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The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary edition [Paperback]

Richard Dawkins
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 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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Review

`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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
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

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
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
Format:Paperback
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking, Rich. Brilliant. June 11 2011
Format:Paperback
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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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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By Erik
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
High level of interest book, written to be understand by anybody but of course a little biology could help.
I loved.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I fought hard with this one. Nov. 25 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well this book is good...to an extent! It is not correct, one could say, but it is most certainly not incorrect! Its a fantastic book, if you like slugging through example after example of...well...examples to prove the selfish gene. Author puts in a lot of unnecessary, and completely false, information in here but trying to decipher which is which is the fun part I guess!! ENJOY
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5.0 out of 5 stars The 'Old' Becomes New Oct. 28 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Reads like a novel, this book gives the reader
the science behind questions around human emotional development and animal survival
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