Summary of The Selfish Gene

Oxford UP,
First Edition: 1976 more...

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The Selfish Gene book summary
Do big lions eat little lions? No. Are you sometimes altruistic? Yes. And why is this true? It's survival of the genes.


9 Overall

9 Innovation

9 Style


This is an excellent book, thought provoking, lucidly written and full of ideas that seem fresh and new even three decades after first publication. Richard Dawkins is a preeminent writer on science and this was the first of his impressive, award-winning books on various scientific and philosophical subjects. Here and there, the book, which covers evolution, heredity, man’s place among living creatures and many other subjects as well, shows its age. For example, Dawkins refers to transistors in his discussion of computers, wonders whether a computer will ever be able to win a chess match against a grand master and seems to think that understanding the gene sequence is an almost impossibly distant dream. But the book’s underlying logic and its big ideas have nothing antiquated or obsolete about them. getAbstract highly recommends it to the intellectually curious.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to adopt a new perspective on evolution and the purpose of life
  • What concepts lie behind a complex classic text in science and psychology


The Purpose of People
Most people do not really understand evolution. It is not about improving the species. It is about the survival of individuals, not individual animals or people, but individual genes.

People have evolved with all sorts of characteristics that are bad...
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About the Author

Richard Dawkins is the first holder of Oxford University’s newly-endowed Charles Simoni Professorship of Public Understanding of Science. He has written many bestselling books, including Climbing Mount Improbable, and has won many literary awards.

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