Book review The Origin of Species

Origin of Species is considered as one of the most brilliant ideas mankind has ever witnessed.


GENRE: Classics

AUTHOR: Charles Darwin

PAGES: 564


FOLLOWED BY: The Voyage of the Beagle, The expression of emotions in man & animals, The variation of Plants & Animals under Domestication

RELATED BOOKS The Selfish Gene & The Greatest show on earth by Richerd Dawkins

About the Author

Charles Darwin belonged to a wealthy family with a long line of famous ancestors. He joined the University of Cambridge to become a priest in the Church of England. However, he got interested in nature, geology, biology, and learned all about a scientific study, observation, data recording, and analysis from Professor Adam Sedgwick. After graduation, he was hired aboard the British Survey Ship in order to participate in scientific exploration around the world. The expedition which was supposed to take two actually took five years. It covered Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, islands in the Atlantic Ocean, southern coast of South America. After coming back, Charles spent almost twenty years analyzing his findings & writing results. Origin of species was the product of that observation.

Summary of The Origin of Species


Table of Contents

1. Variation Under Domestication
2. Variation Under Nature
3. Struggle of Existence
4. Natural Selection or Survival of the Fittest
5. Laws of Variation
6. Difficulty in The Theory
7. Miscellaneous Objectives to The Theory of Natural Selection
8. Instinct
9. Hybridism
10. On the Imperfection of Geological record
11.On the Geological Succession of Organic Beings
12. Geographical Distribution
13.Geographical Distribution- Continued
14. Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings
15. Recapitulation & Conclusion

The Origin of Species revolutionized the world with its stunning philosophies on evolution, extinction, coordination, variation, and the enormous diversity of life we observe around us. Charles was first to explain why some animals are friendly to humans while others are not even when they share common ancestors. How cross-breeding in animals and plants gave successful results. 
His work also included observation of the same species of finches, living on different islands showing variation in beak structures.  It was due to dissimilarities in the source of food on those islands which were few miles apart. 

There is an interesting chapter in the book is the Struggle of Existence. Charles argued day to day existence is a constant struggle that ensures selection will occur. Those able to adapt will thereby survive and reproduce, passing the trait that made survival possible. In this way nature ensures survival of fittest
Living creatures unconsciously adapt in order to survive. Adaptive traits are reproduced and nonadaptive traits reduce over time. For example, humans still bear the tissue that makes gills in fish, but our surroundings do not ask for gills so it got concealed. A separate discussion was done on instincts. The author argues, "Instinct, which we humans should require experience to enable us to perform, when performed by an animal or say young adult without any practice or experience, without knowing the purpose is called as instinct".

Though Darwin tried his best to generalize his theories to every life form, he accepted that a major section of his findings, still not falls in his ideas, which he reasoned as imperfection in the geological record. 
The author focused on migration, "why a particular genera was confined to a specific location?". Like elephants are found in warm climate regions or "why pigeons can survive in multiple climates?". "Why there is a requirement for migration?". The answer came out was-In the quest for survival, species behave differently. There are no standards that govern the changing attribute. It can be an introduction or removal of some body parts, it can be migration or it can be both.

Book Review of The Origin Of Species

Origin of Species is the first classical book in my reading list. It was an adventure to read the work of the 19th century. Being honest, I was struggling to comprehend as the writing is quite different from today's novelist. It was complex, ambiguous, and full of profound ideas.  I bet, if this was published by today's writers, it could have taken thrice a number of pages. 
Another challenge was understanding terminology. Glossary is available, but insufficient for readers having no background in this field. I have to read multiple times to understand a single line. It felt like I am inside someone who thinks a lot and thinks haphazardly. It will be a test for readers but believe me, its worth it.

Coming to question asked during my read "Why are you reading this?"
Well, I picked this book not to know the diversity of flora & fauna but as a tool to understand "Nature's way of Management." During my read, I didn't pay attention to technical terms. I was interested in understanding what triggers captivity in changing the environment. If you consider "Nature as Enterprise", & all the organisms as its products, then the life forms we observe, with common ancestors, are its product portfolio. So in order to tweak products according to changing market scenario will govern its life. 
I admire nature's way of doing things and we can copy its process to achieve exceptional results. Furthermore, people like Darwin, Karl Marx, Leo Tolstoy, and many more are the pioneers of the system from which our education got structured. Therefore, I am orienting myself to absorb from them.


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  1. The book needs no introduction. Even after more than 150 years of publish, its theories remain surprisingly relevant and accurate. It was the first major work that helped mankind dispel the doubt that life and supporting process in nature follow a random, unpredictable path. The association between environment and the species that inhabit it is the foundation which defines even modern theories like climate change and protection of some endagerend flora and fauna.
    Should also commend a well-written review and the honest admission of the challenges of reading a classic which is dense with technicality. Regardless, it should inspire anyone who loves nature to pick up the book and finish it, if not done already.

    1. True, and not only for people who love nature but also who look for complete knowledge.

  2. An author like Charles Darwin born with a silver spoon in 19 th century ,a great lover of nature and species on earth. Despite having good education from Cambridge chooses to become priest. His eternal feelings shows his species as well as man kindness. Although in this era too there are numbers who loves nature but may not be as charles Darwin. It is indeed true that animals are so trustworthy rather compare to human beings. That's why dogs are being assisted in solving various issue. The comments of kumar Ujjwal " association of both environment and species are essential to run on great path of life.

    Your curiosity of reading so such type of book show your trauma also and igniting others to read by giving good thought and review. Good effort boy. My suggestion too for nature lover to go through.

  3. I have read all the comments and suggestions posted by the visitors for this article are very fine,We will wait for your next article so only.Thanks! dropshipping fulfillment


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