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)
I've enjoyed listening to this book tremendously. I'm totally new to this topic but still found it easy to understand. Can't wait to read (listen to) his other books.
Up there with the best, it puts what I have seen in nature into a context that allows greater understanding of why nature goes to extremes.
Some sections required a second listen, the understanding to flow is worth the effort.
Not that sort of book.
I could not listen to it in one sitting, it required concentration, but the quality of writing made the subject easier, it is great to feel comfortable with my level of understanding now, but I suspect very few people could get a good understanding in one sitting. Like a complex movie, the second time around is just as revealing as the first.
Book Listener & Radio Drama Enthusiast.
It brought clarity to my understanding of the beginnings and developments of life.
I would recommend this book to everyone.
The alternation between voices was a good way of adding notes
and breaking up sections clearly.
Both Dawkins and Ward have pleasant voices.
The book was highly recommended by a couple of friends. So I bought it. As it turns out this audio version is a new and improved (???) version of the original book. With insertion of rebuttal by author against every little slight inflicted by any and all intellectual experts on the subject over the past 20+ years. The result is horrible. The author interjects in every paragraph refereeing to some slight by someone and tries to rebut the slight. We the poor reader has no clue about the full extent and the context of the slight asa result this might get the ego of the author satisfied, but for a reader it is most irritating and completely takes away from the central point the author was trying to make. After first couple of hours of listening the whole experience was irritating that I stopped listening.
I took a course Genetics in college eons ago and purchased the book to bring myself up to date on evolutionary theory. The science in the book was quite informative and I enjoyed it. Unfortunately the science is buried in mounds of self justification by the author who attempts to defend in this redo his original 1970's work. It may have been criticized heavily at the time, judging by the lengths to which the author goes, but other than the Nobel Committee, who would care? I should have bought the original edition.
I bought this book based on the rave reviews of Dr. Dawkins original book. Unfortunately, the frequent asides referring to his first book and the many references to journal articles he has written make the new book tedious. Rather than rewrite his book and update the material, the author takes the original book and adds various paragraphs explaining how his findings have either been upheld or misunderstood. The book is unnecessarily long and repetitive. Can I get my money back?
The book is great, perhaps a scientific classic now, but the author reads every single footnote, which makes the listening slow and unbearably boring.
The footnotes are optional or to be read later if you want. This author doesn't want you to miss any of his boring notes. This in my opinion is a serious lack of respect to the listener.
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.
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