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The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

The Selfish Gene (1976)

by Richard Dawkins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8,43486574 (4.29)1 / 138
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Best Popular Science Book Ever
Best Biology Book

This books changes everything
After reading this book you'll definitely change you.

Buy latest anniversary edition and read notes at the end of the book!
In audiobook edition notes are included!
  last | Nov 1, 2017 |
This is one of the most important books you'll ever read. It should be required reading in school. Brilliant, well written and includes information we simple shouldn't be living without. ( )
  TimothyBaril | Jul 24, 2017 |
I want to rate the Selfish Gene higher merely because of its significance, but for the past two months opening this book has been a reliable way to help get myself to sleep. It's important and fascinating but so wordy and tedious. My problem with the book lies in Dawkins' failure to select an audience. He explains everything both on the broad level that a layperson can understand--and undoubtedly the level that made this an international bestseller--but he also delves into each theory on the professional level and explores every tangent and counterpoint imaginable.

The most revolutionary--and most stimulating--chapters for me were "Memes: The New Replicators," in which Dawkins both coins the term "meme" and posits that cultural memes behave much like genes, and "Nice Guys Finish First," in which Dawkins analyzes game theory and the differences between zero sum games, nonzero sum games, and whether or not individuals know which one their playing. Overall the book contains a lot of important ideas and should be read by anyone with even a passing interest in genetics, but I hesitate to recommend it too highly. ( )
  StefanieBrookTrout | Feb 4, 2017 |
I first discovered Richard Dawkins by reading his Devil's Chaplain novel (by the way, that's a very nice book as well!). I then moved on to many others, among which The Selfish Gene, and I found them all, at the very least, challenging. Meaning that they force you to think of your existence non-conventionally (at least for those who are not biologist by nature).

The Selfish Gene in particular exposes Dawkins' opinion about the smallest unit on which the forces of natural selection are at work: the gene. Embracing the idea opens up new perspective on what we (as human in particular or as living beings in general) are: merely containers for what is truly living and evolving (yes, you guessed it!): pools of genes.

In what could appear as a cold and distant (misanthropic even) narrative voice, Dawkins investigates the consequences of his theory, getting to the point of explaining our own emotions and family connections with striking mathematical arguments: my brother and I share 50% of the same gene pool, which is why I will favor his survival more than the one of a distant relative. Similarly, my daughters has 50% of my own gene pool, but better chances than I have to grow, live, and push that pool further. Thus, I will forever choose to save her life over mine.

As I said, it is far from being a reassuring and warm story, the one that Dawkins tell us in this book. But science does not claim to be neither warm nor reassuring. Science attempts to explain what we perceive as true facts.

So if you are willing to feel some your most solid foundations cracking here and there, this book is for you. And then I promise you'll be looking for another one from the same author. ( )
  ferrarini_luca | Dec 6, 2016 |
3 ( )
  ronchan | Nov 14, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dawkins, Richardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferreira, Karin de SousaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pietiläinen, KimmoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, LallaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Un saggio scientifico incentrato sulla stupefacente verità che si rivela a chi si interroga sull'universo, l'immortalità e il posto dell'uomo nell'universo. Noi siamo macchine da sopravvivenza, robot semoventi programmati ciecamente per conservare quelle molecole egoiste note col nome di geni. Un libro pensato per stimolare con ironia l'immaginazione del lettore - dello studente come dell'esperto e critico severo, o del profano - che riesce a semplificare e rendere comprensibili sottili e complicati concetti scientifici in un linguaggio non matematico, senza che ne vada perduta la sorprendente essenza.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0199291152, Paperback)

Richard Dawkins' brilliant reformulation of the theory of natural selection has the rare distinction of having provoked as much excitement and interest outside the scientific community as within it. His theories have helped change the whole nature of the study of social biology, and have forced thousands of readers to rethink their beliefs about life.
In his internationally bestselling, now classic volume, The Selfish Gene, Dawkins explains how the selfish gene can also be a subtle gene. The world of the selfish gene revolves around savage competition, ruthless exploitation, and deceit, and yet, Dawkins argues, acts of apparent altruism do exist in nature. Bees, for example, will commit suicide when they sting to protect the hive, and birds will risk their lives to warn the flock of an approaching hawk.
This 30th anniversary edition of Dawkins' fascinating book retains all original material, including the two enlightening chapters added in the second edition. In a new Introduction the author presents his thoughts thirty years after the publication of his first and most famous book, while the inclusion of the two-page original Foreword by brilliant American scientist Robert Trivers shows the enthusiastic reaction of the scientific community at that time. This edition is a celebration of a remarkable exposition of evolutionary thought, a work that has been widely hailed for its stylistic brilliance and deep scientific insights, and that continues to stimulate whole new areas of research today.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:19 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

"The Selfish Gene is remarkable in several ways. First published in 1976, aimed at a general audience and written by a then little-known young lecturer in zoology at Oxford University, The Selfish Gene rapidly became highly influential. The important biological work of such figures as W. D. Hamilton and Robert Trivers was introduced to a wider public for the first time. But that was not all. Drawing together the threads of contemporary research in Neo-Darwinism into a powerful vision of the living world viewed through the eyes of genes as the units of selection, it was a significant contribution to biological thought. The full explanatory power of the gene's eye view was presented, in fine non-technical prose, for the first time in one short volume, bringing novel insights to those working in the field and inspiring whole new areas of research. Yet even that is not all. It has been widely acclaimed too for its literary qualities. Here is a book that set a new standard in science writing for the wider public, a modern masterpiece that fresh generations of aspiring young scientists would seek to emulate."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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