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The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary edition [Kindle Edition]

Richard Dawkins
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The million copy international bestseller, critically acclaimed and translated into over 25 languages.

This 30th anniversary edition includes a new introduction from the author as well as the original prefaces and foreword, and extracts from early reviews. As relevant and influential today as when it was first published, The Selfish Gene has become a classic exposition of evolutionary thought.

Professor Dawkins articulates a gene's eye view of evolution - a view giving centre stage to these persistent units of information, and in which organisms can be seen as vehicles for their replication. This imaginative, powerful, and stylistically brilliant work not only brought the insights of Neo-Darwinism to a wide audience, but galvanized the biology community, generating much debate and stimulating whole new areas of research.

Product Description


Dawkins's 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, New York Review of Books)

The Selfish Gene is a classic. (Robin McKie, The Observer)

A genuine cultural landmark of our time. (The Independent)

Review from previous edition The sort of popular science writing that makes the reader feel like a genius. (New York Times)

Daily Express, 17 March 2006

It's a classic that's still relevant today.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1466 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 3 edition (16 Mar. 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SEHIG2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,800 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
214 of 234 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, and an utterly compelling read 28 Jun. 2006
While you might expect Dawkins' classic to be terrifically interesting (and you'd be right), you'd probably expect it to be a bit of a slog. In this respect you'd be completely mistaken - it flows beautifully, and is seriously difficult to put down. And the whole way through you have the wonderful sense that you're being educated as well as entertained.

The book starts right from first principles, describing a plausible theory for the origin of life, and explaining how more and more complex molecules could have formed in the 'primaeval soup'. Eventually a molecule arose that could replicate itself, and life has never looked back. Dawkins goes on to define a gene, which turns out to be quite an important step (I thought I knew what the word meant already, but I was wrong), and relates how genes have indirect control over what he calls 'gene machines', i.e. living things. Subsequent chapters then detail various survival strategies, 'altruism' and how it can be explained genetically, tensions between sexes and generations, and a new replicator, the 'meme'.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the book is the way that Dawkins draws on game theory to assess mathematically the most sensible way for a gene machine to act. In particular, the sections on 'the Prisoner's Dilemma' (a specific game theory scenario which crops up all over the place in nature) are, to me at least, a radical new way of thinking of many problems in (human) life, and how we should approach them. It could have ramifications for politics, social policy, economics, and the environment, to name only a few. Like all the difficult concepts in this book, Dawkins explains this simply and thoroughly, and the reader never feels patronised.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended 21 Jan. 2009
The Selfish Gene is in a way rather like the antithesis of Lynn Margulis' & Dorion Sagan's Microcosmos. Richard Dawkins, erudite Oxford professor, is basically the voice of reductionist competition. He is by far the most ruthless and logical exponent of Neo Darwinism; masterful passionate, and his book The Selfish Gene is richly drawn from the colourful well of nature in order to back up his claims. His basic idea is that the gene is the ultimate agent of evolution; not the organism, not the population. In fact, he terms organisms as `survival machines', as mere vehicles to lug around genes (another acclaimed title by Richard Dawkins is The Blind Watchmaker). This has huge knock on effects for population dynamics, social organisation, even raising the perspective of gender competition, and generational competition in terms of gene replication. This leads one to the conclusion that life is a soulless, mathematical computational program in which gene expression is a war of survival. Well, I will let you draw your own conclusions from the book, but I recommend it here to demonstrate to you how sometimes radically different approaches in biology can yield similar conclusions; the last few chapters of The Selfish Gene discuss altruism, cooperation, evolutionary stable strategies (ESS), and memes (or thought genes) which bears a resemblance to the language of Microcosmos. My two copies of these books sit side by side on my bookshelf bickering like an old married couple.
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131 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an inspirational piece of work 21 Oct. 2006
This is a landmark piece of writing without any doubt. This was in fact the book that sparked a whole genre. Until the success of 'The Selfish Gene' popular science writing was spectacularly under-read. After this popular science sections became noticeable in every self-respecting bookshop.

The book itself tackles what in essence could be a very difficult subject (the level at which natural selection acts) but it articulates it so well. Many since have tried to contribute to the debate but none have the prose skills of Dawkins nor the ability to put over a difficult subject with the reader seeing it as outstandingly obvious and common sense. Dawkins also initiates the idea of the meme as a unit of cultural evolution here for the first time. In the long run this may turn out to be Dawkins biggest original contribution to science and it has spawned many books on the subject since.

I have a particular fondness for this book. It was having read this and 'The Blind Watchmaker' which sent me back to full-time education at the age of 29 to read Genetics and subsequently develop a career in science myself. Truly an inspirational piece of work - one of the outstanding books of the Twentieth Century.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dawkins is an Essential read 9 Dec. 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What an I say? Dawkins is such a great example of an educator, it is impossible to say anything uncomplementary about his literary eye-openers. This is an essential to anyone's home library.
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115 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard Dawkins is a great teacher 14 Oct. 2006
As far as evolutionary biology's concerned I'm very interested, but nevertheless a layman. Richard Dawkins has however the rare ability to explain any scientifically difficult subject to practically everybody. His style is easy to read, very understandable, sometimes funny, and he uses very good examples to explain. Anybody having difficulties to understand evolution (and there are many out there) should read Dawkins' The Selfish Gene. A very good book: convincing, informative, readable book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good book. Good service
Published 5 days ago by Malcolm White
5.0 out of 5 stars I bought this for my partner and he is fascinated ...
I bought this for my partner and he is fascinated by it. He finds it extremely interesting and is now looking at buying his other books on audiobook!
Published 13 days ago by LilithLives2008
4.0 out of 5 stars Good gift that was raved about and soon I will also see what this has...
I bought this for my little brother who is fascinated with Richard Dawkins, genealogy, scientific studies, evolution, etc. etc. Read more
Published 21 days ago by The Red Baron
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Edition of a wonderful book.
Brilliant re-release Anniversary edition of a an Iconic and groundbreaking book. Fantastic read from a brilliant intellectual in his specialist field. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Micheal M.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Makes interesting reading
Published 2 months ago by Cindy Holford
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
Really really interesting this book is quite complicated but it is fascinating in how it explains the Selfish Gene and species and DNA
Published 2 months ago by Alistair Feldmanis
5.0 out of 5 stars Great.
As described. Great.
Published 2 months ago by Matthew Betts
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful
This is a powerful book. Extremely powerful.

Reading it is rather like being fisted, but in a nice way, with words.
Published 2 months ago by Saladface
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The world is a different place, once you've read this book.
Published 2 months ago by Rikke A. Jensen
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read!!
One of the best books I have read in a long time.
Published 2 months ago by Elliot Baker
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