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The Golden Section: Nature's Greatest Secret (Wooden Books) Hardcover – October 17, 2006


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The Golden Section: Nature's Greatest Secret (Wooden Books) + Sacred Geometry (Wooden Books) + Ruler and Compass: Practical Geometric Constructions (Wooden Books)
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Product Details

  • Series: Wooden Books
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Walker & Company (October 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802715397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802715395
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 5.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dr. Olsen is one of the leading experts on the Golden Section, and Professor of Philosophy and Religion at College of Central Florida in Ocala, Florida.  His new book, due out in Fall 2015 is "Divine Proportion: the Mathematical Perfection of the Universe."

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Customer Reviews

It is a fun easy read.
Harry M. Kepner
It is an excellent book, beautifully produced and wonderfully illustrated.
John Martineau
THE GOLDEN RATIO - what a marvel !
Brian Gregory

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 112 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the most famous and mysterious of numbers is pi, the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. If you know some mathematics and work with logarithms, you know another important constant, e. Less well known is the number phi (the Greek symbol looks like a capital I superimposed on an o); it is in many ways simpler than the other two and is just as interesting. All you have to do is take a line segment of any length, and put a point on the line so that the point divides the line into a big segment and a little one, and so that the little segment is to the big segment as the big segment is to the line you started with. The section you made, and the connected mathematics and art, are described and illustrated in _The Golden Section: Nature's Greatest Secret_ (Walker Books) by Scott Olsen, which ought to get an award for the book with the greatest density of information in the smallest package. It has but 58 small pages, and half of those are taken up with illustrations (which are wonderfully selected ). But if you follow the pages, and have pencil, paper, and a calculator beside you, there are depths here that bigger books never touch.

It's not too interesting to put a point directly in the middle of a line. You get equal segments that way, or a ratio of one to one, or 1:1; and if a segment is 1, the whole line you bisected is 2, a ratio of 2:1. Plato knew, though, that that was one point that would divide the whole line into shorter and longer portions so that "the whole to the longer equals the longer to the shorter"; or if shorter is a, longer is b, and the whole is a + b, then a + b is to b as b is to a; in symbols, a + b : b as b : a, or a + b : b : a. The ratio is phi (pronounced "fye"). It's numerical equivalent is 1.6180339...
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By John Martineau on October 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Golden Section is a subject many have tried and failed to cover comprehensively. Generally these books either over-romanticize the subject and fail scientifically, or they tend instead to be over mathematical and run scared from the genuine (and still unexplained) mystery of why the Golden Section appears so widely in nature.

Scott Olsen's little book admirably steers a middle course through these choppy waters, covering everything from Lucas numbers and phyllotaxis to the common use of the 8:5 Fibonacci approximation to the Golden Section in nature and the visual arts.

I heartily recommend this book to anyone - from those with just a passing interest in the Golden Section like painters and musicians to more experienced mathematicians (check out for instance Bryson's extraordinary equations for the Solar Year on the back page!). It is an excellent book, beautifully produced and wonderfully illustrated. I'm giving it 5 stars.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Fast Eddy33 on February 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved the ideas, concepts, and relationships explained in the text, however, I was disappointed with the design and layout of the book. Books in this series seem to be intended as quick, entertaining, and beautiful overviews of their respective topics. This book succeeds on the first two measures, but falls short of beautiful. Several of the illustration pages are black background with faint white artwork and small text - tough to read. Many of the illustrations have notations with text so small one needs a magnifying glass. Several of the concepts are presented with many small illustrations crowding the page instead of one illuminating example shown large. Overall, the book was not as pleasing as other excellent works in the series such as "Sacred Geometry" and "Platonic and Archimedian Solids."
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By VeritasluxMea on October 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Scott's book on the golden section, unlike all the other books I have on the subject delves into the early Platonic fascination and significance of the Golden section as the Cosmic and metaphysical model for the Emanationist explanation for empirical and metaphysical ratios both of empirical life and of the Absolute itself.

Specifically, the extreme importance of Phi, or the Golden section in every facet of phenomena, and therefore as the archetype for unraveling the nature of the Absolute (not God, but the Platonic One which is not a sentient Being!) is gone into great details in a pithy and concise manner, other books 10 times the size are verbose exercises in petty logomachy; much talk, little or no substance.

Scotts capacity to synthesize the overall importance of the Golden section and the original and ancient paradigm of the Pythagorean (and to some extent the Gnostic) model for the metaphysical universe is certainly evident.

As someone (myself) that gives 1 star reviews to 95% of books, I don't lightly recommend this small and pithy book. Phi is the religious and metaphysical paradigm which is both contrary and inclusive and the antinomy to Creationism and Nihilism (nothing-morism); and the hidden religious doctrine of Plato and his Pythagorean ancestors as well and Neoplatonic `sons'; of this Scott unveils the significance of same.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Scott Proctor VINE VOICE on November 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"The Golden Section" discusses...and illustrates...the history, importance and wide-ranging presence of the "golden ratio". This is a very short book and is written in a style that plays text on one page against a graphical display on the opposing page.

Scott Olsen covers a lot of ground in a short space. One thing that I appreciated about this book was the clear identification of the symbols that typically represent the golden ratio: (1) "Fye", the greater ratio (approximately 1.62) and (2) "Fee", the lesser ratio (approximately 0.62)...the respective symbols are not shown here due to font constraints.

This is a good short introduction to the history, importance and relevance of a ratio.
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