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Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,302 Ratings  ·  116 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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Todd Martin
Mar 02, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
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
Получи се почти пълно съответствие между мемите, с които съм инфектирана и тази книга. Единственото нещо, което не ми стана ясно е как така психическите вируси служат само на себе си. Но може би се има предвид, че даден мем (вирус) не може да бъде контролиран от хората, щом веднъж бъде пуснат на свобода.
Книгата не е кой знае колко изчерпателна, по-скоро маркира проблема. Поражда много повече въпроси, отколкото отговори дава. Напр. не ми стана ясно защо някои меми се разпространяват много по-добр
Jan 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Amanda Kay
Jun 18, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Mar 16, 2007 rated it it was ok
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.
Rambling Reader
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Christopher James
Dec 26, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 09, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jason 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
Jul 12, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mary K.
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Memetics" is not a new term, but it was for me! I think Richard Dawkins is the one that first came up with the word "meme," which, in essence, addresses the issue of how much we believe about what we think we know has come from our readings, listenings, experiences, parents, traditions, society, etc. He estimates that a good percentage of what we think we remember never really gets transformed by this sort of virus that we pass on to each other, usually unknowingly. The more one l ...more
Michele Harrod
Sep 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Cassandra Carico
Jul 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
Sep 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biology
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
Feb 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked Gladwell's approach to this topic better, found his examples more clear and relevant. I liked however the extended comparison of memes to genes and thought that was an interesting take. Too much smug atheism for me, but I guess I can forgive that as a smug religious person ;)
Dan Wallbank
Jun 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
Interesting subject, poorly written with too much repetition.
Ryan Nugraha
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: punya-ryan
Wajib dibaca buat yang mau bikin agama baru...!
Jan 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 24-books-in-2011
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
May 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Harini Padmanabhan
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Łukasz Garczewski
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Richard Dawkins mentions this book in The Selfish Gene, as a discussion of memetics. And it is a concise discussion of the subject of memes, along with some libertarian digressions, elements of self-help and attempts at consciousness raising.

As such this book tries to be a popular science text, a socio-political manifesto of sorts, and a motivational essay on adding meaning to one's life. Because of that split it's not very good in any of the three categories.

As a science book, it lacks the slow
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Wang Boon kiat
Jul 30, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Христо Блажев
Sep 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
“Психически вируси” владеят света според Ричард Броуди

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
Oct 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
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-
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
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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 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
More about Richard Brodie...
“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.” 4 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.” 2 likes
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