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The Selfish Gene Audiobook

The Selfish Gene

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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Douglas 03-04-12
    Douglas 03-04-12 Member Since 2008

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

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    "A seminal book..."

    but those who left the nearly worshipful reviews don't seem to know that better and more up to date work has been done on the topic of Darwinian genetics. For one, Dawkins could have cleared a LOT of confusion about this book by simply using the term "self-interested" rather "selfish"--there is a considerable difference where genetics is concerned, especially when he starts shuffling around words/concepts like "selfish" and "altruistic" and "altruism for selfish means." The one huge flaw in his work is that he proclaims that "there is no higher purpose in nature than propagation of DNA..." This invokes the logical fallacy of begging the question. It is the most scientific explanation of nature, yes, but (the question it begs) "does/has science discover/discovered everything?" Read this book first as a primer, and then go on to the better work that has been done since on the theme of Darwinian genetics, self-interest and altruism, particularly that by Robert Wright, and especially his book THE MORAL ANIMAL.

    20 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas 06-13-15
    Douglas 06-13-15
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    "Fantastic production"

    Every Dawkins audiobook I've listened to has been exceptionally well produced and this is no exception. He takes the time to rearrange and add to the text to better fit the audio format, make it comparatively easy to follow, and include additional updates. The book itself is an absolute must listen for anyone with even a passing interest in the history of life on our planet.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wade T. Brooks Portland, OR, USA 06-25-12
    Wade T. Brooks Portland, OR, USA 06-25-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Pure Awesome"

    This is Richard Dawkins 1976 masterwork on evolutionary biology from the perspective of gene selection. The updated edition is as poignant today as when it was penned. Updates include fascinating studies supporting many of the hypotheses forwarded in the original text.

    Dawkins is an excellent writer and uses non-scientific vocabulary and analogies to explain complex biological models in an easy to understand and informative way.

    Other areas touched on include game theory models (the prisoners dilemma) as a basis for understanding an ESS (Evolutionarily Stable Strategy), memes (a term he coined) and computer virus.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tomer AMSTERDAM, Netherlands 11-08-15
    Tomer AMSTERDAM, Netherlands 11-08-15 Member Since 2010
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    "Interesting though tedious at times"

    Very interesting read; the writer attempt (as he states in the preface) to reach the professional, the student and the layman, makes this book a bit difficult to digest (I am a member of the third group...).
    The added commentary and Dawkins' need to answer his critics is more then tedious and irritating at times - unnecessary additions to my taste.
    I would recommend to come supplied with good deal of patience for this read - if you do, it is facinating ...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    eriyasu 10-02-15
    eriyasu 10-02-15
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    "can listen to it over and over again."

    narration was superb and the info is timeless. I will certainly be listening to this for many years to come

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AShopper 09-29-15
    AShopper 09-29-15
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    "Great - minus the pedantic footnotes"
    Any additional comments?

    This would have been better presented as two options: 1) read with footnotes and asides inline, or 2) read without footnotes entirely. Classic book. Great listen. Gets a bit bogged down, unnecessarily.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 05-22-12
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 05-22-12 Member Since 2016

    l'enfer c'est les autres

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    "Still relevant after all these years"

    Author states that any philosophy of man's place in the universe before Darwin's 1859 "Origin of Species" will be incomplete. The book fully supports that statement. His metaphors for understanding genes and evolution are the best you'll ever come across. He explains the science so that even I can understand it.

    I warn you, if you listen to this Dawkins book, you will listen to all of his others. I have and I am much wiser for it.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Abingdon, United Kingdom 04-29-11
    Thomas Abingdon, United Kingdom 04-29-11 Member Since 2010
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    "A must-read"

    30 years on, and this book may well still be the definitive popular book on gene-centric evolutionary biology. This 3rd edition has new chapters and endnotes giving us Dawkins' reflection on his original ideas with the benefit of a good-deal of hindsight. An absolute must read for anyone wanting to claim modern scientific literacy!

    25 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann 09-20-15
    Ann 09-20-15
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    "Obnoxious treatment of footnotes"

    Dawkins made the decision to read the footnotes thought the text of the book rather than update the book itself. The footnotes probably ended up being longer than the text itself. The self-important and unnecessary commentary sprinkled throughout also distracted from the point of the book.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    john Battery Point, Australia 01-25-13
    john Battery Point, Australia 01-25-13 Member Since 2017
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    "Required"
    Where does The Selfish Gene rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 10


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    "Who's driving this bus"


    Any additional comments?

    Having the footnotes and extra comments read by Ward was a highly effective way of keeping track of which idea stream we are in. A good idea very effectively implemented.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
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  • AD
    Cambridge United Kingdom
    9/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Too irritating to finish"

    Have you ever had a meeting with a salesman who is on a day out with his manager and every few minutes the manager chips in with corrections and comments? After about 30 minutes you're ready to throw them both out of your office. That's what its like listening to this book. Dawkins' wife reads the original text which is interpolated by Dawkins himself with commentary and end notes.

    The interruptions to the narrative are infuriating and I found myself grinding my teeth in anticipation of the next one. It doesn't help that Dawkins himself comes over as smug, superior and self-important.

    I already shared Dawkins point of view before I started the book but found myself wishing that I didn't.

    If you are going to add so much to your original work then you should re-write it.

    One that may be better read than listened to.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Emma
    8/3/13
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    "A real eye opener"
    Would you listen to The Selfish Gene again? Why?

    I will listen to this book over and over again because of the immense detail.


    What about Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward ’s performance did you like?

    Clear and easy to understand their voices.


    Any additional comments?

    Very well written and read, additional notes are read at the end chapter to make the book flow nicely.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Avi D Reader
    United Kingdom
    9/11/15
    Overall
    "Spoiled by argumentative author's pedantry"

    too much self justifying response to decades old arguments by the author- and do we really need a lecture in the pronunciation of 'algae', I think not..

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Balor of the Evil Eye
    Éire
    2/14/14
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    "An engaging portrait of our fundamentals!"

    This updated edition of The Selfish Gene showcases much of what people love and hate about Richard Dawkins' preferences when presenting his theses. An unquestionably solid empirical approach to explaining his theory of the form, function and dissemination of genes tainted in part by a somewhat arrogant demand that you either accept his conclusions or admit that you are at best being obtuse, or at worst, a religious zealot.
    Interesting examples are presented to assist the listener understand how genes move down through the generations, perhaps the most interesting are those that detail why certain genes proliferate and others fall away as they engage in a possibly hopeless mission to achieve a stable evolutionary strategy.
    Undoubtedly the best explanation of gene theory I've encountered thus far.

    The narration performance by Dawkins and Ward is quite good and logically implemented.

    I have bought other Dawkins audiobooks, this is probably the most satisfying.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • James
    Wakefield, United Kingdom
    12/29/12
    Overall
    "Each to his own format...."

    I think this is a tremendously important book, and everyone should own it. But I'm just not sure that it is suited to the audiobook format. Some of the concepts can be quite complicated and I prefer to have a book in my hand when I feel the need to re-read something a couple of times... You are perfectly entitled to disagree and if you think you can digest a reasonably complex layman's book on science via audio then go for it.



    However, I'm also not a fan of Lalla Ward's contributions. I find her more of a hindrance to understanding than a help (especially in 'The God Delusion' where a second voice was meant to clarify the narrative).



    My advice to people is to actually buy the book physically, or as an eBook... sorry audible ;p

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    7/16/17
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    "perfect for audio"

    brilliantly narrated by dawkins and ward, would recommend to anyone interested in zoology, biology or human ancestral history

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. R. Bond
    Wiltshire, England
    7/15/17
    Overall
    Performance
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    "The classic masterwork of Richard Dawkins"
    If you could sum up The Selfish Gene in three words, what would they be?

    Genes building machines


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Selfish Gene is the star of this book


    Which character – as performed by Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward – was your favourite?

    The thoughtful narrators


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but it requires multiple listens as it is a vast subject area.


    Any additional comments?

    This is the book that Dawkins should be remembered for. I enjoy his later works and his discussions on the danger of religion but this book is beyond our trivial notions of belief, this book describes the processes at work that have sculpted the evolution of life on earth.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • jessica
    7/12/17
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    "Mind blowing!"

    A very interesting thought provoking listen. I am no biologist but Dawkins does a fantastic job of making the material accessible to the layperson. This book has changed how I see the natural world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Derek
    7/12/17
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Still fascinating"

    This book is still fascinating even though it is decades old. The analogies are well thought out and examples of real world life cases are plenty. I am a Christian and despite Dawkins' few atheist comments and conclusions, I very much enjoyed and learned from this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Andrzej Rutkowski
    England
    4/29/17
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    Performance
    Story
    "Incredible"

    I regret that The Selfish Gene was the first audiobook I've ever got on audible. Because it set a standard of expectations of how enjoyable listening to an audiobook should be that no other audiobook matched up to. No other audiobook that I listened to subsequently came even close in terms of how fascinating the central message is, in terms of the clarity and strength of the arguments being made, the quality of the narration and the pleasant tone of the narrators' voice. Dawkins took his masterpiece of a book and together with his wife remade it into a masterpiece of an audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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