Discover the Stars – a Review of the Popular Astronomy Book for Beginners

Digital visualization of an astronomical instrument

Astronomy is one of the most misunderstood sciences among the general public. Discover the Stars is the quintessential popular astronomy book for beginners certain to demystify the sky. It is just the book anyone who has ever looked up at the stars and longed to know more about them. Throughout the window the author makes use of simple, every day language shorn of all jargon and formulaic details.

About the Author

Discover the Stars is the work of Richard Berry, one of America’s leading proponents of popular science. He was also the editor of the popular Astronomy Magazine from the time its founder David J. Eicher died in 1977 to 1992. Mr Berry has published other books in astronomy and philanthropy.


First published in 1987, Discover the Stars was initially available in hard cover and paperback versions only. The present edition is available in five different formats: Kindle eBook, paperback, hard cover, PDF and as an MP3 audio book.

What Makes Discover the Stars Special
Here are three features of Discover the Stars which makes it a special choice for anyone just trying their hand in amateur astronomy:

1. Sky Maps

This book comes with a set of twelve sky maps showing the entire sky as it appears in each month of the year. The map outlines all the major stars and constellations which can be viewed anywhere in the northern hemisphere. The maps section is also enriched with text explaining all the mythology associated with different constellations and star groups. Also provided are easy-to-follow directions for the user to locate any celestial object and the best times to view them.

2. Star Charts

The second reference section of the book includes detailed star charts offering a much clearer look at important regions of the sky than could be provided in the sky maps. In total there are twenty three star charts with detailed information including stars with unusual colors, galaxies, variable stars and nebulae.

3. Simple But Comprehensive Coverage of Popular Astronomy

This book is simple enough for every beginner to get hooked up to the wonders of the skies. It also offers in depth coverage of astronomy that you will still find it useful, especially for reference purposes, once you have learnt to study the sky like a pro. Some of the most crucial chapters teach you how to find your way around planets and the moon complete with their orbital behavior, how to make an astronomer’s flashlight as well as how to choose a telescope and make the best use of it.

Book Review: The Beginners Guide to Choosing a Mortgage That You Can Pay Off In Record Time

mortgage hero book review

This month, we will be focusing on home loans, particularly Australian home loans/mortgages, and we will, consequently, be looking at a few of the most popular books on the subject. The Beginners Guide to Choosing a Mortgage That You Can Pay off in Record Time by Tom Porter discusses everything about buying and financing home – from identifying the ideal home, the best loan, all the way to paying off the mortgage in the shortest time possible.

The book is based on the Australian mortgage industry which means some of its details are going to be a bit different depending on various factors, such as what state you are in. In spite of that, the advice is going to be useful for just about anyone who is looking to buy a home.

Buying a home, especially if it’s your first home, is one of the most exciting, frightening, hardest, and most permanent commitment you will ever undertake in your life. It, therefore, goes without saying that you will need all the professional guidance and advice you can get.


The idea behind the book is to show aspiring home buyers that it is very much possible to acquire a mortgage that can be paid off in record time so as to be able to buy the home of their dreams and still live a debt-free life. The author, who writes from personal experience, explains little by little how he and his wife managed to pay off their mortgage in three and a half years.

Loans and Lenders

The books also talks about the loans options and lenders available in Australia in detail. This particular chapter will answer many questions that are probably running through your mind as a soon-to-be home buyer such as which loan and home/house would suit you best, what lenders would give you the best deal, and so on.

Another quite positive thing about the book is that it comes with a dummy loan application form to guide the reader through the mortgage application process. It also offers some excellent tips on how to avoid some of the most common traps of purchasing a home.


Another positive thing about the book is the mathematics formulas include therein. Numbers often speak more clearly when it comes to loans of all kinds. Tom gives extremely clear instructions and formulas on how to personally run some important calculations. Such calculations will make it easier for the reader to access his or her financial situation.


The only criticism we have about the book is that a few of the examples provided are a bit outdated. That could be because Tom and his wife bought their first home a few years ago when some important factors, such as interest rates and debt to income ratio, were different from what is available today.

However, according to the various financial advisors, mortgage brokers, and lenders we talked to after going through the book, 99% of the information provided by Tom is very helpful and still relevant even in today’s mortgage industry.


The Beginners Guide to Choosing a Mortgage That You Can Pay off in Record Time by Tom Porter may be a bit outdated, but prospective home buyers will find the book extremely valuable.

The author, Tom Porter is the director of Mortgage Hero in Perth WA.

Mortgage Hero
5/17 Pearson Way
Osborne Park WA 6017
(08) 6316 0408