Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science

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UK hardcover 1st edition.

Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science is the second volume of Richard Dawkins's autobiographical memoir, the first being An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist. The book was published on 2015-09-10 and includes stories about his various projects, lectures, life events, and university days.


Read?Audiobook read by Richard Dawkins

I started this book not knowing that it was the second volume of Dawkins's autobiography, but, by the time I found out, I was far too long into it to stop. Thankfully, after finishing the volume, I noticed that it stood just fine on its own with only a few references to the first volume. Although I still read the first volume immediately thereafter.





  • As with every other Dawkins book I've read, it's well-written, enjoyable to read, and uses an extensive vocabulary.
  • Dawkins talks about his process behind each of his books, which I found interesting, and I especially liked the description of his work on the Christmas Lectures in which I felt Dawkins did a wonderful job.
  • In spite of Dawkins's many faux pas regarding women, he is quite the feminist in the book, both in the way he writes, and his retelling of his life's works. It's a shame he puts his foot in his mouth so many times when speaking off-the-cuff.


  • There is a fair amount of juvenile jabs at other biologists, particularly against Stephen Jay Gould, who was dead before the book was written, so they're in poor taste.
  • Several times Dawkins talks about why he doesn't like how publishers/videographers do this or that to better sell their books/documentaries. For example, he said he doesn't like when publishers change titles, and he refuses to use a common tactic where the host walks toward the camera as the camera operator walks away at same speed. I found this both uninteresting and a little ignorant. Obviously, the videographers know their work better than Dawkins, and the "walking forward" shot is certainly more visually interesting than the host just standing there, so why is he fighting them on this?


  • Nothing.




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