Series: Oxford Landmark Science
464 pages, 9 b/w illustrations
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 biology community, 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.
"From the moment of its publication 40 years ago, it has been a sparkling best-seller and a scientific game-changer."
– Matt Ridley, Nature
Reviews from previous editions:
"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
"It's a classic that's still relevant today."
– Daily Express
"Dawkins's first book, The Selfish Gene, was a smash hit [...] Best of all, Dawkins laid out this biology – some of it truly subtle – in stunningly lucid prose. (It is, in my view, the best work of popular science ever written.)"
– H. Allen Orr, New York Review of Books
"The Selfish Gene is a classic."
– Robin McKie, The Observer
"A genuine cultural landmark of our time."
– The Independent
Introduction to 30th anniversary edition
Preface to 1989 2nd edition
Foreword to 1976 1st edition
Preface to 1976 1st edition
1: Why are people?
2: The replicators
3: Immortal coils
4: The gene machine
5: Aggression: stability and the selfish machine
7: Family planning
8: Battle of the generations
9: Battle of the sexes
10: You scratch my back, I'll ride on yours
11: Memes: the new replicators
12: Nice guys finish first
13: The long reach of the gene
Epilogue to 40th anniversary edition
Reviews from earlier editions
Index and key to bibliography
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Professor Richard Dawkins is one of the most influential science writers and communicators of our generation. He was the first holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, a position he held from 1995 until 2008, and is Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford. His bestselling books include The Extended Phenotype (1982) and its sequel The Blind Watchmaker (1986), River Out of Eden (1995), Climbing Mount Improbable (1996), Unweaving the Rainbow (1998), A Devil's Chaplain (2004), The Ancestor's Tale (2004), and The God Delusion (2007). 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 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest in 2009.