Richard Dawkins' brilliant reformulation of the theory of natural selection has the rare distinction of having provoked as much excitement and interest outside the scientific community as within it. His theories have helped change the whole nature of the study of social biology, and have forced thousands to rethink their beliefs about life.
In his internationally best-selling, now classic, volume, The Selfish Gene, Dawkins explains how the selfish gene can also be a subtle gene. The world of the selfish gene revolves around savage competition, ruthless exploitation, and deceit, and yet, Dawkins argues, acts of apparent altruism do exist in nature. Bees, for example, will commit suicide when they sting to protect the hive, and birds will risk their lives to warn the flock of an approaching hawk.
©1989 Richard Dawkins (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Dawkins first book, The Selfish Gene, was a smash hit.... Best of all, Dawkins laid out this biology - some of it truly subtle - in stunningly lucid prose. (It is, in my view, the best work of popular science ever written.)" (H. Allen Orr, Professor of Biology, University of Rochester, in The New York Review of Books)
The trunk of the author's argument about gene selection is as godless and "anti-agency of man" as anything I've ever read. It's persuasive, fascinating, shocking, educational and hopeless all at the same time. He doesn't present his ideas as theory, he promotes them as doctrine. On its face, it helped me understand gene selection. More broadly it also lends perspective to whole segments of liberal academia and society--especially those who despise religion (like the author). Other reviews have mentioned how it rocked their faith. For me it made me appreciate mine more.
As interesting as the content is, the recorded performance is almost unlistenable. They chose a narrator with an erudite British accent. It's pretty much straight out of the BBC and infers a sense of academic superiority. When it is combined with the author’s pretentious way of expressing himself, it's almost unlistenable. In this 30th anniversary edition, the author himself reads his own footnotes, which interrupt the main narrator's flow. It's like watching a movie you've never seen and it has the soundtrack for the directors commentary turned on. Just about the time you are following the idea in the chapter he chimes in with a footnote that more often than not amounts to him taking a victory lap for how great his book has been after 30 years--that and he spends a lot of time tisk tisking his academic rivals (who the lay person has never heard of). The author is obviously brilliant but if he were at a party you wouldn't be able to stand being around him.
The best sellers page on this site makes me very sad.
Though a tad light on the hard science, Dawkins' exemplary intelligence and passion make this a compelling read. Accessible to laymen and interesting enough to keep the attention of those who may not find biological textbooks to be utterly captivating beach reading material.
I have read and absolutely loved other books by Dawkins (The God Delusion and The Magic of Reality) but found this one much more scientific and hard to follow - and, well, not nearly as compelling. For my not-so-scientific mind, I would have preferred less detail. Perhaps a printed copy would be easier to get through - audiobooks make it difficult to skim through parts you're less interested in, and this one is quite long.
However, Dawkins and Ward are excellent narrators and pleasant to listen to.
the meme, because it makes me want to find other books on that, it was something i was aware of since i was a meaning-seeking teenager. but i'd also like more good books this easy to understand and as entertaining but even deeper on evolution itself. so sad evolution is under attack now--it was not so when I was in high school 50 years ago!
yes well the god delusion was good too but this is the foundation book, i think. i looked at their other books on evolution but they seemed repetitive--i could be wrong, but i'd like to try other authors as honest and clear as dawkins
no, and i intend to listen to it more than once
This book has a lot of incredible ideas presented with candor and grace. Much of the content is intensely logical so the reader should take frequent breaks to take in each step. The reading is kept fresh by alternating male and female readers. I do love this author though I dont always agree with him on general conclusions. Concpet of meme (sp?) is great to take from this book also.
Got through it and learned some valuable knowledge about the gene pool, not really my cup of tea.
One of the best for anyone wanting to learn about the origins of life and who else better to convey the message than Richard Dawkins.
Slow going, still trying to finish it after many months. I occasionally come back to to it in between books.
I had heard so much about Richard Dawkins that I thought I would give one of his books a try. I only listened to about 3 hours of the book and had enough. Even though he says he tried to write the book for non-scientists, I found the book to be more lecture and too technical. There was no motivation for me to keep reading because I don't know that I learned anything.
Probably not unless a cliff's note version is available.
I love Dawkins writing style and the fact that he/his wife read the audio made it especially amazing!! I really need to re-read this at least a couple more times!
No kidding, easy to understand narrative which many times had me, literally, laughing out loud. Other times I was just in awe, "why didn't I see that before?"
Yes. I had a long road trip scheduled and saved this book specifically for that.
Thanks for the recommendation, Joseph!!
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