave out for your guests to leaf through!

Overall, 3/5 moose

 

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