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The Selfish Gene: 40th Anniversary edition (Oxford Landmark Science) Paperback – Special Edition, 9 Jun 2016

4.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 4 edition (9 Jun. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198788606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198788607
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 3.6 x 13.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Dawkins's prose is lucid and powerful, his argument difficult to contend ... The Selfish Gene has attained its own literary and scientific immortality: as long as we study life, it will be read. (Adam Rutherford, The Observer)

highly readable and entertaining ... exhilirating gene's-eye-view of life (Robert McCrum, Observer)

Books about science tend to fall into two categories: those that explain it to lay people in the hope of cultivating a wide readership, and those that try to persuade fellow scientists to support a new theory, usually with equations. Books that achieve both changing science and reaching the public are rare. Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1859) was one. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins is another. From the moment of its publication 40 years ago, it has been a sparkling best-seller and a scientific game-changer (Matt Ridley, Nature)

Richard Dawkins' magnificent introduction to the world of popular science writing ... Punchy, elegant, self-righteous, devotional (at least in a Dawinian way), it showed that genetics was absorbing, challenging and important (Nick Spencer, The Tablet)

About the Author

Professor Richard Dawkins is one of the most influential science writers and communicators of our generation. He was the first holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, a position he held from 1995 until 2008, and is Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford. His bestselling books include The Extended Phenotype (1982) and its sequel The Blind Watchmaker (1986), River Out of Eden (1995), Climbing Mount Improbable (1996), Unweaving the Rainbow (1998), A Devil's Chaplain (2004), The Ancestor's Tale (2004), and The God Delusion (2007). He has won many literary and scientific awards, including the 1987 Royal Society of Literature Award, the 1990 Michael Faraday Award of the Royal Society, the 1994 Nakayama Prize for Human Science, the 1997 International Cosmos Prize, and the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest in 2009.


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Top Customer Reviews

By Geekly Reviews TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Jun. 2016
Format: Paperback
I must admit to sometimes finding Dawkins to be a bit of a long read, but with this I was completely mistaken. The book starts with the very basics of life and describe and expand on the notion of a 'primeval soup'.

This book is a fascinating read while giving you the feeling that you might be learning something throughout, especially for the casual reader with no specific prior knowledge of the field. Dawkins looks at difficult concepts such as 'altruism' and how it can be explained genetically.

Until discovering writers such as Dawkins and Hitchens I had no particular interest in genetics, evolution or even humanism- now I keep my eyes out for any books on this field! A must have!

If you have any must read suggestions for me please leave a comment below!
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Format: Paperback
Selfish Genes ≠ Selfish Phenotypes
Many people who have never read 'The Selfish Gene' (and strangely a few who apparently have) misunderstand the phrase 'Selfish Gene' to mean a gene that causes people to be selfish. Actually, the 'selfishness' refers, not to a trait a gene encodes in its bearer, but rather to a (metaphoric) quality of genes themselves. In other words, individual genes are themselves conceived of as 'selfish', in that they have evolved by natural selection to selfishly promote their own survival and replication.

Ironically, as Dawkins is at pains to emphasise, the selfishness of genes can actually result in altruism at the level of the organism or phenotype. This is because, where altruism is directed towards biological kin, such altruism can facilitate the replication of genes shared among relatives through common descent. This is referred to as 'kin selection' or 'inclusive fitness theory'.

Nevertheless, Dawkins still seems to see organisms, humans included, as fundamentally selfish – albeit a selfishness tempered by a large dose of nepotism.

Thus, in his opening paragraphs he cautions, “if you wish, as I do, to build a society in which individuals cooperate generously and unselfishly towards a common good, you can expect little help from our biological nature” and instead proposes, “let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish” (p3).

The Various 'Extended' Editions
To some extent Dawkins mitigates this view in more recent editions of the book (i.e.
Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent book by Richard Dawkins. However you need to keep in mind he does do a deep dive on some subjects so be prepared.
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Format: Paperback
The selfish gene is a must read for anyone with an interest in nature and science. The selfish gene is a work of genius - one of those great works that never really lose their their value. It remains easily readable for most intelligent minds. (The Extended Phenotype would be a much harder although rewarding read). This would be a great primer for any biology students and anyone with more than a causal interest in evolution. For the more philosophical aspect - and a slightly easier read, the blind watchmaker is also a fairly mindblowing introduction to the exact nature of natural selection and evolution.
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Format: Paperback
Brilliant read, definitely a book to read if you want to expand your understanding of evolution. I always feel more enlightened after reading his books.
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Excellent read aimed at the thinking novice as I class myself. An author I have mixed feelings about enjoyed his use of words like creation and design followed by the occasion comment trying to validate it. I found the book well written and informed recommend it
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Felt like i was learning something every page. Not for feignt hearted
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Interesting, a bit heavy going for layman.
GH
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