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The Extended Selfish Gene

Popular Science
  • A commemorative anniversary edition of this landmark work which powerfully encapsulates a new way of looking at living things and their evolution – a gene's eye view
  • Includes two key chapters from The Extended Phenotype, which were written in response to the heated debate generated by The Selfish Gene
  • With a new epilogue by Richard Dawkins, discussing the continuing relevance of these ideas in evolutionary biology today
  • Completely re-typeset, to make the book even more attractive to read
  • Originally published in 1976, The Selfish Gene remains a classic work in the development of evolutionary thought, and its influence is undiminished today.
  • Includes the original prefaces including Robert Trivers' 1976 foreword, and extracts from a selection of early reviews

By: Richard Dawkins(Author), Robert Trivers(Foreword By)

548 pages, 9 b/w illustrations

Oxford University Press

Hardback | Oct 2016 | #228207 | ISBN-13: 9780198788782
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £19.99 $28/€23 approx

About this book

The Selfish Gene is a classic exposition of evolutionary thought. In it 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 the replication of genes. The book provoked widespread and heated debate, which in part led Dawkins to write The Extended Phenotype, in which he gave a deeper clarification of the central concept of the gene as the unit of selection, as well as contributing his own development of this insight.

For the first time, The Extended Selfish Gene brings these two books together, by including two key chapters from The Extended Phenotype. These chapters provide Dawkins's detailed and powerful response to two issues raised by critics of The Selfish Gene: the accusations of genetic determinism (the idea that our behaviour is entirely determined by our genes), and of "adaptationism" (that all traits are indiscriminately perceived to be adaptations resulting from natural selection). While written in particular for the biology community, Dawkins's clarity of expression allows these chapters to be accessible to all who are seriously engaged with the gene's eye view and its implications.

The imaginative, powerful, and stylistically brilliant Selfish Gene 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 significant as on the day it was published. Along with the two extra chapters, The Extended Selfish Gene includes a new epilogue to The Selfish Gene from the author which highlights the relevance of the gene's eye view to evolutionary biology today.

"From the moment of its publication 40 years ago, it has been a sparkling best-seller and a scientific game-changer."
– Matt Ridley, Nature

Review 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

"The sort of popular science writing that makes the reader feel like a genius."
New York Times

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The Selfish Gene

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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
6: Genesmanship
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
Updated bibliography
Index and key to bibliography
Extracts from reviews

The Extended Phenotype opener
1: Genetic Determinism and Gene Selectionism
2: Constraints on Perfection

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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 Selfish Gene (1976), 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.

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