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)
It introduced me to concepts like the ESS and all of the tradeoffs involved in evolution, and explains why it is necessary to look from the point of view of the gene to understand evolution.
"We are survival machines – robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. This is a truth which still fills me with astonishment"
First published in 1976, this edition has updates that amplify or correct some of the original work. The author also explains certain challenges to his theory and counters those challenges in his precise fashion.
I can only recommend this book if you have an interest in the origins of life and are curious as to how the sub-cellular world works. Having this curiosity is all you need, as the author does an excellent job in describing his theories in terms that even a layman like myself can understand.
I've experienced narration duet of Dawkins and Ward in another work, so I knew what to expect, but the switch between the two very different voices can catch the new comer off guard. I does work though, and doesn't detract from the work at all.
At 16 hours, this is by no means a quick or easy listen, but it does deliver a lot of information to think upon and does so in an easy to understand and enjoyable format. The introduction, at the end, of the "Extended Phenotype" is an excellent introduction to another of Dawkins' theories, and may wet your appetite for more.
Borderline. I didn't find the subject matter anywhere near as interesting as I expected to.
Most interesting was that some of the key ideas presented are disputed by other respected experts in the field.
Their collective performance was excellent
Richard Dawkins is a personal hero but this book just didn't get me excited. It was a slog with the odd interesting morsel thrown in a long the way.
I would recommend this book for anyone who is wondering how the world works.
Basically a modern version of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin the brings Charles ideas back and with new discoveries that bring the story of life together
Richard Dawkins is both a philosopher and a scientist that makes complicated subjects and ideas easy to digest by most audiences.
Fascinating, magnificent, solid
The general message; let go of thinking of the world as inhabited by individuals (men or animals). Instead we are machines, used by our genes to stay alive indefinitely.
Alright, sounds creepy, but explains so much more from the world around us.
Just fascination, and great to be able to grasp the theory of evolution on a deeper level than I was taught in school.
The Narrators did a great job of not making this sound boring by avoiding monotone voices and by switching the voice from time to time between male and female. Additionally, it is written in a way that includes humor from time to time which also makes it enjoyable.
I really loved the part discussing ants farming the aphids for food. Fascinating.
Biology of the human psyche.
It kept me listening. Even though it was not a novel, it kept me going, wanting to know more.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Charles Darwin is in the pantheon of great intuitive geniuses. Richard Dawkins reinforces Darwin’s beliefs in his 30th anniversary edition of “The Selfish Gene”, originally published in 1976.
“The Selfish Gene” theory fails biology like string theory fails physics. Controlled experiments cannot presently prove or disprove Dawkins’ gene hypothesis. On the other hand, both gene and string theory hypotheses are plausible arguments for the evolution of biological life and the physics of a Planck’ sized world.
Putting aside Dawkins’ gene hypothesis, his game theory analogies for human behavior are terrific and worth knowing, whether one believes in “The Selfish Gene” or not. In this time of government turmoil in the United States, Dawkins explanation of suckers, cheaters, and grudgers is enlightening.
Suckers are all the tax paying Americans that want to be left alone and only pay taxes to comply with the law. Cheaters are Americans that game the system through tax avoidance, exploitation, and political contribution based on self-interest. The remaining Americans are grudgers that fight the cheaters and rally the suckers to preserve human freedom, and equal opportunity. If the grudgers are outweighed by the suckers and cheaters, democracy in America is destined to become as extinct as the Dodo bird.
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