Why Cats Land on Their Feet: And 76 Other Physical Paradoxes and Puzzles, by Mark Levi - Book Review
This is not the best physics book I have ever read! I have never seen so many physics errors condensed into just one book. I made my own puzzle to find some sections with non-erroneous physics, and that was the toughest puzzle of all. Nope, any attempt at explaining physics accurately is very well hidden. Levi’s physical explanations and arguments are mostly nonsense or just plain wrong. When they’re not wrong, they are weak explanations, or Levi doesn’t get the whole picture of the physics. In a lot of puzzles, when he at least manages to cite a physics law correctly, he still forgets to take into account some other important physics laws.
This book is even wrong in the basic principles of physics, such as the conservation of energy. Levi applies Bernoulli's principle, for example, on several occasions. He apparently doesn’t understand or know this principle himself, yet he still tries to explain it. Also, rotations are described and applied incorrectly. Levi doesn’t limit himself to physics mistakes in this book; he also gives ample opportunity to teach math incorrectly by falsely rearranging math formulas.
Below is a selection of physics errors. There are probably more, but I started skipping pages.
Pages 12, 41: Errors in formulas
Page 19: The explanation of cork on spinning water is wrong.
Page 47: If you follow his physical argumentation, you would have perpetual motion (creating energy out of nothing).
Page 50: Water that gets poured out of a jar doesn’t accelerate in his explanation.
Page 78: The description of the Coriolis force is wrong.
Page 79: The force has a unit of mass instead of the unit, Newton, in his example.
Page 158: The physics law of the conservation of energy is broken. He forgot the force from the ground.
In case you already bought this book, I can only recommend you to bring it back to the bookstore and ask for your money back.
Surprisingly at Amazon you find some more positive reviews about this book (just click on the book cover):