rachelm's Reviews > The Selfish Gene

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
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Sep 12, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: nonfiction
Read in September, 2007

Writing lucidly about science for a lay audience while remaining scientifically rigorous is not easy, and Dawkins does a tremendous job as he examines evolution from the point of view of the gene rather than the organism.

I found this book to contain a number of "aha" moments -- for example, that rather than pose the question "Why is DNA an efficient mechanism for an individual organism to reproduce itself?", we should ask instead "How did a giant, complicated lumbering robot such as myself become a good mechanism for the reproduction of the self-replicating entities I call my genes? Why did biological matter floating around in the primordial stew originally clump together into larger organisms?"

Dawkins answers these questions and more in an engaging fashion, applying the theory of the selfish gene to aggression, altruism, sexual and familial relationships, and to the transmission of ideas in human societies.

And he makes a point of leaving us with the optimistic thought that we as humans should be informed by our biological history, but need not be bound by it.
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