The Book End

Every Friday in this spot True North will feature a book by a Canadian writer. The presentation will not be a review. It will include a profile of the author written by him/herself and about the product of the author’s literary labours. If a reader wants to file a review we’ll publish it. Today we offer Life of Phi: Beauty and the Golden Ratio, by William Bezanson. — Mike Heenan, Literary Editor, True North Perspective.

Life of Phi: Beauty and the Golden Ratio

By William Bezanson

Life of Phi:  Beauty and the Golden Ratio (cover)
Life of Phi: Beauty and the Golden Ratio
By William Bezanson
Baico Publishers, 2008
235 pages

This book treats the subject of Phi, the mathematical concept of the Golden Ratio, and especially how its presence influences our appreciation of beauty in a work of art or a person's face or a scene in nature, and so on.

The book covers many of the mathematical properties of Phi, and the theme of beauty permeates the book from beginning to end.

The golden ratio is a fascinating concept that specifies a proportion that has appeared over the centuries in art, architecture, music, and many natural growth processes.

Read in this book about how the golden ratio has been studied for some 2000 years, and how it seems to have influenced many creations that are considered beautiful.

Life of Phi is not another dry, boring textbook about the golden ratio, The approach of this book is unusual, when compared with other materials on that topic.

It is written in the form of a narrative, with Phi himself/herself/itself speaking in the first person in the odd-numbered chapters, and in the alternate chapters there are fictionalized vignettes of various mathematicians (Euclid, Fibonacci, Pacioli, Kepler, Euler) as they discover, research, and teach about Phi.

WIlliam Bezanson

Phi develops an amusing personality in the book, and the book contains numerous aspects of self-referential and recursive humour.

This approach is unique in the golden ratio literature, and it has the potential to make the book widely interesting and accessible.

The book ends with my development of a theory of beauty, namely, those things that we consider beautiful are so because, among other reasons, they have the golden ratio embedded in their structure somehow.

You may read about the book, and purchase it, at my book Web site: Other sources are the publisher's website at, and also Or you may be interested in reading an excerpt, which has two chapters in PDF form, at

30 January 2009