Listen free for 30 days

Audible Membership

$14.95 a month

1 credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
The Plus Catalogue—listen all you want to thousands of Audible Originals, podcasts, and audiobooks.
$14.95 a month plus applicable taxes after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy Now for $24.59

Buy Now for $24.59

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Tax where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion and a life-long committed Darwinist, abridges and reads this special audio version of Charles Darwin's famous book. A literally world-changing book, Darwin put forward the anti-religious and scientific idea that humans in fact evolved over millions of generations from animals, starting with fish, all the way up through the ranks to apes, then to our current form.

Dawkin's passion for his subject and hero are clear and exciting for listeners, who, whatever their religious or scientific views, will be intrigued and captivated by this involving production of arguably one of the most important books of all time.

©2006 CSA Telltapes Ltd. (P)2006 CSA Telltapes Ltd.

What listeners say about On the Origin of Species

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    32
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    29
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    26
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Been wanting to read this for years!!!

was a tough read on my own, so I opted to have it read TO me instead. lol I tend to re-listen to material that is a little tough to get through,so I'm plow through this again soon. very insightful, and detailed.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very effective abridgement

Having read 'On the Origins of Species' in full, this abridged version does a wonderful job in getting to the essence of Darwin's opus by leaving out many of the numerous examples that he used to make his point. If the listener is new to this work, start here. However, I would encourage reading the full text. It is a classic for a reason.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • M
  • 2009-05-28

A Perfect Abridgement

"On the Origin of Species" is one of the most important books ever written. It is the most accessible of revolutionary original scientific works. Galileo's "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems" is next closest. One might try reading Faraday, but not Newton, Copernicus, Boltzmann, or even Einstein. Darwin intended it as an "Abstract" for a much longer work, but in fact, this abstract needs abridgement. Darwin justifies each assertion with too many detailed examples, complaining all the while about having to omit so much. This interferes with the coherence of his argument for descent with modification by means of natural selection. Thankfully, Richard Dawkins, a celebrated polemicist and author in his own right ("The Selfish Gene," "The God Delusion") has selected out the most important chapters and the most important passages in those chapters, and then he reads them beautifully. One of the most striking revelations is how many of the arguments against his theory Darwin himself anticipated. This is a great way to "read" a book with which every educated person should be familiar.

38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Roy
  • 2008-12-16

Superbly abridged and superbly read

I have attempted to read the original several times. For practical reasons (I have young children) I just never could get through.

This abridgement serves my needs ideally; I did not want to miss any of the salient arguments or data to support them, and I wanted to be sure to understand __in Darwin's words__ what he proposed so that I could better appreciate contemporary refinements.

Superbly narrated by Richard Dawkins. A great joy in every way.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cora Judd
  • 2009-05-24

So glad I finally read this!

Richard Dawkins' narration of this book is excellent -- I enjoyed it immensely, however, without my semester of physical anthropology, the essential points would have required much more mental attention.

Dawkins inserts clarifying information throughout the book and while Darwin's writing is wonderfully clear, I think more of Dawkins' notes and updates would have been an enhancement.

I was surprised to see how diverse Darwin's background research was and how elegantly he wrote. He anticipated counter-arguments to his ideas and cleanly, systematically eliminated them. As he concluded each level of his argument, the gaps in his knowledge (due to gaps in scientific progress) required that he make certain logical leaps and assumptions. These were especially interesting because he was invariably correct, as time has shown.

Dawkins abridged the book to some degree which makes me leary - I want to know what the author intended the reader to know. And because the subject is still (astoundingly) controversial, abridging anything of this nature will likely invite criticism.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • 2008-11-05

Very interesting

I haven't read the unabridged version of Darwin's book, so I don't know what was left out, but this abridged version was extremely interesting. Given all the controversy surrounding this book, this was a great way to actually get through the thing without dedicating huge amounts of time to it - and, you'll be the only one in any given conversation that actually read it. That said, whatever your stance on the subject, this book will give you the distinct impression that an immense amount of work went into its writing. He lays out his observations along with the difficulties he had in interpreting the data in an interesting and engaging fashion. His writing style, which is not "I'm exactly right and here's why," is so different from the style of books today that I found it really refreshing. I'm tired of authors glancing over the difficulties in their arguments in their effort to convert you - this book, in contrast, provides reams of data, the problems associated it, and his conclusions as best he could articulate them, while still allowing for error. Good, solid work, regardless of your ideological bent.

32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • NA
  • 2012-10-16

Darwin read by Dawkins...

Where does On the Origin of Species rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Hello! It's Charles Darwin read by Richard Dawkins. If you don't understand how fantastic this is you have a lot of reading to do.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Neuron
  • 2015-05-16

Of historical interest

Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection is, despite its simplicity, one of the most important and consequential scientific theories ever to be formulated. The origin of species is the book in which the concept of natural selection was first introduced. Contrary to popular beliefs, people in Darwin's time (unlike some creationists) did recognize that evolution, that is gradual changes of organisms, did occur. However, no one understood the mechanism responsible for this evolution, and this is where Darwin offered a solution i.e. natural selection.

The book starts out by discussing the role of human selection in the molding of domesticated animals. People had realized that if you want a good milk cow, or a dog that will help you hunt wild animals, then you select parents that possess the traits you desire in the offspring. If you repeat this a few times the traits become more and more pronounced until you have an animal that is specialized for whatever skill you selected for. On his voyage on the HMS Beagle, Darwin realized that such selection is not only done by humans, but also by nature itself. Because there are limited resources in the world and limited number of opportunities to mate with a member of the opposite sex, those individuals that manage to overcome acquire food and mates will become the parents of the next generation and hence their traits will become more pronounced in the population. Selected traits can be anything from aggression, co-operation, large beaks, small beaks, more color, less color etc etc.

The reasoning in this book is straightforward and I don’t understand how any sane person can disagree with the basic argument. However, for the reader who wants to understand evolution I would recommend reading Richard Dawkin’s Selfish Gene rather than the origin of species because it gives you a more complete story and it is also more well written.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Patrick
  • 2009-12-14

a must listen-so u think u understand evolution

1) Dawkins does a great job.
2) A great way to fill in the gaps of understanding evolution - not a difficult book, but you need undivided attention - Darwin's writing -Extraordinary

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alexander
  • 2012-11-21

There's no excuse not to listen to this book

If you were ever curious to read this book because of it's astounding fame but never got around to buying the heavy, dense paperback version then this is just for you. This abridged but comprehensive version of On the Origin of the Species is enough to make you feel like you can cross it off your list while knowing the time you spent listening to it was worth it. This book is truly an impressive piece of work with one of the most important ideas mankind has ever had and it is expressed in artful language and backed up with fascinating evidence.

Richard Dawkins does a good job reading this baby. He's a little cold in his narration and even robotic at times but the text stands up for itself.

You won't regret it.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Elena
  • 2009-09-12

Wonderful

Darwin's meticulous work that spanned decades is patiently and humbly summarized in this beautiful book. His writing is charming and careful and the fact that it is fascinating to readers 200 years later is a testament to the man's genius. To hear Richard Dawkins read the words of Darwin is a wonderful thing and makes the experience almost transcendent. It doesn't matter if you understand evolution or not, this book will inform you about how Darwin came to say what he did and hear it in his own words.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Heath
  • 2013-02-17

Simple, Elegant and Enlightening

What did you love best about On the Origin of Species?

The simple elegance, and the numerous examples of what he was talking about. You didn't need to trust him, because he provided examples of everything.

What other book might you compare On the Origin of Species to and why?

Richard Dawkins "The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution". It covers the sam esubject but with more modern research and examples.

Which character – as performed by Richard Dawkins – was your favorite?

There is only one- Mr. Darwin.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The discussion of the Slave ants. Intriguing.

Any additional comments?

I highly recommend this book. It answered so many questions I had. Now mind, it is a bit outdated now. While all the general ground rules remain the same there is a plethora of new research that you will find covered in more detail in Mr. Dawkins "The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution".

1 person found this helpful