Book: The Agile Gene

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“After several millennia, one might think there was nothing left to say in the nature-nurture debate, but Matt Ridley shows that one would be wrong. The Agile Gene lucidly explains the most recent discoveries on what makes us what we are, and how we should think about these discoveries as we ponder who we want to be. Like all of Ridley’s other books, this one is a treat, written with insight, wisdom, and style throughout.”

Steven Pinker

“A breath of fresh air.… A terriffic read…. Ridley unveils the intricacies of gene operations with wonderful clarity and fascinating examples.”


“Ridley once again shows his gift for making the new and complicated lessons of biology so clear that we feel we knew them all along.… [He] is simply one of the best science writers in the business.”

Hartford Courant

The Agile Gene proposes a new way of looking at an ongoing debate.”

Washington Post Book World

“Matt Ridley breathes new life into the old debate of heredity versus environment. He deftly examines subjects as diverse as sexual identity, political theory, and psychotic behavior. This book will both edify and excite the intelligent reader.”

—Jerome Groopman, M.D.

“Provocative…. Engaging…. [Ridley] makes another little-noticed bombshell in scientific research easy for laypeople to understand.”

Detroit Free Press

“Thoughtful and entertaining…. Ridley has written a good book that takes you on a tour of genetics, human behavior, psychology, philosophy, and half a dozen other fields.”


“I would never have expected a book about ‘nature or nurture’ to be even mildly interesting, let alone a real page-turner. But I had reckoned without Matt Ridley’s gift for surprising the reader. What a superb writer he is, and he seems to get better and better.”

—Richard Dawkins

“An engrossing study of what makes us who we are … conveyed with insight and style.”

—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The Agile Gene sets the modern terms for an ancient debate, and at the same time delivers a superb tutorial on contemporary genetics. These times call out for a book like this one.”

—Ian McEwan

“Matt Ridley makes the latest findings in developmental genetics accessible to everyone…. He places the findings in a historical and social context that makes sense.”

Globe and Mail

“Provocative findings to enrich the all-absorbing study of genes and behavior.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Terrific popular science.”

Booklist (starred review)

“Ridley’s enthusiasm for his subject is contagious…. He writes with panache, wit, and humor and displays remarkable ingenuity in finding ways to present complicated materials for the lay reader.”

Los Angeles Times

“Ridley is a skilled science writer and able to lighten the heaviest discussions with clever analogies.”

New York Times Book Review

“Written with insight, wisdom, and style throughout…. Lucidly explains the most recent discoveries on what makes us what we are, and how we should think about these discoveries as we ponder who we want to be.”

—Steven Pinker

Previous: About the Author
Next: Other Works