This is an interesting book on genes and evolution. Although I thought I knew about this kind of thing I still found I could learn some things. Most of the time I find authors disappointing as readers but Dawkins and Ward both read really well so it's a comfortable listen. I think this "edition" was particularly good with Dawkins' recent updates and reflections added in with the text.
My only disappointment was when I got to the final chapter. This is a summary of the later book The Extended Phenotype. He says that is the work he is most proud of and recommends to switch to that rather than just read the summary. I was looking forward to doing just that but discovered Extended Phenotype doesn't seem to have an audiobook yet. Bring it on!
Get ready for scenarios and probability. Written in the 1970's, this book was certainly ahead of its time and is very much relevant to today. It even profferred a new word /concept - the meme - in use today. There are some updated comments in response to what Richard previously wrote (that are made known as the book progresses) which add to the quality of this thesis / book and often very funny.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
Originally published in 1976, this edition builds upon the principal theory of George C. Williams's first book Adaptation and Natural Selection. Dawkins coined the term "selfish gene" as a way of expressing the gene-centered view of evolution as opposed to the views focused on the organism and the group. The view suggests that the more two individuals are genetically related, the more sense (at the level of the genes) it makes for them to behave selflessly with each other. Interestingly, this does not necessarily connote a phenotype (physical expression) preference that is necessarily selfish. The biological concepts and constructs are somewhat technical and even esoteric at times. They are, however, immensely interesting to biologists (especially geneticists) and others interested in the science of evolution. That was what my understanding of the book was to be about. The book, however, goes further.
The Selfish Gene discusses philosophical and moral questions that go way beyond the biological arguments that Dawkins makes. While humanity finally gaining power over the "selfish replicators" is a major theme at the end of the book, Dawkins wastes no time at all in the beginning making his arguments against religion. What, you say, has religion got to do with biology? Exactly my question. Dawkins does this over and over and over again in each of his books that I have read. Frankly, I am as anti religious as he but I believe a book of this nature has no place for that argument. I love the subject of evolution. Generally, I cannot get enough of the subject. However, I am tired of reading Richard Dawkins' antireligion, hackneyed diatribes. I believe the mixing of science and personal agendas is bad science and makes all of an author's writing suspect and unprofessional.
I'm not a biologist, but followed along just fine. Great book to help people understand the processes of evolution without absolutely requiring a biology degree. Loved the chapter about the Prisoner's Dilemma.
This book is wonderful! I have not studied biology in the slightest and I was able to understand every concept in this book with incredible ease. The whole thing is effortless and Dawkins was the one to make it so.
If you've ever been interested in genes, definitely buy this book. If you've ever been interested in humans, buy this book.
Actually quite amazing.
Some chapters are tedious and boring. Over analyzing very specific forms of life, mostly without purpose.
But the chapters with purpose are obviously amazing in concept and in clarity.
The ideas mentioned in this book, despite being essential for the understanding of evolutionary biology, are scarcely mentioned in science media.
I liked the double - narrative idea. Thinking about it, a triple - narrative would start to become a distraction. I hope I see more double - narrative audiobooks in the future.
Richard has put many arguments for his ideas and these arguments are both pleasing and actually make sense.
An advice for listening to the book is to keep in mind the rules which are stated before the narrator starts to talk about examples, initial conditions and consequences.
!!The next part includes contents from the book, if you don't want any spoiling, do not read anymore of this review!!
The idea of replicators is very amazing and I believe more people need know about it, especially the fact that replicators need not be genes, like memes.
Because the book is old, You'll hear Richard talking about methods in which people misunderstood the arguments in the book.
I know this is supposed to be a seminal work. I don't doubt that it contains fascinating ideas well worth thinking about, but listening to the pompous narration and tedious writing style was simply too much to bare.