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The Big Gold Book--a review

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  • The Big Gold Book--a review

    Yes, I'm probably the last person on this MB to buy a copy of The Big Gold Book.
    Shoot me.

    But having received it today--just 4 days after ordering!--moved me to critique it for those of you who might NOT own a copy---or even for those who DO!

    Out of a zero to 100% rating scale, I give it a....98.
    Why not the full 100?
    Read on and see.

    First, I was happy to find out that this book, with a 2005 original copyright date, is actually an updated version from 2012!
    I really was expecting it to say "2005".
    (That was one reason I hesitated in buying it--I thought a "newer" version might soon be available!)

    It's so much MORE than I expected!
    Here's a list of what you get:

    1. A complete metrics to English measure (or vice versa) chart that goes on for 62 of the book's 186 pages! And boy, did I NEED this! My own T&F Record Book has such a listing, but mine is nowhere near as complete as this one!! It's INCREDIBLE!! One silly question: Why does the listing begin at zero, and go incrementally, centimeter by centimeter, all the way to 103.99 meters? Did they expect perhaps Chaunte Lowe's child to try to HJ in their infancy?

    2. Full Decathlon/Heptathlon (plus INdoor Heptathlon/Pentathlon) points tables! PLUS a supplemental (In PINK?? A bit sexist, yes??) chart for the Women's OUTdoor Decathlon!! What more could one ask for, especially when following the event-by-event results of a major meet? EXCELLENT!!

    3. Basic rules of the sport, with all kinds of interesting information. (Hurdle heights, weights of various implements, field event time limits (!!), and just about everything else but the kitchen sink!!

    4. Wind and altitude info! And lengthy lists of the effects--negative and positive--of various wind speeds or altitude heights! (Plus a long list of a city's altitudes--from around the world!)

    5. Conversion charts for the 1500-1600-Mile and 3000-3200-2 Mile. While I DISagree with this concept (especially converting 1600's to Miles & 3200's to 2 Mile's!!), it's useful to have---even if only to see how OFF many of these figures are, IMHO!!

    6. Pacing tables for events from the 1500 through the Marathon, as well as the 4X400R and INdoors events from the 200 to the 5000. For the Marathon, it goes per mile and per kilometer, and ranges from a 4:45 mile pace to a 9:10!!

    7. In a section called "Handy Track Info" falls maybe my favorite part of the book. (I said "favorite", not "most useful"! That would be the first 2 sections!!) They list all kinds of barrier breakers--in every event!!--such as the first sub-49.0 400, or the first 11 and 12 foot PV's!! FASCINATING STUFF!!

    Overall, I LOVE this book, and am THRILLED I finally decided to buy it!!
    It's worth every single penny of its #24.00 price!

    So why did I cut 2 points off the perfect 100?
    The binding!

    I do NOT like spiral or wire binding!!
    I've found the pages soon start coming loose.
    Especially when you use the book 10-20 times per day---some days!
    (I expect by the end of 2015 to have to buy a new copy!!)

    Thank you, Track and Field News, for a book I will TREASURE---and USE!!---every single day!!
    Last edited by aaronk; 07-27-2015, 11:30 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by aaronk View Post

    1. A complete metrics to English measure (or vice versa) chart
    You likely have not yet read the introduction to the metric conversion tables on your first day (and it is a bit esoteric), but you should note that the tables are only to be used for metric-to-imperial conversions (and NOT vice versa).

    I cannot fathom how you have followed the sport for as long as you have (and maintained a record book no less) without owning this book or its Red, Green and Blue predecessors.

    Comment


    • #3
      sounds like a good book, just bought mine
      Bolt's last year...and my last year as a track fan, it's been fun

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by aaronk View Post
        I do NOT like spiral or wire binding!!
        I've found the pages soon start coming loose.
        Especially when you use the book 10-20 times per day---some days!
        (I expect by the end of 2015 to have to buy a new copy!!)

        Thank you, Track and Field News, for a book I will TREASURE---and USE!!---every single day!!
        For most of the stuff in this book you could just use webpages and/or apps instead, why use a book for metric conversions when webpages offer the same (and webpages have very sturdy binding)?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by norunner View Post
          For most of the stuff in this book you could just use webpages and/or apps instead, why use a book for metric conversions when webpages offer the same (and webpages have very sturdy binding)?
          I'm all for T&F News making more money, so I'm hesitant to agree, but yes, everything aaronk mentioned seems better suited to a webpage or app.

          Comment


          • #6
            computer screen vs physical book is definitely worth $25 to me. If this didn't exist, I would have happily paid $25 for the IAAF pdf rulebook in book form if the wording was a little easier better for my tastes.
            Bolt's last year...and my last year as a track fan, it's been fun

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by wamego relays champ View Post
              You likely have not yet read the introduction to the metric conversion tables on your first day (and it is a bit esoteric), but you should note that the tables are only to be used for metric-to-imperial conversions (and NOT vice versa).

              I cannot fathom how you have followed the sport for as long as you have (and maintained a record book no less) without owning this book or its Red, Green and Blue predecessors.
              No, I haven't read the intro to the metric chart yet.
              I will.

              As to how I've created (and kept going!) a record book of my own, it's fairly simple.
              I created my own list of metric conversions.
              I started by copying the marks (metric & English) of all the marks in T&FN's year-end lists.
              Then I added other marks as they became available.
              I would ESTIMATE the marks i didn't have!!
              It never became a complete list, but it was useful for my own purposes.

              But now I know I SHOULD have bought this book (or an earlier version!) a LOT sooner than I did---by DECADES!!

              One clear example.

              In my blog post on the Pan Am meet and the London DL, using my own chart, I discovered I made 3 mistakes!

              I said O'Dayne Richards's 21.69 equaled 71-3.25.
              But it's 71-2.

              Then I had Shawn Barber's 5.93 as 19-5.25.
              It's 19-5.50.

              And I had Anzhelika Fidorova's metric mark (4.79) as being 15-8.50.
              It's 15-8.75.

              So now I KNOW I'll be throwing away those 6 pages of conversions I made, and relying 100% on The Big Gold Book's chart!!
              Last edited by aaronk; 07-28-2015, 01:48 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by aaronk View Post
                No, I haven't read the intro to the metric chart yet.
                I will.

                One clear example.

                In my blog post on the Pan Am meet and the London DL, using my own chart, I discovered I made 3 mistakes!

                I said O'Dayne Richards's 21.69 equaled 71-3.25.
                But it's 71-2.

                Then I had Shawn Barber's 5.93 as 19-5.25.
                It's 19-5.50.

                And I had Anzhelika Fidorova's metric mark (4.79) as being 15-8.50.
                It's 15-8.75.
                You should read the intro. I don't have the book, but I think the intro will tell you that the English marks are "fudged" in many cases. IIRC, it's was a matter of trying to get the "most likely" measurement, had they used a feet-and-inches tape. To me this is another anachronism. All marks are measured with a metric tape (or laser, whatever), so a conversion to ' " is just a convenience. It seems to me that, if you must convert, just convert mathematically to feet (meters / .3048), drop the feet, divide by 12 and DROP any remainder after each 1/4 inch.

                If you do it that way (which perhaps you did):
                21.96 = 71' 1.94" round to 71 1 3/4 if you really care about 1/4"
                4.79 = 15' 8.58" round to 15' 8 1/2" " "
                5.93 = 19' 5.46" round to 19' 5 1/4"

                But why bother to crap around with quarter inches at all? The metric mark is THE mark. The only use for conversion is to be able to fit the mark into one's own "matrix".

                Well, everyone knows my attitude toward converting metric marks, anyway.
                Cheers,
                Alan Shank

                Comment


                • #9
                  Alan, you seem as anti-conversion from metrics to English as I'm anti conversions of 1600/3200 to 1 & 2 miles!!
                  LOL

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Alan, I am not sure if this is the issue, but I think that you might be confused by the fact that there are separate conversion tables for the vertical jumps and the other field events. Why? Because in the vertical jumps the bar is optimized - set at essentially the exact metric measurement - while in the other events the actual distance is then truncated down to the nearest centimeter. Those are two different processes and require subtly different treatment. I will not be surprised when aaronk comes back and tells us that it is wrong because he does not fully understand the issues. You need to consider a number of things, including biased and unbiased measurements and time effects of non-random adjustments of random factors.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      True, I don't understand such terms/concepts as "unbiased measurements" or "non-random adjustments of random factors".
                      My "expertise" in math ENDS with simple arithmetic--addition, subtraction, multiplication & division!
                      Dr Seuss stuff!!

                      Here's an example of where conversions from metric to English (Imperial?) go awry.
                      In The Big Gold Book tables, I looked up the conversions for 1.00 and 2.00 meters (although I'm TOTALLY familiar with the latter, because of my knowledge about the Women's HJ!.
                      But the book has 1.00 as 3.25 (3 feet, 3 and one-quarter inches).
                      It has 2.00 as 6 feet, six and three-quarter inches.

                      But the simple doubling (in arithmetical terms) of the English converted number for 1.00 is 6 feet, six and one-half inches (2 X 3.25 = 6.50.)

                      But then I DO understand what I'll call the "leap year effect".
                      (Which actually fits PERFECTLY when speaking of the HJ!! LEAP!!! Get it?? LOL)

                      Anyway, that "extra" quarter inch gotten when doubling the 1.00 is akin to the extra "day" we get in a leap year.

                      Everyone knows that a "day" is NOT a full 24 hours, but actually approximately 23:59:59.
                      Correct?
                      That extra second multiplied by the 1460 days of the 4 year cycle then SHOULD add up to a full 24 hour day....and thus we have February 29th in our leap years.

                      Thus that extra quarter-inch is explained!!

                      WHEW!! My brain needs to rest now!!
                      LOL
                      Last edited by aaronk; 07-28-2015, 10:12 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by aaronk View Post
                        Everyone knows that a "day" is NOT a full 24 hours, but actually approximately 23:59:59.
                        Correct?
                        That extra second multiplied by the 1460 days of the 4 year cycle then SHOULD add up to a full 24 hour day....and thus we have February 29th in our leap years.
                        Uh... no. It is true the "real" day (the mean solar day) is not exactly 24 hours (it's slightly longer), but that has zip to do with leap years; it's the reason for leap seconds.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tgs3 View Post
                          I'm all for T&F News making more money, so I'm hesitant to agree, but yes, everything aaronk mentioned seems better suited to a webpage or app.
                          I'm all for buying books, especially in bookstores rather than online, but that doesn't mean you actually have to use them. I do most of my reading on a kindle nowadays but of all the books i enjoyed reading i buy the paperback simply because i like the look of filled bookcases in my living room.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by aaronk View Post
                            Yes, I'm probably the last person on this MB to buy a copy of The Big Gold Book.
                            Shoot me.
                            Ah, if I only had a gun . . . :-)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Alan Shank View Post
                              the English marks are "fudged" in many cases. IIRC, it's was a matter of trying to get the "most likely" measurement, had they used a feet-and-inches tape. To me this is another anachronism.
                              ??!!
                              It's not 'fudging'; it's statistical probability. Computers don't 'fudge'. The algorithm converts to a number with the highest likelihood of being correct.

                              Comment

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