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The Selfish Gene (1976)

by Richard Dawkins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,394102584 (4.28)1 / 145
"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)
Recently added byDaleCarney, private library, andrisll, Arina42, divinenanny, MCocuzzo2, ejmw, JosephKing6602, chrisvia
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» See also 145 mentions

English (96)  Italian (1)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  Piratical (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (103)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
Interesting; but a difficult read; overly technical about the mathematical side og genetics/inheritance of DNA etc ( )
  JosephKing6602 | May 7, 2021 |
What makes a good book, in my opinion, is one that changes the way you view the world. It offers another way to think about how things are and why. It challenges you and amazes you. The Selfish Gene altered the way I see life on earth.

Dawkins is a fantastic writer and he does a superb job at describing complex operations using metaphors that are simple and connectable. It helped tremendously when he described the inner workings of DNA structure and the minute process of meiosis. I'm not too familiar with Game Theory but the examples he used made it easy to follow and understand for the most part.

The Selfish Gene shines most when Dawkins describes how certain animals behave in the wild, whether 'selfishly' or 'altruistically'. He uses real world studies which I found captivating. The fact that the female praying mantis rips the head off of her mate and then eats it either during or after copulation is wild!

By the end of the last chapter, I feel like I walked away with a fairly good understanding of his theory. The adage 'survival of the fittest' was never clear of who exactly benefits being the fittest. Is it the entire species? Is it the group of species? Is it the individual? Or is the answer found deeper inside the individual at the microscopic level?

Life arose as simple organisms but came to grow into extreme intricacy and complexity. The ancient single celled organism 'wanted' to proliferate and continue its existence. It came that through teamwork, or altruism, it (the replicating cell) could benefit itself, hence the selfishness. So I can see how this theory can have truth to it. I'm not a biologist however so of course I can be mistaken, but that's what I took away from this book.

Highly recommended to anyone interested in evolution and how life started on our beautiful planet. ( )
  ProfessorEX | Apr 15, 2021 |
This book was important in providing insight into evolutionary understanding of the gene. I found it interesting and educational but tedious at times. I have read other books by Dawkins and preferred the others as more direct. This book is valuable as a historical account of the origin of several important ideas. I modestly recommend this book. ( )
  GlennBell | Dec 28, 2020 |
I liked it, but I think most of the book has made it into contemporary culture; I found myself not learning as many things from it as I expected to. ( )
  isovector | Dec 14, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"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.

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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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