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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

4.3 (4108 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Chris 01-19-17
    Chris 01-19-17 Member Since 2017

    My love for science is a love of truth, or at least the only sense of truth we can grasp.

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    "It makes you want to buy the Extended phenotype"

    A Great book by Richard presented in an interesting and engaging manner.

    I really enjoyed the explanation of evolutionarily stable strategies.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katie 12-26-16
    Katie 12-26-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Excellent read"

    Revolutionary thinking about evolutionary biology. Dawkins' ability to think outside the box is truly exceptional .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rishi Tiwari 12-13-16 Member Since 2017
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    "I am an Accountant and I loved it!"

    It was like listening to a lecture. Very interesting, entertaining and curiously appeared to have few dotted line reference to Hindu philosophy. Makes one wonder whether the ancient name of genes was Soul?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chicagojon 12-10-16
    Chicagojon 12-10-16
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    "Long, but we'll worth it"

    I'm new to audio books and don't know what an average length is but this felt very long. The Evolutionary Stable Systems early on though was fascinating and the game theory at the end was great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colum P Morgan 12-05-16
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    "distracting and hard to follow"

    It's an interesting topic of how our genes evolved. Very smart and academic. Great book, if you can follow.

    She reads the original published book; he reads all the updates made since the publication of the original book. It's hard to keep up with all the tangents. By the time we come back to the female narrator we've forgotten what she was talking about. I wish they could release this book as the original. Tough book to follow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Travino Cordova 11-30-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Another comprehensive perspective to our existence"

    It took a while to finish, but it would be worth a second round of listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hans 11-29-16
    Hans 11-29-16 Member Since 2017
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    "A good book spoiled"

    This is probably an excellent book to read, but the audiobook is spoiled by the author’s interruptions of his narrator. He interjects footnotes and often breaks in with a self-satisfied air explaining why he is correct and other scientists wrong. The rest of the time he seems to be enlarging on points made adequately in the book, doing this so frequently and tediously that the book’s coherence is lost. I lost patience with it about halfway through.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tuer 11-24-16
    Tuer 11-24-16 Member Since 2016
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    "He says it's for the layperson, but..."

    There are dozens and dozens of concepts packed into this book. I figure I assimilated maybe three of them. Dawkins' ad nauseum examples do not help my learning. I am glad I read it, as it is surely a very important book. But I spent waaaay too long at it for what I came away with. One more thing: for an audio book a good narrator is crucial. Dawkins should never narrate his own books. His voice is annoying: plaintive, defensive. He seems preoccupied with who is right and who is wrong.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan 11-06-16
    Dan 11-06-16 Member Since 2008
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    "Intelligent and naive"

    The author offers concise and powerful empirical accounts of the natural world. The hint of ostentation never quite clears the air however. The author seems to have already proven a unified theory to himself, which may in itself be the bust proclaiming a unified theory. There is little hope or account of our species' unique emotional and social palettes. The Higgs field is not present in a vacuum for this guy. Could not finish it and I thought I finished reading everything.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua Albuquerque, NM 10-31-16
    Joshua Albuquerque, NM 10-31-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Really good book!"

    Even as a believer in creation, I thoroughly enjoyed this books scientific approach to explaining the behaviors of our genes and the selfish nature that often drives them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Michael
    Banbury, United Kingdom
    7/9/11
    Overall
    "A wonderful book, wonderfully narrated"

    I have lost count of the number of times I have read this book. From my battered copy of the first edition to the newer, but still well thumbed, later one. Now an audio book! An audio book narrated by Richard Dawkins himself and his wife Lalla Ward. It was a must have! It is a must have for anyone interested in the great question - where did we come from! In this early book Dawkins has not yet displayed his atheistic position quite so obviously [although it is still present] and, in a way, that makes the book even more impressive. As a scientific narrative it is excellent. The arguments, the examples, and the explanations are crystal clear and, whether or not you actually agree with the position he takes, it is an interesting journey. It was a book which helped me to get to where I am today and, being honest, clarified my thoughts about God, the Universe, and everything! I think it is the sheer wonder of natural selection as a 'system' that destroys the foundation for a creator. It is such a 'simple' thing.
    The narration is above excellent. Dawkins has a wonderfully effective speaking voice [his lectures are a pleasure] and the interposition of his wife's voice add interest and variety. If you have an interest in one of the 'great questions' - if not the only one - then listen to this book.

    26 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    8/20/11
    Overall
    "Great listen"

    The Selfish Gene restarted a function and feeling in my brain that I've not felt for a long time. It was a much welcome catalyst for brain activity. I'm a 23 year old without any A-levels or degree with no (other than intrinsic) interest in the theory of natural selection.

    It is an interesting book, full of great ideas and explanations. I found myself having several 'ah-ha' moments and feeling enlightened by many of the explanations. I was quite happy with all off the explanations put forward in the book, since I could apply my own logic in all cases. You shouldn't belive everything you read in a book, but in this case I am yet to be convinced otherwise. It made sense and in a brain-excercise kind of way, was incredibly enjoyable.

    I've remember reading somewhere that this book was a depressing realisation of life and I'd tend to agree, since it breaks life down to a single motivation - survival. For that reason, I found the book even more interesting to absorb.

    The naration is excellent, from both Lalla Ward and Richard Dawkins himself.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • R
    Bishops Stortford, United Kingdom
    3/10/12
    Overall
    "gene and survival machine"

    I bought this book wondering whether the passage of time would have dulled it but far from it, the end-notes added by Richard Dawkins, inserted in the right place in the audio track, really add to the story and make it clear when things have changed (few) and when they have been reinforced (many). This is a clear benefit of the audio over the written version. Well-argued, clear and thought-provoking - if you haven't heard it you should. Excellent book, read really well (I like the double act of voices).

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Ross
    Faversham, United Kingdom
    12/27/12
    Overall
    "The Original and Best of Dawkins"

    All Dawkin's books are good, but in my view this is the best of the lot. This was a truely groundbreaking book when published in '76. This audio version, incorporating updates since the first publication shows how all Dawkins original arguments have stood the test of time.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Lindsay Kay Caddy
    Guildford, United Kingdom
    7/5/12
    Overall
    "Thoroughly interesting"

    Ive always wanted to read one of Dawkins books, I bought the Blind Watchmaker but didn't get round to reading it and so bought this audiobook. I'm glad I did it, although the book was more interesting in some places than others that is only to be expected. I loved hearing Dawkins updates to the original text, well narrated and an excellent read.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Dr
    Barnsley, United Kingdom
    9/8/12
    Overall
    "Much more than just the book"

    I first read The Selfish Gene as a year one psychology student in 1982, and had not kept up with the new editions, aside for putting them on reading lists (The Extended Phenotype is my favourite of Darwkins' books). The point about the audiobook is that it is much, much more than a new edition: Prof. Dawkins has used the possibilities of the medium to create a new and more worthwhile communication of his ideas, and perhaps more importantly, the changes in them, as evidence has appeared which tests them. So, using his own voice, and that of Lalla Ward, he weaves the changes in his ideas around the stable parts. As scientific text this works brilliantly, but as a study of change in ideas it would be hard to better. This format is going on my new "reading list" - so that my students can experience the philosophy and development of science, as well as grasp the ideas of a distinguished biologist. Almost as good as a term of Oxford University College tutorials (well, you can stop the play, but not ask a question). Brilliant, highly recommend.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Jeremy
    Malvern Wells, United Kingdom
    2/6/12
    Overall
    "If you only read one book on evolution - read TSG!"

    I first read this book back in 1981, and I loved it then. Such a clear, concise and closely argued exegesis of the "genes eye view" of evolution, it is a delight hearing it read by Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward.

    He has a gift for bringing evolution alive, and all his evolutionary biology books sparkle like gems with clarity and brilliance. TSG is no exception. Please do more! I would love to hear "The Extended Phenotype", "Unweaving the Rainbow", "River Out of Eden" and "The Devils Chaplain" and all his others as audiobooks.

    One thing I should say is "The Selfish Gene" is probably one of the most misunderstood books in history (second only to "The Origin of Species"). It is about altruism as much as selfishness, cooperation as much as competition, mutualism and reciprocity as much as parasitism and predation. In short, it is a thorough working out, using Game Theory and the Hamilton Equation, the best Evolutionary Stable Strategy for a gene to thrive in the gene pool. In short, the consequences of evolution for us as vehicles built by genes for their survival. It explains basic questions, like why there are two sexes, why males take greater risks, why there is sex at all, and why we all start life from a single cell.

    Nowadays, there are many variants on evolutionary theory, such as "Multi Level Selection", "Punctuated Equilibrium" and (my personal favourite) "Dual Inheritance Theory". However, in this competitive environment TSG hold up well, with surprisingly little that needed changing from 1973. Perhaps a chapter on epigenetic inheritance, inducible mutation and gene networks might be added if written today...

    However, if you want a clear, rational, enlightening explanation of evolution, the strategies used by genes, and the consequences for us as gene vehicles, get this audiobook.

    16 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Harihar
    United Kingdom
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A mind opener"
    If you could sum up The Selfish Gene in three words, what would they be?

    Impressive, persuasive and conclusive.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Although this is not really a story, but the way the whole concept has been explained with clear examples, it really leaves no questions. Once you've gone through the whole book, one becomes a strong supporter of Darwinism automatically. Great respect for Richard Dawkins and ofcourse finally to Darwin. Once you understand the theory one wonders how such an obvious point is not clear to anyone.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The parts which explains True altruism.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • S. Jenö
    Budapest, Hungary
    6/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "impressive"

    It was an essential book, when it came out first, and thanks to the careful rewrites of the new editions, it's still on the top. If everyone would understand it, the world would be a better place. Or at least it would be well understood.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • T. Griffith
    London, UK
    4/8/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing book"
    What did you like most about The Selfish Gene?

    I love the natural history that is introduced - as well as his referring to mathematical models, some erudition concerning the fate/state of man - with not TOO much politically correct screening. I also love the way he debates things - with himself - and others and brings their work and his work in. It might sound self-serving from a distance but it's also analytical and discerning.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Having the female voice breaks up the listening experience and helps to differentiate between the different threads. I love the fact that footnotes are read throughout.


    Have you listened to any of Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    I had never heard his voice before. It's fascinating.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It felt quite nostalgic. Back in the 60s and 70s people seemed to have time for animals and research. I'm not sure we do now.


    Any additional comments?

    I look forward to listening to it many more times, perhaps taking notes and looking at the internet at the same time sometimes to give me a "bigger picture".

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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