Customer Reviews for

The Selfish Gene

Average Rating 4.5
( 48 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 8 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2004


    I just got finished reading this book, and I must say that it is absolutely amazing! It took me a while to get through all the details, but it was well worth the effort! Dawkins' use of stories and examples throughout The Selfish Gene really drove his theory home for me. It also made the book an enjoyable read. The insight and research that went into The Selfish Gene is really astounding. I think the quote on the cover from the New York Times says it best: ¿the sort of popular science writing that makes the reader feel like a genius.¿ Dawkins is an amazing author and scientist who has been able to condense a lifetime of work into a relatively short book that any layperson can understand. If you are undecided about evolution, there are plenty of books out there, like Dawkins¿ latest work, that address this issue. The Selfish Gene was written for readers who have already decided that evolution is a well founded and scientifically supported theory. If you don¿t fit that description, then you probably won¿t get much out of this book But for those readers not hindered by a bias against evolution and any book that mentions it, this book is outstanding. The Selfish Gene is about evolution, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. This book shows how we, as humans, interact with one another and what drives us in our day-to-day lives. The scope of The Selfish Gene really is incredible. Dawkins has been able to take a basic idea and apply it to every aspect of our existence and the existence of every living thing on earth.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2002

    Masterfully done, very relevant for both the scientist and layman

    Dawkins writes this book specifically for the individual with an interest in evolution but not too much of a background. The book is well-constructed and flows smoothly from the beginning of self-replicators, or genes, how they came to power, and what directions they may take us in the future. I drew a tremendous amount of knowledge from this book, and I highly recommend it to any and all who have ever questioned, held an interest in or think they know all there is to know about evolution, genes and why we humans are who we are.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2000

    Best required reading ever!

    This is an awesome book! I was required to read this book for one of my biology classes in college, and it was by far the most entertaining, interesting, and still thought-provoking non-fiction book I've ever read. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in evolution, even if you have no background in biology. He is a great writer and makes it all very understandable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2003

    THE book about genetics and evolution for laypeople

    A quarter of a century old it may be, but 'The Selfish Gene' is still the best book to read if you want to learn about what genetics and evolution are really about. Dawkins' style is accessible for those (such as myself) with practically no experience in biology, and the subject matter is applicable to all. What is the selfish gene? Traditionally, people tend to look at evolution at the level of the organism. They think of different alleles aiding or harming the 'fitness' of an organism. Or, worse, they could take the group-selectionist view and talk about how a gene or an organism helps the 'survival of the species.' But Dawkins makes a convincing case that it is best to look at natural selection at the level of the gene. Each gene 'wants' to secure its survival and maximize its proliferation in the future. (A suggested title for the book was 'Immortal Coils,' referring to the lifespan of the gene and the double-helical structure of the DNA in which it is embedded. This ended up as the title for chapter 3.) By this, it is meant that genes that are more successful at proliferation and self-replication are more likely to survive. Thus, the genes are not instruments of the organism, but rather the reverse. The organism is a robot 'designed' by genes to maximize their survival and proliferation. Dawkins' name for these robots - including us - is 'survival machines.' This is not a disparaging term, of course, and some of the most enjoyable portions of the book are brought about by Dawkins' instillation of hope in the reader - hope that humans, alone among Earth's survival machines, have the ability to transcend the limitations that genetics and culture would impose on them and strive for something higher. My purpose here has been to give you a taste of the content of the book. This book will change the way you think of evolution - and the way you think of our species - for the better.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2003

    An Epiphany!

    As a student with little background and even more skepticism in evolutionary psychology, this book answered every single one of my, 'yeah but why...' questions. If you think you understand evolution, and don't agree with it, I dare you to read this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2001

    Best Evolution Book Since Origin of Species

    Charles Darwin's insight into evolution, Natural Selecton, cast a brilliant light on the field of natural history that caused a revolution in scientific thinking. Brilliant ideas bring scientific truths into sharper focus. Natural selection was such an idea. 'The Selfish Gene' is, in it's way, as revolutionary. Many apparent problems in evoluton, are brilliantly clarified by viewing life from the gene point of view. Richard Dawkins' excellent exposition on this perspective is must reading. Dawkins' brilliance is not only his knowledge and insight, but his clarity and lucid writing style. It has been said that a really effective writer makes the reader feel brilliant, as though he's discovered the insights himself. This accolade describes Dawkins to a tee. This is the core book on evolution. Everyone should read it. If you never read another book on science read this one. If you want to start learning about science and evolution, start here. If you care about the truth and 'honesty in reporting' read this and the other Dawkins books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2001

    Is there a different way to construct complex things?

    An excelent point of view for a problem that expects a scientific explanation. No vitalism is involved and certainly is not for vitalists. This book has been a powerfull support for the development of new theories about how constructivism is displaced as the only way to get complex things.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2000

    the barely known/never taught spin on things

    the take on genetics and our genes that you would never even think it could be. but after reading dawkin's words the apparent truth is revealed. is it us being us or just the selfish little gene at play?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 8 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1