Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Extended Phenotype” as Want to Read:
The Extended Phenotype
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Extended Phenotype

by
4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  3,965 ratings  ·  80 reviews
People commonly view evolution as a process of competition between individuals--known as "survival of the fittest"--with the individual representing the "unit of selection." Richard Dawkins offers a controversial reinterpretation of that idea in The Extended Phenotype, now being reissued to coincide with the publication of the second edition of his highly-acclaimed The Sel...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 28th 1989 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1982)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Extended Phenotype, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Extended Phenotype

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Krishan
Jan 05, 2014 Krishan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in evolution
The book is a logical continuation of his devastating book The Selfish Gene. Here Dawkins turns his critical eye and razor sharp words to evolutionary views that take the individual organism as the definitive playing field for natural selection to operate.
Using the gene's eye view of life that he developed so well in The Selfish Gene, he shows that animal artifacts are better understood as objects engineered by natural selection, rather than as by products of the behavior of organisms. He als...more
Peter
Mar 13, 2011 Peter added it
The essentials of life's story: Biodiversity is more than a buzzword for ecologists. Variation gives life its grandeur, and Richard Dawkins gives us a description of the workings of variation. Fortunately, with a sharp mind and sharper wit, he has the ability to deliver this portrayal so that nearly everyone can understand it. That's not to say this book is an easy read. Although he delivers his narration as if sitting with you in a quiet study, you may still need to review his words more than o...more
Bob Nichols
In this book, Dawkins picks up his selfish gene theme and extends its influence to organs and systems within the body and then to the external environment. In doing so, Dawkins never strays from his central themes: Genes are in charge, pursuing their self-interest; the body and its behavior is their vehicle; and the germ-line replicator is the unit of selection.

Dawkins argues* that the gene replicators first begin to transcend their gene-only behavior within the body when they cooperate with ot...more
Svetlana
The language of the book cannot be called simple and it takes some efforts to follow the authors reasoning, but these efforts will reap big reward. In process of reading you will experience the happiness of discovers time and again, have finished the book you will get another angle of view of the phenomenon of life. Don't panic, extend your mind.
People say my name should be Jeff
I'd give it 5 stars if I knew enough biology to be able to confirm it (or 1 if I could refute it).
Ianw19
The main idea of this book is rather simple: Genes do not only program the physical development of the organisms that they "live in." Rather they also program stuff that occurs outside of the organism. The genes found in most bird species program the development of nests in the exact same sense that they program the development of wings. There are genes in the beaver gene-pool that program dams just like there are genes that program whiskers.

The extension of the phenotype gets more interesting,...more
Nicholas
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katja
An extra read for those who liked "The Selfish Gene". This one was written for biologists but the glossary in the end of the book and Dawkins' illuminating prose make it easy to follow. The first chapters are aimed at precluding any possible misunderstandings of what Dawkins meant in "The Selfish Gene". The last four chapters explain the long-reach-of-the-gene idea and argue that the phenotypical effects are not limited to one organism. With a multitude of examples Dawkins demonstrates that ther...more
Jim Talbott
Not as approachable as "The Selfish Gene," but it's a very strong follow-up for people who want more and who are willing to do a little work... Because of the rigor and the slightly different tilt of the book, there are many broader implications revealed through this treatment that weren't evident to me from "The Selfish Gene." As a non-biologist, the discussions frequently pushed me to their implications in the non-genetic meme-scape.
Anatoly v01
По нынешним временам книжка несколько устарела, и скучновата, особенно в середине.
Тем не менее, это уже классика.
Becky Black
I was pretty proud of myself for getting through this one. Not because it's boring - Dawkins is never boring! - but I'm definitely a layperson and this one is far more technical than the others I'd read. But I'm glad I stuck with it, because it gives more depth and perspective on the ideas in the more populist books.
Genetic Cuckoo
A wonderufl book for anyone interested in biology or genetics. It talks about how natural selection can be altered and produce very shocking results. It explains how the peacock got it's tail and the interesting train of between being desirable as a mate and being able to survive. It's a facinating book.
Molly Brodak
This is the one to read. Anyone who wants to say anything about Dawkins should read this first.
Paul
Not a book for everyone. Technically challanging for non-biologists.
Luke
I recently finished The Extended Phenotype by Professor Richard Dawkins. Published over thirty years ago this book is surprisingly relevant as well as profoundly interesting and important. This book is a “work of unabashed advocacy” used by the author, a prominent Biologist, to introduce his view he dubbed the Extended Phenotype. It is a work of nonfiction, but is more of a zealous lecture than a narrative. This book is an extension of his first book, The Selfish Gene which introduces his theor...more
Glauber
The first two thirds of the book are actually an extension of the previous book (The Selfish Gene) where Dawkins goes deeper in that idea and discusses whatever he thought necessary before actually discussing the idea of the extended phenotype, which he does in the last third of the book. Again, this idea is not a real theory, instead, it's a different way of seeing things just like the selfish gene was. Indeed, the extended phenotype idea is more of a corollary that follows from the selfish gen...more
Broodingferret
Well, that took a while. This book is not for everyone. Dawkins himself says in the Introduction that this book is intended for professional biologists and not laymen, and it is no understatement. Halfway through the book I had to stop and take a break, during which I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, a trashy queer beach-read and two graphic novels.

This book is absolutely fascinating, though it requires quite a bit of rigor to complete (having an encyclop
...more
Jason Griggs
This book contains wonderfully interesting information about the animal world. I had no idea that some of those bizarre parasitic organisms existed or that many of the commonly known organisms have such elaborate strategies for competing with each other. If you liked The Selfish Gene, then be reassured that The Extended Phenotype is full of the type of factoids that you enjoyed in the first book. The problem is that it is a poorly written book with too many long tangents upon tangents. This lead...more
Alan Clark
As a layman, as opposed to the professional biologist to whom the book is primarily aimed, I did not know what to expect. I have read his other books and had little difficulty with them, and some parts of this were heavy going for me so I did occasionally skip a few pages.

However there is much of interest. As well as giving a different perspective on Evolution, Dawkins illustrates his book with many interesting examples of animal behaviour, and talks about them from a game-playing point of view...more
Paul
As Dawkins warns at the outset, whereas the Selfish Gene was written for the layman, the Extended Phenotype is written for the professional biologist. This is why I think I'm being terribly unfair with just a three-star rating, but at least I'm being honest. It's not that I couldn't keep up with the level of argument and the abundance of technical terms, no - I just didn't care! I have no interest in the nuances of the evolution wars that were going on at Dawkin's time of writing, and I complete...more
JJVid
"[The] 'central theorem' of the extended phenotype: An animal's behaviour tends to maximize the survival of the genes 'for' that behaviour, whether or not those genes happen to be in the body of the particular animal
performing it." p233

Dawkin's theory of the extended phenotype is given full expression in this his self-proclaimed favorite work. It is only now that I realize the publication of The Extended Phenotype (TEP) was in 1982, a mere three years after my favorite work of his The Selfish Ge...more
Nicolai
you stand in the midst of uncountable interlocking fields of replicator power!!!

an extended phenotypic character i teh product of teh intereaction of many genes whose influence impinges from both inside and outside the organism.

this book follows on logically from the selfish gene and takes the genes eye view all the way outward from the gene to its ultimate effects.

genes exert quatitative, mutually interactive, mutually modifying, effects on a shared phenotype.

natural selection is the process...more
Grouchymax
Dawkins will always sparkle and charm me, even despite his unbelievable refusal to admit the adaptive nature of faith (in god, in whatever 'helps' a group of people cohere). This book, however, has become less impressive the more I understand genetics. I wish this book had been co-written with a geneticist, but absent that, the greater point still holds: just as the individual genes cannot be assessed without considering their host bodies, we cannot assess them without consideration of their aff...more
Michael Korbakov
Great but fatiguing

Contrary to Dawkin's most famous "Selfish Gene" this book is much more difficult to read for a non-biologist person. Some parts required me to google terms definitions and problem backgrounds each paragraph, if not line.
Despite of this the whole reading experience is very satisfying. Lot of new concepts that bring up interesting ideas, numerous facts and remarkably great language - all of this teams up to build the great book. It's great reading for everyone ready to grind thr...more
Henrique Cassol
Aqui neste livro, o brilhante Zoólogo Geneticista Dawkins traz o contra-argumento da seleção natural Darwiniana e o extremo da filosofia de Capra (A Teia da Vida). Ele defende que os animais, especialmente os seres humanos, são egoístas por essência, devido à uma predisposição gênica inerente a sua sobrevivência. O altruísmo, assim, seria um modo não racional de existência e fadado ao fracasso evolutivo, pois evita a competição entre genes. Não sou a favor de sua teoria, embora concorde com algu...more
Charlotte
A good book, very detailed points on previous ideas that have been made. I really love the idea of the extended phenotype. I am studying Zoology and I am in my second year, my mind did get a bit confused at certain parts of the book. I think I will be getting this on the kindle as I found the text size too small so I couldn't read this book for long amounts of time, which I think is a shame as it made me loose concentration and forget parts of the book which where latered referred to.
Anyone wit...more
Amanda
It was very interesting to read an earlier work by Richard Dawkins, especially one aimed at a scientific audience. He presents some fascinating ideas regarding the approach we take to quantifying evolution, and The Extended Phenotype is certainly a necessary piece of reading for anyone working in a related field. The first half of the book seemed bloated, however; he could have made all the necessary points in just one or two chapters, and I found the sheer length of reading before getting to th...more
Kerszi
Książkę tą przeczytałem z wielkim trudem, po pierwsze była trudno dostępna, po drugie droga (80 zł!), po trzecie ciężko mi się ją czytało. Ale tylko ta pozycja Dawkinsona została mi do przeczytania. Więc się wziąłem za nią. Tak jak autor piszę, jest ona trudniejsza niż inne jego książki, jest skierowana do biologów i studentów oraz ludzi znających się w temacie. Zaletą jest słowniczek na końcu, bez którego dla takiego laika jak ja byłaby nie do przeczytania. Na ten czas przeczytałem wszystkie ks...more
Andy
The follow-up to the brilliant work The Selfish Gene. Only the last few chapters actually focus directly on the extended phenotype concept, which was disappointing to me, as I thought it was one of Dawkins's more intriguing ideas introduced in this book's precursor. Those chapters are indeed the best and most interesting; much of the rest is spent defending the selfish gene concept from criticisms and making small but not especially revelatory touch-ups on the basic theory. It's still very good...more
Rory Armstrong
While written well, I feel like I've missed some prerequisite knowledge that's required to understand this book. I get that genes can influence the phenotypes of other animals besides the individual, but I'm left wondering what the initial view of the necker cube is that Dawkins references to. I had great difficulty following the lines of argument throughout. I wouldn't recommend to someone to read this if they enjoyed The Selfish Gene. However I'm not discounting the book at all or its idea, si...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Nature Via Nurture: Genes, Experience and What Makes Us Human
  • The Structure of Evolutionary Theory
  • Sociobiology: The New Synthesis
  • What Evolution Is
  • The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution
  • Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life
  • The Meme Machine
  • Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea
  • Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution
  • Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters
  • Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think
  • DNA: The Secret of Life
  • Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine
  • The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution
  • Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
  • Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth
  • Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution (Science Masters)
  • Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction
The God Delusion The Selfish Gene The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution

Share This Book