No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Kindle Price: CDN$ 15.99

Save CDN$ 2.00 (11%)

includes free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

The Golden Ratio: The Story of PHI, the World's Most Astonishing Number by [Livio, Mario]
Kindle App Ad

The Golden Ratio: The Story of PHI, the World's Most Astonishing Number Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
CDN$ 15.99

Length: 305 pages Optimized for larger screens
  • Due to its large file size, this book may take longer to download

Signup for Kindle Daily Deals
Kindle Delivers: Daily Deals
Subscribe to find out about each day's Kindle Daily Deals for adults and young readers. Learn more

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Most readers will have at least dim memories from geometry class of the irrational number pi. Theoretical astrophysicist Livio gives pi's overlooked cousin phi its due with this lively account, the first on the subject written for the layperson. Phi is the golden ratio of antiquity (1.6180339887), a never-ending number so lauded for its harmonious qualities that in the 16th century it was dubbed the divine proportion. It is related to phenomena as diverse as the petal arrangements of roses, the breeding patterns of rabbits and the shape of our galaxy. Phi is also claimed to have been crucial in the design of the Great Pyramids, the composition of the Mona Lisa and the construction of Stradivarius violins. Livio (The Accelerating Universe) carefully investigates these and other claims and does not hesitate to debunk myths perpetuated by overzealous enthusiasts he calls "Golden Numberists." This is an engaging history of mathematics as well, addressing such perennial questions as the geometric basis of aesthetic pleasure and the nature of mathematical objects. Useful diagrams and handsome illustrations of works under discussion are amply provided. Livio is gifted with an accessible, entertaining style: one typical chapter bounds within five pages from an extended discourse on prime numbers to a clever Oscar Wilde quote about beauty to an amusing anecdote about Samuel Beckett and finally to an eminently clear explanation of G"del's incompleteness theorem. With a guide to the history of ideas as impassioned as Livio, even the math-phobic can experience the shock and pleasure of scientific discovery. This thoroughly enjoyable work vividly demonstrates to the general reader that, as Galileo put it, the universe is, indeed, written in the language of mathematics.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Take something as simple as a line segment and mark it at just the right place. Looking at it with a mathematician's eye, an interesting relationship appears: the ratio between the whole line and the larger of the pieces it was broken into is the same as the ratio of the larger piece and smaller piece. Better known as "the golden ratio" or phi, 1.618- is a number that has fascinated humans for several hundred years, and people have claimed evidence of phi in all manner of things. Livio takes readers on a treasure hunt for phi from ancient times through the present. On the way, he debunks a number of popular myths (e.g., the notion that Mondrian used it in his abstract paintings) and does a wonderful job explaining the Fibonacci sequence and its relationship to phi. Small, black-and-white photos and reproductions demonstrate items mentioned in the text. While it may seem that the author wanders in his expositions, his excursions into history and number games add fun and depth for those who wish to follow. To get the most out of The Golden Ratio, it is best to have an understanding of algebra and basic trigonometry, although the book is great for general readers who don't mind working a little to gain a lot of understanding.
Sheila Shoup, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 51145 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0767908163
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (Nov. 14 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001L4Z6Q2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #87,762 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images or tell us about a lower price?

click to open popover

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Being interested in design was familiar with the Golden Mean. This book explains not just Phi, the Fibonacci series and the golden mean but goes deeper into other mathematical series I had never encountered. Wow. Interesting stuff. I am not a mathematician by any stretch of imagination but I can appreciate the beauty of numbers the fit into pattern and even overlapping patterns. I appreciated the big picture story even though I could not always follow all the detail. Author also warns about interpreted use of Golden Mean as it fits nature, art and architecture and shows how results often are dependent on what one decides to include in the measurements.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
OK, I don't come across PHI as often as I come across e or pi. This book was nevertheless a fascinating read, even though (as one of the reviewers pointed out) Livio tries to talik about math and applications which can seem somewhat tedious at times.
The books deserves five stars for the following things:
1. It's very well written (I read it in an afternoon)
2. It's informative and not too 'scientific' - you can understand it even if you're not good with numbers at all.
3. It's realistic - most books about this topic tend to be more fantasy than reality. Mario Livio has made sure that he debunks myths and relies only on well checked facts.
- If you like popular science books don't miss this one, it's well worth your time.
7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Do you get excited upon discovering properties of mathematic topics? If the answer is a resounding “yes”, then The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World’s Most Astonishing Number is the right book for you! Phi is an irrational number that can be represented with the symbol ϕ, or numerically as 1.6180339887… up to an infinite amount of digits. It’s closely related to the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci sequence. While I don’t share the same passion for numbers and their idiosyncrasies as Israeli-American author Mario Livio, he demonstrates a good effort in making the math come alive on the pages in this 2002 book. This review will include a description of the book, reflect upon the quality of the book and its aims, and discuss background information about the author.

Phi is deeply ingrained in our natural world; from the scales of a pinecone, to the reproductive patterns of rabbits, to the spiral staircase on the cover of my Mathematics Modeling 12 textbook. This book uncovers the history behind the discovery of phi, discussing its role in mathematics, physics, art, music, nature, architecture, probability, the universe, and more. While Livio considered phi’s existence in nature a fact, he often voiced his skeptism regarding theories about phi appearing in man-made works such as the ancient Egyptian pyramids and Bach’s symphonies. Reading about mathematic history and theory could easily become confusing, but Livio organized his book in a very logical way. First, it was organized chronologically, from 35000 BC when the first bookkeeping record (on a baboon’s thigh bone) dates back to 2000 BC when the Babylonians estimated the value of pi, to 1202 when Leonardo Fibonacci published his first book, Liber abaci.
Read more ›
One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Broad streams of literary, historical, aethsetic and religious thought are pooled together in a concise and well-illustrated review of this powerful proportion, which recurs in the natural world in surprising places both large and small. Clearly presented mathematical proofs give the book a solid backbone. Mathematical ideas are expressed in the book through a combination of prose, appendix proofs, and plentiful illustrations & diagrams. This allows readers of varying mathematical ability and learning styles to appreciate the beautiful ideas that Livio gracefully presents. A must for serious lovers of proportion & geometry, architects, mystics, painters, graphic designers and mathematicians.
One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Livio's book is really an interesting look at a number similar to pi in that's an irrational number which displays itself in various places in nature, from the arrangement of petals on a flower to the logarithmic spirals of galaxies.
Livio explains the original formulation of this number by Euclid and proceeds to address the various times in history in which it may have been employed by architects, artists and musicians.
I think this is a really good book if you're interested in reading about the most "irrational of all irrational numbers".
One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Golden Ratio" by Mario Livio holds a large amount of fun trivia and was overall a pleasure to read. That being said, a large amount of greatly unsupported personal opinions were thrown into this book, often making myself question whether I should continue reading. This book is acceptable for all levels of education, but those who have a large working knowledge in the field of math may find this book to be too elementary in some areas that lacked substance.
One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
As a non-mathematician I appreciate any help I can get in understanding the more esoteric parts of math. The Golden Ratio is just such a concept. Fortunately, Mario Livio has shown much light on this remarkable corner of geometry in his book "The Golden Ratio."
It is little wonder that such numbers as the Golden Ratio were considered magical. The never ending, never repeating number that cannot ever be expressed as a fraction has an uncanny tendency to show up in the oddest places, not only galactic structure and nautilus shells, but in plant parts and composition of paintings and music. Unfortunately magical numerology can lead to far-fetched relationships, as to the so-called number of the beast (666), and to academicism in art. Just because the Golden Ratio results in a pleasing relationship in a composition we are not tied to always measure art on how well it fits that ratio!
Livio has illuminated the history of the Golden Ratio in such a way that much of the associated themes can be understood by the reasonably educated laymen. While some of the book can be tough sledding for most of us non-mathematicians, the gist is available to all with some effort.
Read this book to learn about the history of interpretation and misinterpretation of mathematical concepts.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse