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The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene (Popular Science) [Paperback]

Richard Dawkins , Daniel Dennett
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Mar 1999 Popular Science
carries on from where

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The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene (Popular Science) + The Blind Watchmaker + The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary edition
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; 2nd Revised edition edition (4 Mar 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192880519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192880512
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.8 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Richard Dawkins first catapulted to fame with his iconic work The Selfish Gene, which he followed with a string of bestselling books: The Extended Phenotype, The Blind Watchmaker, River Out of Eden, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, The Ancestor's Tale, The God Delusion, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Magic of Reality, and a collection of his shorter writings, A Devil's Chaplain.

Dawkins is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature. He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the Royal Society of Literature Award (1987), the Michael Faraday Award of the Royal Society (1990), the International Cosmos Prize for Achievement in Human Science (1997), the Kistler Prize (2001), the Shakespeare Prize (2005), the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science (2006), the Galaxy British Book Awards Author of the Year Award (2007), the Deschner Prize (2007) and the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest (2009). He retired from his position as the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University in 2008 and remains a fellow of New College.

In 2012, scientists studying fish in Sri Lanka created Dawkinsia as a new genus name, in recognition of his contribution to the public understanding of evolutionary science. In the same year, Richard Dawkins appeared in the BBC Four television series Beautiful Minds, revealing how he came to write The Selfish Gene and speaking about some of the events covered in his latest book, An Appetite for Wonder. In 2013, Dawkins was voted the world's top thinker in Prospect magazine's poll of 10,000 readers from over 100 countries.

Product Description


takes off. It is a fascinating look at the evolution of life and natural selection. Dawkins's theory is that individual organisms are replicators that have extended phenotypic effects on society and the world at large, thus our genes have the ability to manipulate other individuals. A worldwide bestseller, this book has become a classic in popular science writing.

By the best selling author of The Selfish Gene

'This entertaining and thought-provoking book is an excellent illustration of why the study of evolution is in such an exciting ferment these days.'


'The Extended Phenotype is a sequel to The Selfish Gene . . . he writes so clearly it could be understood by anyone prepared to make the effort'

John Maynard Smith, London Review of Books

'Dawkins is quite incapable of being boring this characteristically brilliant and stimulating book is original and provocative throughout, and immensely enjoyable.'

G. A. Parker, Heredity

'The extended phenotype is certainly a big idea and it is pressed hard in dramatic language.'

Sydney Brenner, Nature

'Richard Dawkins, our most radical Darwinian thinker, is also our best science writer.'

Douglas Adams

'Dawkins is a superb communicator. His books are some of the best books ever written on science.'

Megan Tressider, Guardian

'Dawkins is a genius of science popularization.'

Mark Ridley, The Times

Book Description

is a sequel to (John Maynard Smith, LRB)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
This is a work of unabashed advocacy. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Firstly in reference to another review below, I think it is mean-spirited to give a negative review to a book you confess not to be capable of understanding!
This book was marketed as the sequel to The Selfish Gene, and chronologically it certainly was. However, the book is far more scholarly in its approach and for that reason is different in tone from Dawkins' other major works. Dawkins states at the outset that he is writing primarily for the professional biologist, but that anyone who makes the effort may understand and enjoy the work (I paraphrase).
This is true. With occasional reference to the helpful and educational glossary provided at the back of the book, I found it easy to make progress, to enjoy and to follow the arguments presented. I highly recommend this to all professionals, and to all others who may have read Dawkins' other works and feel ready to go deeper.
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting but challenging read 8 Dec 2004
"The Extended Phenotype" is the 4th and most demanding of Richard Dawkins' books that I've read. I hadn't realized that it was aimed mainly at his professional colleagues so was surprised at the amount of concentration, hard thinking and puzzled head scratching required to work through it. But what a glow of satisfaction: to finish such a challenging book, feeling that most of it has made sense to me. Like his other books (the ones I've read: "The Selfish Gene", "The Blind Watchmaker" and "Unweaving The Rainbow"), it's beautifully clearly written, with most of the more esoteric terms defined in the glossary at the back of the book. Not all of the terms could be found there however and nor were many of those to be found in an ordinary dictionary. The book is not so self-contained as those aimed at the more 'popular science' end of the market - the ones that you can read from cover to cover without reaching for a dictionary or other source of clarification. That's why I can only claim to have understood *most* rather than *all* of the book.
This book follows on from "The Selfish Gene" and in it, Dawkins argues that the phonotypic effects of genes do not stop at the limits of the organisms that carry them. He suggests, for example, that the phenotypic expression of beaver genes stretch right to the edges of the lakes formed by their dams and the genes of some parasites are expressed in their hosts. So a snail might behave in a manner that puts itself in harm's way because the fluke living inside it has, somehow, managed to modify the snail's behaviour for its own ends - say to continue its life cycle inside one of the snail's predators. That is to say, the snail's behaviour is maximizing the survival of fluke genes rather than snail genes.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth it 10 Jan 2005
They weren't kidding when they said that this book is a bit more scholarly than The Selfish Gene. But in a good way: you can be sure that this is really what Dawkins wanted to say rather than some editor's attempt to make it more "accessible". You don't need to be a professional biologist but it might be a good idea to keep one standing by.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent as always 2 Aug 2005
By Rob
As much as I love all Dawkins' books, this is probably my favourite. It explains how genes are not content to build organisms to ride around in - they also build structures like beaver dams, nests and so on, which are just as much an expression of genes as overtly biological traits and further perpetuate the genes' selfish 'desires'.
This is a really good treatment of that subject - you are unlikely to find any better.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The essentials of life's story 15 Aug 2005
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME
Biodiversity is more than a buzzword for ecologists. Variation gives life its grandeur, and Richard Dawkins gives us a description of the workings of variation. Fortunately, with a sharp mind and sharper wit, he has the ability to deliver this portrayal so that nearly everyone can understand it. That's not to say this book is an easy read. Although he delivers his narration as if sitting with you in a quiet study, you may still need to review his words more than once. That's not a challenge or a chore, it's a pleasure.
Dawkins, unlike other science writers, is forthright in declaring his advocacy in writing this book. It's a refreshing start to his most serious effort. After publication of The Selfish Gene led to a storm of fatuous criticism, Extended Phenotype comes in response with more detail of how the gene manifests itself in the organism and its environment. It's clear that Dawkins' critics, who label him an "Ultra-Darwinist" [whatever that is] haven't read this book. His critics frequently argue that The Selfish Gene doesn't operate in a vacuum, but must deal within some kind of environment, from an individual cell to global scenarios. Dawkins deftly responds to critics in describing how genes rely on their environment for successful replication. If the replication doesn't survive in the environment it finds itself, then it, and perhaps its species, will die out.
The child's favourite question, "why" is difficult enough for parents and teachers to answer. Yet, as thinking humans we've become trained to deal with that question nearly every context. So well drilled that we consider something for which that question has no answer to be suspicious if not insidious. Part of Dawkins presentation here reiterates that there is no "why" to either the process of evolution nor its results.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Author Richard Dawkins
Gift: Recipient was delighted
Published 8 days ago by Debbie S
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't know how to rate this book because I ...
I don't know how to rate this book because I honestly found it so difficult to follow. I have read most of Richard Dawkins' books and this is the only one I'd say don't don't buy... Read more
Published 23 days ago by Keith Wileman
5.0 out of 5 stars To be read with The Selfish Gene
Dawkins calls this his "seminal work", that which he is prodest of and wishes to be remembered for. I do not blame him. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Davide Ferrara
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book
My goodness - this is a work of genius. There is no other word for it. it is so detailed, so clear.
Published 5 months ago by Jean Elliott
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it!
If you've read The Selfish Gene, you must read this one right after.
If you haven't, you should.

Read it!
Published 8 months ago by Meneillos
4.0 out of 5 stars Extended Dawkins
Following earlier success with "The Selfish Gene", this subsequent book is more of a challenge, written in a more scholarly style and assuming more on the part of the reader, not a... Read more
Published on 20 Aug 2011 by RR Waller
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard Dawkins
As one has come to expect, Richard Dawkins is able to make quite difficult subjects interesting and relatively easy to follow
Published on 27 Dec 2010 by M. L. Campbell Ricketts
5.0 out of 5 stars A philosophical interlude
It is tempting to translate R. Dawkins' splendid views on natural selection, adaptation and evolution into a dialogue between Kant, Nietzsche, Plato and Schopenhauer. Read more
Published on 7 Dec 2010 by Luc REYNAERT
5.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet
I don't want to write a long review, partly because it is a decade since I bought this book.. but it helped change the way I view what happens around me. Read more
Published on 14 Aug 2010 by N. Booth
5.0 out of 5 stars The long reach of the metaphor
In addition to the other positive reviews:

The 'extended phenotype' is an elaboration of the selfish gene principle, in which the target of selection is the gene (the... Read more
Published on 10 Jun 2010 by G. Imroth
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