This is a classic of popular writings on evolutionary biology (from 1976), so I assume many PF members are familiar with this book. I just got around to reading it now and I was impressed by it. I certainly liked it better than the other, more recent book of his I read, “Climbing Mount Improbable”, which was about insights into the mechanisms of slow evolutionary change (Darwinian). If you’re not familiar with The Selfish Gene, it explains how the driving force in evolution does not operate at the level of a species or an individual, but instead at the level of specific genes. Genes are the prime players in evolution. Animal (or plant, etc.) bodies are merely vehicles/vessels for genes to achieve their goal of propagation. Genes form temporary alliances with other genes in order to assist with reproduction, which results in a genetic code that produces an animal/plant/etc. Instances of altruism, either between individuals or acts “for the good of the whole” are actually selfish acts of genes. (Mind you, Dawkins is not saying that genes have a will or can think.) If anything, this book makes you think. More than that, it makes you re-evaluate your view of life. The view of genes as the lead players in life kind of goes against common sense, or common experience, but Dawkins presents a good argument. It’s also interesting to compare his view of evolution to that of others who write about evolution. Conclusion: Highly recommended food for thought. Aside #1: As I read it, I also realized where a lot of Creationist ire comes from. Dawkins’s atheism can be harsh at times when he speaks of religion, meaning of life, etc. Reading works from someone like Gould doesn’t give that same feeling of an attack on religious beliefs. Aside #2: The last chapter contains an interesting introduction on his hypothesis about “memes” (the evolutionary units of human culture). Aside #3: From his recent book “Climbing Mount Improbable”, it is apparent that Dawkins is a fan of computer simulations of evolutionary processes. He also talks about some computer models in the 1976 book and it’s humorous/quaint to see him explaining to the reader what a computer is and what it can do, now that in 2004, we all take computers for granted.