The Selfish Gene Paperback – 19 Oct 1989
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"the sort of popular science writing that makes the reader feel like a genius" -- New York Times
This million-copy bestseller is universally acclaimed and translated into over twenty languages. "The sort of popular science writing that makes the reader feel like a genius." - "New York Times." "This important book could hardly be more exciting." - "The Economist." "Learned, witty, and very well written...exhilaratingly good." - "Spectator." "The reader will come away with a clear understanding of kin selection, evolutionary stable strategies, and evolutionary theories of animal behaviour. This is a considerable achievement." - "THES." "The exciting theories and their wide implications are explained with clarity, wit and enthusiasm." - Peter Parker, "Sunday Times." "This book should be read, can be read, by almost everyone. It describes with great skill a new face of the theory of evolution." W. D. Hamilton, "Science." "The presentations are remarkable for their clarity and simplicity, intelligible to any schoolchild, yet so little condescending as to be a pleasure to the professional." - "American Scientist."See all Product description
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This book is required reading for my degree at university. As someone who rarely reads and struggles to keep up concentration on a book, I decided (on the recommendation of a lecturer) to buy this audiobook version. I was not at all disappointed. it is read by Dawkins himself and this enables a greater understanding of the text than you could ever get from just reading the book. You can easily tell which elements of his argument make him passionate, and which he felt simply had to be included. Another advantage of this is the placement of footnotes. Having been in discussions with friends about this book, I noted that some found arguments hard to follow because so much of what Dawkins says that is important is contained in footnotes and endnotes. In the audiobook, these are slotted into the text in logical places, preceded by Dawkins saying loudly 'endnote/footnote'.
The only issues with this are it does take a long time (it's well over 16 hours) so you may want to have a good place to sit to listen to it. If you're a heavy commuter this will be perfect for you. The other issue is (for me at least) this cannot be played in a CD player, it has to be played on a computer or other device (e.g. an MP3 player).
In terms of the book and its contents, again, I heartily recommend the selfish gene. Whether an undergraduate, expert in the topic or simply curious about the natural world, this book will be a thrill from start to finish.
While the book as a whole is very interesting and the way which Richard Dawkins writes, the simple and complex logic is beautiful. One of the brilliant examples is when he explains evolutionary stable strategy (ESS) in the human context. Saying that there are 3 kinda of people, the fool, the cheater and the grudger. Really thought provoking and a book worth reading not just once.
If this is the standard Richard Dawkins has I will surely read all of his books.
Purveyors of mysticism, astrology and similar pseudo-science receive their inevitable approbrium. This isn't over-emphasised, although personally, I find that thinking about such nonsense to be somewhat of a trial.
The chapters are largely independent, and can be read in any order. Many fields of science are covered, with a bias towards his own field. Short extracts from poetry are introduced at regular intervals - he's obviously a devotee - which many will enjoy.
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