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 book deserves credit for shifting my understanding of evolution from a focus on the organism to a focus on the genes. Organisms are just "replicator survival machines" in Dawken's parlance. He also introduces the idea of a meme, which has relevance today in our Internet driven society.
These grand concepts were fascinating. Dawkins goes on to explain in extreme detail how his theory applies to many different specific biological situations. These elaborate explanations were much less interesting. His constant footnotes to call out this or that individual who questioned his work was also too in the weeds for my taste.
In summary, the first part of the book, the big idea, was very good. The middle and end parts dealt in detail that would only interest a dedicated student of evolutionary theory.
I finally got to listen to this classic exposition of the selfish gene theory. This provided a good and clear basic explanation of the topic. He also covered the idea of memes as replicating entities similar to genes but in the cultural sense.
Because this was an anniversary edition, there was some extra material included that updated, corrected, or extended material in the original edition.
The author and narrator Lalla Ward tag-team the narration, switching back and forth to indicate the original text or the inclusion of notes and new material.
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.
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