1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
I forgot what ESS stands for..., 26 Sep 2010
Ok so in order to make my interest in biology seem a bit deeper for the purpose of improving a university application, I googled "biology books that aren't text/schoolbooks" and the origin of species and the selfish gene were the first things so come.
Read them both and will probably do a little review for darwin's, meanwhile the selfish was an enjoyable read and should be interesting to anyone doing biology A-levels as a lot of what's talked about pops up in the syllabus (kind of).
Personally I didn't notice much anti-religion or blasphemy, however there were some really interesting things about bee's, cuckoo's and the possibility of universes with non carbon based life. There is also a bit on the "extended phenotype" idea which I found really intriguing, about genes controlling specific behaviours/instincts.
One of the downsides of the book is that some parts, possibly the earlier chapters, were quite forgettable. I would say why but I cant remember. One chapter goes on quite a bit about evolutionarily stable strategies, abbreviated to ESS, for quite a few pages. I kept forgetting what ESS stood for regularly as I would start and stop reading a lot, thus making it difficult to understand said chapter (although when I remembered everything instantly made sense).
Aside from these two minor (and possibly quite specific to myself) criticisms, the selfish gene was a joy to read, not too difficult, yet kept the brain working, a good length and written in a way that made it seem personal and not directed at anyone particularly intelligent or slow.
Finally, the book also smelt and felt nice, qualities I find important in books as I like to fiddle with the corners of pages/fall asleep with a book on my face.