The Selfish Gene
Comments and mentions from HN threads:
Ask HN: Books with a high signal to noise ratio?
hga: ...is wonderfully tight, indeed very little noise and a whole lot of signal.
Ask HN: What book impacted your life the most and how?
dandare: Because it explained that "evil" is not evil but "mathematically" inevitable, thus allowing me to find (relative) peace of mind.
Ask HN: What books fundamentally changed the way you think about the world?
otalp: I had like one page in my textbook dedicated to evolution, so when I read The Selfish Gene and everything clicked and it all made sense, it was the sort of 'eureka' moment I'd always heard about.
dakrootie: The Selfish Gene did more to change my view of the world than any other book I've ever read. Not in a religious sense, as many others cite, but rather it laid the foundation for a deeper understanding of people, culture, violent behavior, herd mentality, etc. It's a masterpiece.
Ask HN: Which non-technology book has influenced you the most and why?
mattnewton: Changed the way I looked at the world. Made evolution make some sense, and to some degree, paired with the extended phenotype, helped society make more sense. So much of altruism, racism, and tribalism have roots in game theory of you accept the hypothesis of the gene as the unit of natural selection.
pklausler: This (the replicator) is the mind-blowing concept that I'm still thinking about 35 years after I first read this marvelous little book. Organisms and people and species and cultures are ephemeral side-effects of mindlessly self-replicating patterns. You'll never look at the world the same way after reading this one!
Ask HN: What books have made the biggest impact on your mental models?
austenallred: For understanding human behavior
autarch: Changed how I thought about animal behavior and what living things do
Ask HN: Which books do you wish you'd read earlier in life?
jrs95: One of the best books I've read. If you have any interest in the process of evolution/natural selection, I highly recommend it. It's not as "political" or explicitly atheistic as some of Dawkins' more recent work either, so people who have a negative opinion of that sort of thing shouldn't be turned off by his name being on it.
Ask HN: Which books have made you introspect?
kaycebasques: Picturing myself purely as a machine for propagating my genes was quite the perspective shift.
Ask HN: What are your favorite non-fiction books of all time?
sorenn111: The Selfish Gene has been the most influential book on my life. Especially when Dawkins makes the point about pre-darwininan philosophy needing rethinking. His point being that natural selection/evolution is such a profound notion that it should be embedded into the underpinnings of philosophy itself.
Ask HN: What books changed the way you think about almost everything?
fingerlocks: This is the only book I’ve read that truly “changed” the way I think (excluding school textbooks) in a fundamental way. It was like discovering a new spacial dimension orthogonal to the existing 3. Like, how did I even live before this book?
kuu: ...I guess that coming from a CS background it was a big revelation to understand the biology in such a different perspective. Really worth reading.
scott_s: ...was a revelation to me. I read it during college, as a break from my math, CS and physics classes. It felt like having an evolutionary biology course on the side.
sinkpoint: changed the way I define life, opened my eyes to virtual life, and morality of selfishness vs. altruism.
mcraenich: ...Almost everything I've studied can be broken into two periods - that I studied before reading the Selfish Gene, and what I studied after.
xutopia: Gave me the courage to look at things differently when everyone thinks we know it all
tvladeck: Evolution is the reason we exist! Understanding how it happens and why it can lead to counterintuitive outcomes is very important. He also narrates his own audiobooks and is excellent at it.
NikolaNovak: It single-handedly changed my perspective and mental/internal framework of the universe. I struggled philosophically with questions of consciousness and our place & meaning in the universe. ...
alexryan: Once I came understand that human beings are survival machines built for the single minded task of gene survival, everyone’s behavior become much more predictable.
Ask HN: Recommend one book I need to read this summer?
kuu: Quite interesting book, it gave me a new perspective in how the evolution and life works.
Ask HN: Read any good books lately?
w4tson: I listened to the Selfish Gene on Audible recently and was blown away by it. All through school I never had much of an interest in biology or genetics. I think if I’d read this earlier it may have changed my mind.
Ask HN: What is the most mind blowing book you've ever read?
BigCanOfTuna: The idea that organisms evolved to be survival vehicles for our genes totally inverted and simplified my view of life. It gave me a plausible explanation for how we came to be, and put the final nail in religion's coffin (for me).
lake99: Not crazy to grasp, but figuring out how nature works is mind blowing. Of all the books I have gifted to people, this one tops the list.
Mentions by: jepper