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Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  882 ratings  ·  98 reviews
"Virus of the Mind" is the first popular book devoted to the science of memetics, a controversial new field that transcends psychology, biology, anthropology, and cognitive science. Memetics is the science of memes, the invisible but very real DNA of human society.
Paperback, 251 pages
Published August 31st 2004 by Integral Press (first published 1995)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,854)
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Todd Martin
A “meme” is a unit of culture which can be transmitted from one mind to another through communication. It was first coined by Richard Dawkins in his book “The Selfish Gene” in the mid-1970s. Dawkins suggested that an idea (take religion for example) propagates through a culture in much the same way as a virus replicates its genes. In the case of religion, it infects a host, who then passes on the meme through evangelism (as opposed to sneezing on them). This way of looking at things is an intere ...more
tomlinton
I regard most of these books
as extended essays
and as such deserve a lower rating
since much or all of the material is filler
but if you are not aware
of the definition and the concept
of the meme
this is a good place to start
The overall premise
is you can't avoid their influence
but you can learn to spot them
when they're thrown at you
and you can learn to pick and choose
Amanda Kay
Pretty awful writing here. Also, a very big book for a very small idea. Every social thought = a 'good' (not qualitative) meme. If something is pervasive through society (i.e. American Idol contestants, or a politician folly) it is a 'good' meme (again, 'good' is not qualitative).

Essentially, this is the idea of the book. Common sense will tell you that we are programmed with social, cultural, religious, traditional memes. The important thing is to be aware of them.

Meh.
Jafar
This guy was in Microsoft, got really rich, and quit. But he shouldn't write a book on memetics just because he's rich and bored.
Jon
Going to have to re-read this one, I have some serious gripes with it that I can't quite articulate yet. On the whole it was a good read, some really useful information, but also a few parts that really set off my bullshit detector. Should have taken better notes.

Among the claims this book makes that I found dubious: The author claims that racism is linked to our selfish gene's desire for self replication, but then goes onto claim that the reason we love other mammals is that they share so many
...more
Christopher James
Oh this is a bad book.

He does say in the introduction '...even reading these words might make you angry...'. This was true for the following 200 pages. I don't normally finish things I don't like. But as it was short I guess I wanted to get to the end to see if my anger was justified.

I could go on about what's wrong with it, but I'll just describe the formula for each chapter.

1. Make a general statement about a big idea.
2. Expound on it in 'ordinary' language. Miss the point completely.
3. Di
...more
Dan
I read about a quarter of this book. First off, I thought it would be more about the science than some sort of self-help approach. Probably my fault.

More importantly, the author makes unsupported assumptions about many topics not directly related to memes. The one that made me give up was when he trotted out the age old myth about too many "dumb people" breeding leading to a lowering of general intelligence. Over the past century, measurements of general intelligence have actually grown signific
...more
Michele Harrod
A great read, and certainly makes you think about where your own 'ideas' and beliefs actually come from - who planted those, and do they really serve you? It's made me have a really good close look at the basics like, why do I eat this, why do I live life according to this particular routine? Has given me great license to "de-bug"!! And I'm with them on the TV - greatest virus spreader of all time. Certainly worth reading if you have kids, so you can be more aware of how and where their influenc ...more
Alex
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cassandra Carico
This was an intelligent book. Unfortunately, I did not feel that it brought any new "memes" to the table. I got bored reading information that was not at all new, even though the author presented it in an entertaining manner. I would have better spent my time washing my hair.
M
This would have a higher rating if M Brodie did not include enormous (relatively irrelevant) sections on sex and evolution. While the original chapters on memetics were insightful and promising, he dives head first into a childish and unsophisticated lecture on human dynamics rather than stick to what he knows best...or doesn't. An interesting discussion but not very intelligent and the illustrations are awful. I can see this selling well but it's barely popular science fluff. I've only read a l ...more
Regan
Nov 23, 2014 Regan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
The author's enthusiasm for the subject is appreciated and does lend an element of enjoyability to the book. I thought his writing was lacking in a few ways though. I just couldn't get past the fact that he was so convinced that what he was writing was so revolutionary and powerful rather than an interesting different perspective on well understood ideas. As a person of faith I thought he was particularly sloppy in addressing the topic of religion - making condescending generalizations and fitti ...more
Creede
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jared
Virus of the Mind is a mix between Dawkins ideas of the meme, self help, poor philosophy (which can be blamed on Dawkins),and a championship of Zen meditation. So this book was a mixed bag.

I am not a fan of Dawkins ideas about religion. I don't think that man has a clue about what he is talking about. However, I do think his ideas of genetics being used to explain evolution is a clever idea, and applying evolution to the spread of ideas is also an interesting concept. Richard Brodie does a very
...more
Thom Foolery
Aug 01, 2010 Thom Foolery rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Thom by: *Poker Without Cards,* Ben Mack
My mind has been hijacked, and so here I am, vector for Richard Brodie's meme. First hypothesized by Richard Dawkins in the 1970s, "memes" are to the human mind what viruses are to the world of cellular biology--fragmentary gewgaws whose sole "purpose" is to hijack their host and use it to churn out copies of themselves. In brief, the idea behind "memetics" is that these memes and their propensity for replication are the fundamental driving force behind most human behavior, individually and coll ...more
Tyas
English starts here
Don't you wonder why people would love, with all their hearts, to tie bombs to their bodies and explode themselves away (presumably to Heaven, I'd rather think to Hell), taking other people away with them? That's the problem with memes: these things so 'abstract' fill your mind and mine, telling us what to do, in some aspects probably defining ourselves (if we are what we think and we do).

Some points are still probably debatable (and yes! Debate about it! Science is built on a
...more
Harini Padmanabhan
My uncle suggested this book to me and like with Dan Ariely he was spot on in recognising brilliance.

The book talks about memes which are viruses of the mind. In really simplistic terms memes are but ideas or thoughts which float around. All of us are exposed to them and work as receivers, generators and transmitters for them. A meme that can stick around changes the way you look at the world in more ways than one. I never thought of my opinions and my tastes as a virus. I knew I had learnt it
...more
David
ok book about the "meme", coined by Richard Dawkins to describe unit of cultural evolution analogous to gene as unit of biological evolution. Key idea is that a successful meme is an idea that replicates itself from one mind to another. Advice is given on how to inoculate yourself against memes that others (evangelists, advertisers, etc.) may be deliberately spreading in much the same way that an evil hacker spreads computer viruses that take over your hard drive.

It gets interesting when he digs
...more
Patrick
The meme is money in the bank for grant oriented sociologists etc. but truth be said, it just quantifies and creates a system for what you already know. Then they want to sell it as something new and by the way, buy their books. Bullshit quantified. Who gets to say which memes are true and which are false?? Which meme is axiomatic? Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness? Now having said all that, I believe that the concept of memes is valid, but what is the value? How does it change anything? Peopl ...more
Wang Boon kiat
The author had provided a whole new perspective on human behaviour. He use a lot of chapters to explain his theory. It changed the way I interpret the concept of "survivor of the fittest". The greatest insight I get in this book is knowing to differentiate good in replicate and good in quality. We tend to conform to the majority for what they do, think and believe. We feel that it must be the truth or something really great that lead the majority do it. However, the reason is solely those things ...more
Христо Блажев
“Психически вируси” владеят света според Ричард Броуди
http://www.knigolandia.info/2011/10/b...

Мемче тук, мемче там, меми навсякъде! Науката меметика, тласък за чието създаване е дал Докинс (да, онзи Докинс!), продължава своето развитие и “Психически вируси” от Ричард Броуди е важна стъпка от нея. Първо да кажем какво е мем, за да няма неясности:

Докинс: Мемът е основна единица на културно предаване, или имитация. Той е единица информация в съзнанието, чието съществуване влияе върху събитията по
...more
Jamie
This is a good book for people who want to understand memes and memetics better, but want it to be easily understandable. It was a little repetitive and slow for my taste, but managed to hold my interest all the way through. Good for the average, intellectually curious type. The author is fond of using italics and boxes for emphasis, and has packaged his meta-memetics as the more sensational sounding "virus of the mind" in order to spread his memes more effectively -- I actually dislike this tac ...more
Martin
When I bought this book I was specifically looking for material on Memetics, and I found it puzzling that Chapter’s had classified it as New Age & Occult. I know that others supposedly like it, at least other books dealing with Memetics, are typically found in the Science section. Having just finished the book, I now know why I found it where I did.

Even though I’m new to the subject, I found the first several chapters to be a somewhat rudimentary introduction to the topic, and then the self-
...more
Christopher
The writing style was excellent and the level was perfect for someone interested in Memetics. The author came from the world outside of science (although he was in information science, but IT is anything but a science) and so uses real world examples with a great sense of sarcasms to make this a book that you want to continue reading instead of wanting to plow through it to learn.

I realized we think we are unique and our thoughts and actions are our own and never been thought or explored and fel
...more
Roslyn Ross
Too simplistic. Overly dramatic. Fluffy. Some of the anthropology was inaccurate and that was annoying. But overall good message (take control of how you are being brainwashed) and had a tiny bit of info to present--could have been presented in a one page paper though.
Absurditas Malka
Gondok abis baca penutup buku ini, si Penulis (kurang lebih) bilang gini, "Segenap virus akal budi saya mengucapkan terima kasih..." bla bla bla. Ha ha, aku menjadi korban virus-virus Richard Brodie :D

Pembentuk identitas manusia, tidak semata genetika biologis. Ada genetika lain yang disebut genetika sosial, yaitu meme (baca: mem). Bisa dikatakan paradigma hidup yang selama ini Anda kira "gue banget", rupanya tularan dari realitas sosial di sekitar Anda.

Sungguh saya terpukul membaca buku ini, s
...more
Lukáš Lovas
Interesting ideas and argumentation. The author explains a lot of why people do what they do. It's a little simplistic, but that only makes it easier to understand. He looks at ideas (memes) from several different points of view. It was illuminating :)
usman ★
Aug 08, 2007 usman ★ rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
memetika= konsep tentang konsep, semua yang kita tau hanyalah konsep, semua yang dipahami bersama juga konsep, semua hukum yang harus ditaati juga konsep..

meme bisa juga berarti akal budi, dan bertempat dia akal budi.

meme itu konsep, kita mengajukan sesuatu konsep kemudian meme menyebar, dan diadopsi akal budi manusia.
dan meme akan mudah diterima jika disampaikan secara tepat, dan secara zoologi kita mudah menerima sesuatu dengan kecenderungan warisan purba: berantem, kabur, makan, dan mencari p
...more
Dimas
Membaca buku ini seperi mempelajari sesuatu dimana sesuatu itu tidak terlihat, tidak terasa, tidak terdeteksi, tidak berupa makhluk, tapi dia ada di dekat kita.

Sesuatu itu abstrak, kita melihatnya setiap hari, mendengarnya setiap hari, virus itu menyerang kita bertubi-tubi, bahkan orangtua kita secara tidak langsung menularkannya kepada kita setiap hari...

Virus itu terbundel dalam coklat manis bernama 'komunikasi'. Saya menyarankan buku ini, namun tidak setuju pada bab 'Agama'. Sepertinya pemiki
...more
Matthew
Seemed to oversell the premise. Story of the Meme, but took the metaphor as being too literal.
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Richard Brodie is best known as the original author of Microsoft Word. His self-help book, Getting Past OK, is an international bestseller. His groundbreaking book on memes, Virus of the Mind, spent 52 weeks on the Amazon.com Hot 100 and is used as a text in many college courses. An accomplished speaker, Richard has appeared on dozens of television and radio shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show ...more
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“If you listen repeatedly to religious speech, after enough repetitions you will actually begin to notice God and His works where there was just chaotic life going on before. What was formerly chance becomes a miracle. What was pain is now karma. What was human nature is now sin. And regardless of whether these religious memes are presented as Truth or as allegorical mythology, you’re conditioned just the same.” 3 likes
“Many myths and religions have some kind of threat of retribution from their god or gods, and their doctrines warn of the dangers of doing various forbidden things. Why? Because memes involving danger are the ones we pay attention to! As oral traditions developed, our brains were set up to amplify the dangers and give them greater significance than the rest.” 1 likes
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