The Selfish Gene, Paperback
4 out of 5 (20 ratings)


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 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 biology community, generating much debate and stimulating whole new areas of research.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384 pages, illustrations
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Popular science
  • ISBN: 9780199291151



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Showing 1 - 5 of 20 reviews.

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This classic science text personifies the gene in order to look at evolution/natural selection in a new way. Game theory and its effects on natural selection play a key role, and Dawkins' biological examples throughout are interesting and informative - did you know that male bees do not have fathers?This is also the book that introduced Dawkins' concept of memes - all the more important a concept to those internet-savvy individuals who may be using this "web 2.0" site.Written in 1976, the text is a bit dated, but the 30th anniversary edition has 50 pages of endnotes that elucidate the text and deal with some of the controversy and counter-responses generated after its publication.

Review by

There comes a book, every now and then, that changes your conception of things. Of all the books I've read like that, Dawkins' is the one to have made the most lasting impression, as it has changed the way I think about all humanity.

Review by

Evolution theory with gene as center of survival competitions, and how animal social behaviours can be interpreted as result of this process. Introduces to "Evolutionary Stable Strategy" concept. Some novel ideas but poorly written or explained, and leaves many questions unanswered.

Review by

The basic premise of this foundational work states that genes will act "selfishly" in order to ensure further self-replication. This does not imply that they do this consciously, but as Dawkins carefully lays out, the selfishness is behavioral, not subjective. To put it differently, genes that behave selfishly (they benefit at the expense of others) tend the survive and replicate themselves into the next generation. That behavior is then repeated. Even apparently altruistic behavior in the organisms, the genes' vehicle, can be shown to ultimately benefit the genes of the altruistic host.My explanation is far too simplified to give justice to Dawkin's work. In his mouth, the workings of creation take on a glorious simplicity even if the explanation for them is laboriously worked out. He discusses how genetic "selfishness" plays out between species, families, sexes, within individuals and even extends beyond the individual into the material world.Dawkin's book is the answer to the ultimate "how" and a partial response to the "why." It reminds me of the narrator's quote from the latest film adaptation of War of the Worlds (2005): "By the toll of a billion deaths, man had earned his immunity, his right to survive among this planet's infinite organisms. And that right is ours against all challenges." We exist because we can. Sure it's a tautology, but a wonderfully assuring one.

Review by

A great and timeless work. Dawkins gives light to the average jow to many questions about evolution and behaviour. Nonetheless, Dawkins is not the most entertaining writer. He wanders in circles too much, analogy after analogy for the same idea or topic creating endless chapters. But all in all, I can not think of a better single work about evolution.

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