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Virus of the Mind

The New Science of the Meme
Narrated by: Richard Brodie
Length: 4 hrs and 36 mins
4 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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Summary

Virus of the Mind is the first popular work 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. Here, the author carefully builds on the work of scientists Richard Dawkins, Douglas Hofstadter, Daniel Dennett, and others who have become fascinated with memes and their potential impact on our lives.

Mind viruses have already infected governments, educational systems, and inner cities, leading to some of the most pervasive and troublesome problems of society today: youth gangs, the welfare cycle, the deterioration of the public schools, and ever growing government bureaucracy. Richard Brodie weaves together science, ethics, and current events as he raises these and other very disturbing issues relating to memes.
©2009 Hay House, Inc. (P)2009 Hay House, Inc.

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Audiobooks don't need to be long to be great value

Beautifully written book on a fascinating subject-it's like a really good sequel to the selfish gene

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Nice introductory book

A great book for an introduction towards memetics, but not brilliant if it's a thorough look at memetics that you're after

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I need more convincing

I struggle with what memetics offers beyond other theories of learning like behaviourism, social learning theory and then other things like NLP. Nor am I clear on how memes differ from norms but I guess it’s a catch all framework for anything transmitted between minds. If so, though, I think the book lacks breadth and depth (after all, that’s a hell of a lot of ground to cover!) Just a little research evidence would have strengthened the core arguments and made the whole framework more convincing.
Well read by the author and fun to listen to,

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Nelson Alexander
  • Nelson Alexander
  • 20-02-10

The "Memes Explain Everything" Meme.

Authors work hard and I am inclined to be on their side, until they start in, quite gratuitously, with their libertarian interpretations of the U.S. Constitution, a meme out of context here, and hardly the only one. So yes, this is a biased review. First, if you have never (or barely) heard of memes you may find the book enlightening. Especially if you are in marketing and want the latest "theory of everything." The author does a good job of recapping evolution, viral replication, and cultural replication. Nicely summarized. After that, well... anything goes. It used to be that "theories of everything" were promulgated by people like Kant or Marx who had actually read everything. Today they are launched with little footing in history, philosophy, or sociology. Almost no attention is given here to the problematic ontology or definition of memes. How big or small a strand of information makes a meme? What causal mechanisms can be attributed to memes? With no definition "meme" can be applied to anything. And is. Including a rehash of such "psychology for salesmen" topics as operant conditioning and subliminal advertising. (By such a broad definition we might hypothesize that the nice feeling of splashing into water is the "meme" by which swimming pools use humans to reproduce themselves.) Take out the word "meme" and stick in "reflex" and little changes. But I sense myself getting cranky. It has long been my fear that under modern capitalism advances in cognitive science, genetics, and sociobiology will all develop as branches of market research in the hands of the Hayek Youth Movement, and this book seems to confirm that dread. Even so, if you want a brief, light overview of what is, in fact, something of a paradigm shift, this is reasonably well written and well read. I was not the right "host."

26 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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  • Patrick Joos
  • 27-11-10

thought provoking

While I have to admit that it sounds a little like a sermon, the concept is easy to grasp and not dry at all. This is an good lesson in critical thinking for people who dont want to fall for dumb ideas.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Janet
  • 10-02-12

How true, enlightening. Memes run mind, world.

If you could sum up Virus of the Mind in three words, what would they be?

Memes run the world.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Realization, discovery. Detail and conviction are heard.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Both, laugh and cry.

Any additional comments?

Awareness, shock, how gullible we are. All aspects of our world are influenced by these viruses. Great for anyone in the marketing field. Gives you a new feeling that you can avoid these, squash the meme already running in your mind. Excellent.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • J'oli
  • 06-09-19

I wanted to like this...

I was excited by the book’s title and was looking forward to an informative Great Courses-Esque in depth discussion on the history of memes and how they spread, with research cited and historical examples etc. I was disappointed.

As others had stated the book is a fair bit repetitive and a bit shallow considering the topic discussed. If feels like a rough draft, or a very long blog post.

I do appreciate what the author was intending (we are largely controlled by ideas, traditions, memes etc that are not our own) but the work just seemed a little unfocused and repetitive with a lot of his assertions left unsupported.

I’d love to find a well researched book that thoroughly/properly explores the phenomena of memes.

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  • Williamb
  • 24-04-19

Wish it was longer

An excellent step into the concept of Meme. Richard Brodie provides thorough and meaningful presentation of the topic of meme. This is a practical book for learning the concept, the history, the implications of meme transfer. The use of the term meme is a convenient method of conveying a complicated concept. The concept is extremely important not only to communication and persuasion, but to the understanding of thought. It has been said that all learning is persuasion. It is necessary to be persuaded in order to believe a thought is true. The difference between carrying and sharing a meme, being a meme replicator, and persuading another of a truth is significant. Brodie not only makes the difference clear, he provides some practical defense against the virulent but destructive type of meme. A question discussed in the book is does the meme improve quality of life, and if so, at what cost? I regard this as an important question. Brodie also raises the question of how memes may improve life for humans more broadly, but doesn't explore this deeply.

There are a few unanswered questions that Brodie's treatment skirts. I'd like to know how music fits the meme model. It certainly replicates, does it use the same path? What are the basic motivators that the music meme rides on?

Could there be a strategy to improve meme quality? What criteria would be valid?

Is there a case/risk for pop-up memes for urgent issues? I know that the morning news is a quasi pop-up meme generator. But this source is worn out and now directly challenged, politically and by Internet competition. Which raises the question about judgement - is awareness enough?

Richard reads this work very well. I enjoyed the listen and am still pondering... I hope he finds the time to write the sequel.

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  • Ted Devito
  • 19-06-18

A worthy primer on memetics

the book was entertaining, relevant, and as the author claims, I believe it to be fundamental to living a free life and understanding the forces shaping the world around us

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  • lawna cervantes
  • 02-01-16

Intentional choice

I just finished the book, so should have a lack of space and distance to know what effect it will have on my future behavior, fortunately however, I remote viewed myself helping many children out of clouds of memes and idioms, so looks promising.

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  • Savita E Eisenberg
  • 12-11-15

An interesting way of looking at things

Enjoyed this book. One of the best teaching devices n it, is being able to observe the stent to which the author is trapped in his own memes. I do hope that was intentional.

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  • K.M
  • 24-06-15

Many new prospectively!

You can gain a lot from this book in terms of business and marketing or consciousness and zen or pure conspiracy theory perspective!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Aarcher
  • 22-01-11

Waste of time

Listen to the book two times to see if I was missing something
All he does is spin on words.

4 of 9 people found this review helpful