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The Selfish Gene (1976)

by Richard Dawkins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,874119638 (4.26)1 / 159
The million copy international bestseller, critically acclaimed and translated into over 25 languages.As 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 biologycommunity, generating much debate and stimulating whole new areas of research. Forty years later, its insights remain as relevant today as on the day it was published.This 40th anniversary edition includes a new epilogue from the author discussing the continuing relevance of these ideas in evolutionary biology today, as well as the original prefaces and foreword, and extracts from early reviews.Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.… (more)
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» See also 159 mentions

English (109)  Catalan (2)  Spanish (2)  Piratical (1)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (118)
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
This is a one way journey to the truth. Reader beware ( )
1 vote drdolma | Feb 3, 2024 |
Only two complaints with this book. First, the author had a habit of introducing an idea and then saying that it wasn't really relevant to the book, and would drop it. It was weird to hit these dead ends, and made for disjointed reading. Second, the author used "man" in the supposedly universal sense, which doesn't actually exist (All men are mortal; Sarah is a man; therefore Sarah is mortal). Since this book was first written in the 1970s, when apparently logic did not exist (bellbottoms!), I'll let this slide. We are all a product of our times, and back in the author's day this was a reasonable way to write. Aside from these two issues, I loved the book. ( )
  blueskygreentrees | Jul 30, 2023 |
I read this book for English class in college. I thought it was well-written from a technical perspective, but its fundamental idea self-contradicts so much, I had to give it a low rating.

Basically, Dawkins starts off by saying "Genes aren't selfish or unselfish..." followed by writing a whole book trying to show how genes are, in fact, selfish. That's the contradiction. He simultaneously attests that genes do not exist in the world of human morality, but at the same time strictly follow a selfish human morality.

He further explains that every 'selfish' action a gene takes is 'by design', and every 'altruistic' one is 'a mis-firing' of a selfish action. So, looking at a natural phenomenon, he's decided that every time it does something "selfish" it's doing what it should, and every time it does something "altruistic" it's not doing what it should. "Should" according to whom? It's a natural phenomenon without morality!

It would be as if I were staring at a weather vane, and every time it pointed East, saying "oh the wind is doing what it's supposed to", and every time it pointed West I said "oh, that's a mis-firing of the wind, which is always Easterly by nature".

At the end though, there's an unrelated section in which he talks about how ideas spread and reproduce like genes. He actually coins the term 'meme' in this book to describe the unit of an idea. This blob is worth reading, in my opinion. The rest, well... ( )
  nimishg | Apr 12, 2023 |
good reminder for why pop science should be avoided ( )
  hk- | Apr 12, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (71 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dawkins, Richardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferreira, Karin de SousaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huizen, Peter vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pietiläinen, KimmoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scheepmaker, HennyTranslatorsecondary 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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The million copy international bestseller, critically acclaimed and translated into over 25 languages.As 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 biologycommunity, generating much debate and stimulating whole new areas of research. Forty years later, its insights remain as relevant today as on the day it was published.This 40th anniversary edition includes a new epilogue from the author discussing the continuing relevance of these ideas in evolutionary biology today, as well as the original prefaces and foreword, and extracts from early reviews.Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.

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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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