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 thought I had a working understanding of genetics and it's affect on the world around us. Prof. Dawkins took me on a ride that opened my eyes not just to the effects but the beautiful simplicity of the systems that caused us to be.
As all of Dr Dawkins books are, this book is outstanding. It explains why genetics works as it does. Very clear.
Really makes you look at life in a totally different light. If you're thinking about getting this book, I highly recommend it, and the performance was really great as well.
Selfish gene theory explained for the novice
Dawkins covers all the end notes while Lalla Ward reads the main text. The difference works well in that it allows for Dawkin's interesting end notes without breaking the flow.
This is one of the best audiobooks I've owned. The book itself covers a complex topic well. The flow is maintained in the footnotes where Dawkins refers forward. So the classic is maintained in terms of exposition while you also get to hear how the theory was responded to and itself evolved over the decades.
If you are the sort of person who would consider this book then you will very likely be happy if you buy it.
I truly enjoyed this book. I have learned more biology in this book than all the time in school.
If I had read this book, rather than listened to it, I might not have made it through the chapters on game theory. There is so much detail about the mechanics of gene replication that I will need to listen to the book again in the near future, which I will definitely be happy to do. Both narrators do a wonderful job, I never tire of their voices.