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The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary edition [Paperback]

Richard Dawkins
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 15 2006
The million copy international bestseller, critically acclaimed and translated into over 25 languages. This 30th anniversary edition includes a new introduction from the author as well as the original prefaces and foreword, and extracts from early reviews. As relevant and 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 stageto 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 biology community, generating much debate and stimulating whole new areas of research.

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The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary edition + The God Delusion + The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
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`Review from previous edition The sort of popular science writing that makes the reader feel like a genius.' New York 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

Learned, witty and very well written...Exhilaratingly good. Peter Medawar in The Spectator

The exciting theories and their wide implications are explaned with clarity, wit and enthusiasm. Peter Parker, Sunday Times

Dawkins demonstrates that complex, theoretical or mathematical ideas can be expressed rigorously, in plain English. The book remains an excellent way for those who have not been trained in evolution to understand modern arguments. Trends in Ecology and Evolution

A splendid example of how difficult scientific ideas can be explained by someone who understands them and is willing to take the trouble. The New Yorker

the reader will come away with a clear understanding of kin selection, evolutionary stable strategies, and similar staples of the literature on evolutionary theories of animal behaviour. This is a considerable achievement.' Times Higher Education Supplement

`Buy this book, read it and recommend it to your students...There is still nothing else quite like it. Not only are the new chapters and endnotes worthy additions to the original, but the 1976 text comes up as fresh as a primrose and, in its way, nearly as perfect.' Animal Behaviour

`What is so refreshing about Dawkins is that he has confidence in the scientific method, in the testing of beliefs to destruction, no matter how cherished they may be.' Benjamin Woolley, The Listener

'Scientists give every appearance of being addicts, and science is their vice. That is one reason why progress in science is so rapid. I for one have benefited a great deal from Dawkins's addiction.' David L. Hull, Nature

About the Author

Richard Dawkins is the first holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, Fellow of New College, Oxford, Fellow of the Royal Society, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His bestselling books include iThe Extended Phenotype/i (1982) and its sequel iThe Blind Watchmaker/i (1986), iRiver Out of Eden/i (1995), iClimbing Mount Improbable/i (1996), iUnweaving the Rainbow/i (1998), iA Devil's Chaplain/i (2004) and iThe Ancestor's Tale/i (2004). 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 Shakespeare Prize in 2005.

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Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking Biology Jan. 28 2010
By T
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Richard Dawkins is a scientist of the highest caliber and an excellent writer. While not as interesting as The Ancestor's Tale or Greatest Show on Earth (Selfish Gene is more academic and most of it is over my head), it is a fascinating look into fundamental concepts of Biology. What's more is that this particular edition is worth the additional cost compared to the paperback - the paper is high quality and the binding is anything but cheap (as all books I own which were published by Oxford are). This isn't so much a book as it is an investment for future generations.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking, Rich. Brilliant. June 11 2011
Maybe it's a quirk in my personality, but I'm always looking for some great truth, some unifying theory. After all, if the beautiful world around us was not created by a deity (which, as an explanation, explains nothing), but by something as 'seemingly random' as evolution, then surely there must be some great code, some great pattern (essentially a natural order, a natural 'Ten Commandments, if you will) running through everything. We've always heard that 'code' is 'fit', but again, 'fit' in terms of genes doesn't explain much either. I needed a little more, so I cracked open this book thinking it would open my eyes to some genetic truth. I soon found lots of amazing things, but was met with the crude ugly truth about genetics: they are anything but a guide for morality. The 'beautiful pattern' I was seeking was nowhere to be found. We are met with a contradiction, as men and women: the very thing that gives us enjoyment, indulgence' satisfaction of a few evolutionary 'carrots'' is the opposite of what we consider 'good' and 'moral'. Originally I believed our Morality actually stems from resisting our impulses, our genetics, to separate us from lower animals. Dawkins believes that what we consider 'sophisticated society' actually comes from whatever can be sustained in equilibrium; in other words, the reason we can eat meat, but are repulsed by Cannibalism, is mostly due to the fact that, if we were Cannibals, the species would shrink and eventually go extinct. The equilibrium is for us to eat other animals.

It's also frowned upon, in modern society, to kill people. From a Genetic perspective, there's no advantage to killing people, even your rivals.. it wastes energy, and may make other rivals even stronger in rank. Reverse rationalization.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Classic Book on Evolution Dec 16 2006
By Oliver TOP 500 REVIEWER
Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary theorist and holds the Charles Simonyi Chair in the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. He is also a best seller author of science books, and quite easy to read. His most recent book is The God Delusion, but previously he wrote mainly about evolution. For example, his prior book is The Ancestors' Tale, a brief history of life on earth.

The Selfish Gene is explains the basics of evolution in simple and readable language. There is a good reason why this book has a 30th Anniversary edition: it is truly a classic, and will be read for many, many years to come.
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An incredibly well written book, filled with interesting asides and kept firmly in the realm of 'non-expert' language. Perhaps the greatest downfall of the book is how perfectly its ideas have been accepted in the thirty years since the first edition was originally published. That is, what seemed revolutionary to some at the time of its original publication don't seem revolutionary, they seem self-evident to anyone with a strong interest in evolutionary biology. As someone born after the original publication, who became interested in the field more than a decade after it created controversy, reading the thirtieth anniversary edition seemed like a rehashing of what I already knew. It went into greater depths than my broad-but-shallow knowledge, but there wasn't anything in here that seemed revolutionary to me. Which just goes to prove how widely accepted Dawkins' once-controversial ideas are now.
For people who, like myself, have a greater than average understanding of the field, it's worth reading, if only as a look back at a point in time when these ideas weren't seen as "common" knowledge.
For someone first dipping their toes into the fascinating field of evolutionary biology, Dawkins' more recent book "The Greatest Show On Earth" will probably be a much better place to start, with this being a book to come back to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Darwin Observed & Scratched the Surface May 17 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Darwin saw the results & noticed the pattern. Dawkins explains the mechanism and it's paradoxically simple roots vs it's startling results. Religion is so much easier to believe if we choose to be lazy. The selfish gene is way more interesting if we choose to understand.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! May 10 2008
Prior to reading Dawkins, I had no real experience with evolutionary theories aside from the little bits I'd been exposed to in various psychology courses. Not only have I learned an immense amount from this book, but the author has successfully sparked an interest in further speculations of this nature. Dawkins writes in a thorough and expressive manner, confident in his theories and unafraid to put less sensible (but all too popular) theories in their places. He introduces "memes" as replicating ideas on the same level of biological genes, a notion that fascinated me deeply. This author is a true scientific mind, and a must for anyone interested in evolutionary theory.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars very educational..... but heavy stuff ...
very educational .....but heavy stuff ......
Published 18 days ago by reynald raill
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Theory
A fascinating look at a gene centered view of evolution. A brilliant insight into the replication of genes from generation to generation. The logical all hangs together.
Published 5 months ago by Pierre Doucet
5.0 out of 5 stars Piece of art for comprehension in ethology and evolution principles.
High level of interest book, written to be understand by anybody but of course a little biology could help.
I loved.
Published 8 months ago by Erik
5.0 out of 5 stars I fought hard with this one.
Well this book is an extent! It is not correct, one could say, but it is most certainly not incorrect! Read more
Published 11 months ago by nono today
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'Old' Becomes New
Reads like a novel, this book gives the reader
the science behind questions around human emotional development and animal survival
Published 12 months ago by diana simpson
4.0 out of 5 stars Long winded
Having an Animal Genetics background myself, it was too long winded for me to go through. I found the book and acquired it seek confirmation of my opinion that the prime purpose... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Casian D'Souza
3.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas but a bit dogmatic
Dawkins has some great ideas, but his gene centered view on life (musical ability is genetic???) goes a bit too far sometimes, as his anti religious views (okay we know you don't... Read more
Published on June 2 2012 by Dean Wirth
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
I found this book to be most enlightening and look forward to reading other books by this author. I have bought but not yet got to.
Published on Jan. 27 2010 by Lindafiset
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