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Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme

3.7 out of 5 stars 149 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1401924683
ISBN-10: 1401924689
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If you've ever wondered how and why people become robotically enslaved by advertising, religion, sexual fantasy, and cults, wonder no more. It's all because of "mind viruses," or "memes," and those who understand how to plant them into other's minds. This is the first truly accessible book about memes and how they make the world go 'round.

Of course, like all good memes, the ideas in Brodie's book are double-edged swords. They can vaccinate against the effects of cognitive viruses, but could also be used by those seeking power to gain it even more effectively. If you don't want to be left behind in the coevolutionary arms race between infection and protection, read about memes. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Review

Anyone who wants to be involved in media in the next ten years must understand memetics and must read Virus of the Mind. -- Danny Bannister, President, The Mental Fitness Company, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Hay House (May 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401924689
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401924683
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #777,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Richard Brodie's, Virus of the Mind, presents what has proven to me the most practical use of the idea of memes. He presents plenty of good scientific background to set up the concept for those still unfamiliar with the meme meme. Although he does not actually inaugurate a true scientific field of memetics, he uses the concept of memes very skillfully to raise our consciousness and look at everyday things in our culture in a whole new light. In this respect I think he accomplishes far more than many of the unsatisfying attempts to make memetics a full fledged science. It is a bit early to expect such grand successful collective science, but it is not too early to raise our consciousness as individuals about some of these ideas, and Richard Brodie does a fantastic job in that undertaking.
Unlike some in the self-development field, Richard Brodie does not insult the intelligence of more educated readers. He doesn't hide the ball, act mysterious in his presentation, cop out to supernaturalism, or try to claim false or highly questionable scientific support. I have found it easy to disagree with him on some points and still get a lot out of his work. He has certainly given a lot of serious thought to the nuances, pitfalls, and strongpoints of our modern culture and that shows through in this book. He is a guy trying to figure things out just like all of us, and he shares his thoughts in a non-offensive highly accessible way. I think you will find his book a joy to read, and find many useful insights as we individually try to navigate the quickly evolving cultural environment we find ourselves in today.
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Format: Hardcover
Since its publication in 1996, Richard Brodie's 'Virus of the Mind' has ignited ongoing debate within the memetics community, and signalled the beginning of the new science crossing-the-chasm into the mainstream (for example, Oprah Winfrey invited Brodie on her talk-show in January 1999).
For 'hard' scientific data and mathematical/conceptual modelling (which really conveys why memetics is a legitimate science and not just a controversial upstart), you definately need to look elsewhere (Brodie himself has admitted this to me in extensive interviews). Texts by Lynch, Beck & Cowan, Csikzentmihalyi, Blackmore, Dennett, Dawkins, and Hofstadter are more useful in this regard. Brodie should be considered as a populariser of memetics, able to look at its impact on and relevance to contemporary cultural debates.
Politics aside, Brodie's book is best understood as an accessible introduction to the memetics field, which can capture and hold a general audience's attention. It is closer in many respects to a description of evolutionary psychology drives, 'hot buttons', coercive double-binds, and ideological faith/belief structures used by cults, advertisers, politicians, and religious entities.
Thus, a reading of 'Virus of the Mind' can offer you an accessible text with some insight into how people are programmed, and how to become more aware of your own consensus trance (Charles T. Tart). It continues a self-help perspective developed by Brodie in his earlier book 'Getting Past OK'. Many of Brodie's ideas have been said before in different contexts, but the memetics angle puts a fresh spin on things, and his early chapters on definitions of memes are useful for the layperson in confronting a rapidly growing field.
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Format: Paperback
Please be advised that this book does not take a cold calculated scientific approach at explaining memetics. Richard Brodie explains memes by recounting his personal discovery of memes, futhermore elaborating a fairly modest 'scientific' conclusion. I recommended this book to those merely curious about memetics. If you like 'guru-type' self help books you'll find that this book will suffice is explaining memes while expanding your consciousness. If you are looking for a scientific approach to memetics I would recommend Susan Blackmore's The Meme Machine.
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Format: Hardcover
Virus of the Mind is nothing short of extraordinary! What you'll learn from Richard Brodie's book is how and why words, concepts, ideas and beliefs are transmitted, become dominant and get woven into the very fabric of our personal lives and our cultures. Indeed, Virus of the Mind is a wonderfully insightful book that should be read by everyone wishing to make better sense of the world around them--not only of global events, but also of their own life patterns. I am the president of a software development company, an attorney, a student of psychology and linguistics for 15 years and the information I learned in this book was truly ground breaking. In my opinion, this is one of the 10 most important books that is available to read today. Get it and read it!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Virus of the Mind" provides a very good introduction into
memetics while trying to be a self-help book. Brodie gives a
nice overview of the concept of memes, where it started, and how
memes exist in current society. He then goes over the
destructive side of memes while keeping the subject light and
somewhat humorous. Brodie's writing style makes the subject easy
to follow and a very quick read. From reading the book, one gets
a quick understanding of how others can use memes to influence
ones behavior, which serves the reader with the ability to look
how things are being presented to them; wether in news,
commercials or relationships.
Brodie used the first half of the book to explain where the
existence of memes came from, and what they represent. The last
half was used to explain how to notice them in daily life. I
would like to have seen more information for the reader on how to
detect memes with concrete examples, though he does give enough
information so the reader can 'learn' this process themselves in
more detail, with abit of work. He provides enough information
for the consumer, but not enough for those trying to reach
consumers, which is interesting.
In short, the book is worth reading for those trying to
understand why they buy so much useless stuff, or wondering why
a song stays stuck in their head. For more specific information
on coercive techniques employeed against individual consumers,
see Douglas Rushkoff's book 'Coercion'
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