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The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary edition [Paperback]

Richard Dawkins
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
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Book Description

16 Mar 2006
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.

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The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary edition + The Blind Watchmaker + The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 3rd Revised edition edition (16 Mar 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199291152
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199291151
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,067 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

Review

"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

"The Selfish Gene is a classic." -- Robin McKie, The Observer

Here is a genuine cultural landmark of our time. -- The Independent, 10 March 2006

It's a classic that's still relevant today. -- Daily Express, 17 March 2006

Book Description

Voted 'Author of the Year' at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2007 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
202 of 222 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, and an utterly compelling read 28 Jun 2006
Format:Hardcover
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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4 of 4 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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111 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard Dawkins is a great teacher 14 Oct 2006
Format:Hardcover
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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125 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an inspirational piece of work 21 Oct 2006
Format:Paperback
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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wonderful book, let's say that up front. There are however SO MANY annoying mistakes in the Kindle edition and this is SUCH a shame! Especially with dates. eg 19705 for 1970s and 19805 for 1980s.
In the 'Extracts from Reviews' the first (Pro bono publico) was (will be rofl) written in 7977. Then in 'Genes and Memes' we see 'during the 19605 and 19705'. This is just sloppy.
I've picked those 2 because it was easier to back-page to find them, than to search the whole book for the other spelling mistakes. But there are lots. I'm just a reader, not a proof-reader, so the errors should have been picked up by a professional before publication. Gill.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Addition to Any Library 22 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback
It's ironic that I should have read one of Dawkins' earliest works after reading his newest - doubly so given that the quality of the former eclipses that of the latter by a substantial margin. The Selfish Gene represents Dawkins at his very best: lucid and witty without ever sacrificing his intellectual rigour, he presents his arguments with an unassailable logic that precludes disagreement. Perhaps it is a cliché, but everyone who has an interest in Darwinian evolution should read this book.

That said, there are times when Dawkins belabours some of his points unnecessarily and, occasionally, over-indulges his proclivity for observing the niceties of academic modesty, but the prose never ceases to sparkle and these minor issues really are the harshest criticisms I can muster! The 30th anniversary edition has been updated with some insightful endnotes that enhance (but not interrupt) the original text and bring The Selfish Gene up to date, making it a worthy addition to any library collection.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars My husband bought this and he enjoyed reading it
My husband bought this and he enjoyed reading it,it appears to be very popular,so maybe one day I will read it too...............
Published 12 days ago by Gamer
5.0 out of 5 stars A difficult book to understand, however it gave me ...
A difficult book to understand, however it gave me a more experienced and developed understanding for my AS biology.
Published 19 days ago by Louis Potts
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
An amazing book !
Published 23 days ago by dileep
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book
Published 24 days ago by lean
5.0 out of 5 stars Much discussed, and always a classic
This is one of those books that represents a seminal turning point in human understanding. Although much debated and criticised, as Dawkins himself says "you may not like it,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Davide Ferrara
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ
I do have 1 disappointment to share & that's that I never read this incredible book sooner! Richard Dawkins is an incredible mind of our generation & this 30th anniversary edition... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Colin Chapman
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic.
Richard Dawkins first great book! And the first of many, and, I hope, many more to come. Top notch, 10/10, highly recommend. Everybody should read all of Richard Dawkins books. Read more
Published 2 months ago by teatime
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be on the school syllabus.
Brilliantly written, easy to read, full of interesting information. If this was on the reading curriculum rather than dry dusty textbooks no-one in their right mind wants to read... Read more
Published 2 months ago by MR S WALMSLEY
5.0 out of 5 stars A richer view of evolution.
An excellent view of evolution from the perspective of the gene. Fabulous starting point for understanding all life on earth. Also gives great ideas for further reading. Read more
Published 2 months ago by RickyB
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be the new bible
I know it's contradictory, but this should be the new bible. Anyone interested in the beginning of life, evolution and, well, many factors that affect us each day without thinking... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Alisa
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