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About the Author. Richard Brodie was Microsoft chairman Bill Gates's personal technical assistant and the original author of Microsoft Word, one of the world's best-selling computer programs. An accomplished speaker, he has appeared on more than 80 television and radio shows including two appearances on Donahue and NBC's Today. He can also be seen engaged in his hobby, playing the major televised poker tournaments. Introduction: Crisis of the Mind 1. Memes 2. Mind and Behavior 3.

Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme by Richard Brodie

Viruses 4. Evolution 5. The Evolution of Memes 6. Sex: the Root of All Evolution 7. Survival and Fear 8. How We Get Programmed 9. Cultural Viruses The Memetics of Religion Disinfection Recommended Reading Acknowledgments Index. All rights reserved. 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 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.

Richard Brodie does a very good job explaining Dawkins ideas of genetic evolution, and the meme and makes it accessible to a wide audience. Understanding the theory of memetics is worth the price of admission. Unfortunately, I think Brodie takes the idea too far. He goes as far to say that everything is a meme, that we can not know an absolute truth, and that religion is all just a meme. At that point it should be pointed out that the idea of that we can not know any absolute truth must in and of itself be absolutely true if it is to be believed.

In other words Brodie is just putting forward a new "clever" form of postmodernism A lot of the rest of the book is actually good advice. We should not be too tuned into the tv, and movies. We should learn logic and learn how to analyze the ideas that are being put into our head.

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We should be aware of what makes certain ideas stick and not be fooled into believing bad ideas just because they are sticky. Unfortunately, his answer is more postmodernism, with a zen twist. I am not saying that meditation is not a useful practice, but I will point out that most religions do advice some form of meditation, and not just zen. Christianity practices meditation, Islam does, Buddhism does, Native Americans do as well. Zen is not unique. And most of the ideas of memetics have been known since the Middle ages, just look up the medieval idea of the mind worm.

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. It gets interesting when he digs ok book about the "meme", coined by Richard Dawkins to describe unit of cultural evolution analogous to gene as unit of biological evolution.

It gets interesting when he digs into a specific topic -- e. But a lot of the book seemed to consist of a describing a very familiar observation ads incorporate sexually attractive people even when this feature is irrelevant to the product Sep 27, Regan rated it it was ok Shelves: 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 The author's enthusiasm for the subject is appreciated and does lend an element of enjoyability to the book. As a person of faith I thought he was particularly sloppy in addressing the topic of religion - making condescending generalizations and fitting his ideas about memes to criticize religion yes he came back around to recognize some of the value of religion but that came across as hollow ramblings of a writer who tries to be eclectic in his life philosophy.

I was a bit surprised after his general critique of religion that he went on to try to use his ideas around memes to fit fairly generic self-help themes. Despite the criticisms I felt he book provoked thought and provided a perspective on modern life that was different from what I currently have and thus held some value. 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 Richard Dawkins mentions this book in The Selfish Gene , as a discussion of memetics. As a science book, it lacks the slow and gradual step by step demonstration of new facts from more basic building blocks in logical succession.

As a socio-political manifesto it lacks persuasive power and uses some poor rhetorical devices. And as a motivational essay it doesn't really leave you with any concrete guidelines or next steps. Made me think, though, that counts. Jan 18, Martin rated it it was ok. 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. I wanted to learn about the emerging science of Memetics, not be issued value judgments on the validity of one meme over another. The author is quite witty and I did enjoy reading it, even though I grew tired of his shameless and pretty much constant self-promotion.

Sep 07, Mary K. 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 happened The more one l "Memetics" is not a new term, but it was for me! The more one learns about memetics, the less one can be fooled, manipulated, and scammed. I'm not explaining this very well, so just read this fascinating book!

Sep 09, Mary Paul rated it it was ok. 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 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.

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I've only read a l This would have a higher rating if M Brodie did not include enormous relatively irrelevant sections on sex and evolution. I've only read a little Dawkins but looking at the bibliography and writing suggests this is the 50 shades to Dawkin's Twilight. Solala - although the basic tenet is fine.

But you can summarize it in one sentence: The meme is to the mind what the selfish gene is to the organism - beware of the meme's goals and ensure that these goals don't influence your thinking when it is not rational for them to do so from your wellbeing's perspective. Apr 25, Irene rated it did not like it. Everything manulative trick he warns readers to look out for and resist is exactly the tricks he uses to convince the reader to accept and promote his odd-ball theory.


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And, simply because I resist the truth of his claims, that in of itself proves that his theory must be true according to him. Jul 21, Michael rated it did not like it Shelves: pop-culture. So far, this book is horrible. It seems like pure fluff - sort of like Malcolm Gladwell's books. Update: I officially gave up on this one. Aug 13, Renee Liu rated it did not like it. I seldom give one star rating, but Apr 23, Bert Hopkins rated it it was ok Shelves: thinking. Very disappointed by the book. I wish I had gotten more from the book but it was not for lack of trying.

Oct 18, Rachel rated it did not like it Shelves: general-non-fiction. Possibly the dumbest, least useful book I've ever read. It would make great kindling. Aug 09, Kahawa rated it really liked it. This is another one of those books that's going to stay with me for a long time, and deeply affect my thinking. So, well done Richard Brodie, you've successfully infected me with the memetics meme.

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I don't know if I should clap, grimace, or what. I especially enjoyed the discussion about religion, and how religious memes work. I've instinctively known many of these things for years, but wasn't quite sure how they all worked. I hadn't really considered that ideas are themselves products of natural This is another one of those books that's going to stay with me for a long time, and deeply affect my thinking. I hadn't really considered that ideas are themselves products of natural selection, but it makes so much sense.

Religions, such as Christianity, that have survived as long as they've survived, and replicated as much as they've replicated, have done so by randomly mutating along the way and providing for themselves self-defense mechanisms, and propagation mechanisms. I've seen this for a few years in how certain doctrines work in the church - inerrancy protects the shared text the bible.

The personhood of the holy spirit is a layer of insulation against looking closer into the divinity of Jesus. The divinity of Jesus is a further elevation of Jesus' status so that he becomes more important and more central to the 'saviour' and 'messiah' meme of Christianity. These are all slight mutations that happened along the way in people's thinking, and have persistent because they are more survivable iterations of the meme. Each layer protects an existing element and perpetuates a more robust version of the meme.

It's exciting to see it for what it is, but it's also sad and overwhelming, and I'm not sure what the cure is.

Virus of the Mind

Fortunately the 'burn at the stake' mechanism didn't survive the enlightenment meme. I think one thing that the book doesn't do really well it kind of does, but I think it could be better , is explain that memes etc are not intelligent beings, and they're not really 'looking' for survival. A better way to explain it is, there are things that survive, and things that don't. The things that don't, don't exist anymore. The things that do, have something about them that allows them to continue existing. Over time, these things will either stop existing, or they will continue existing, depending on whether or not they're 'fit' for the current environment.

Environments are dynamic, and memes are dynamic. Memes gradually mutate. Mutations that make the meme less fit for survival, don't survive, and we don't think about them anymore if we did think about them anymore, they would be surviving. Mutations that make the meme more fit, survive better. Mutations that make the meme more able to replicate, replicate more. The system of existing and not existing filters all things, so that things that aren't good at existing, don't exist; likewise, things that are good at existing, exist. The most highly refined viral memes of today are not exactly designed by the meme, they're just the mutations of it that replicate better than other mutations, and survive better than other mutations.

This is why 'bad' ideas can persist. Ideas don't persist because they're 'good'; they persist because they mutate into forms that are more replicable and more survivable. If they didn't, they would cease to be. The book ends with a call for living at 'level 3' of consciousness, which basically means to be intentional in what we want and not being controlled by memes that are simply satisfying their own needs at our expensive. According to my current understanding of consciousness, we're not really any one particular thing with one particular will, such as Descartes' pineal gland observer soul thingy.

We're an accumulation of simultaneously competing and complimenting memes and genes. Identifying 'ourselves' as one thing is a tricky task. But I think if we can come to an understanding of what overall brings us life and happiness, we can work toward those ends and experience life and happiness. Self-understanding is probably the biggest first step, and then recognising memes and genes that compete against our health and happiness is the next step, beyond which most people never get.

I feel pretty empowered by this book, as well as overwhelmed. The myth of self and eternal life and the centrality of humans is fading I don't quite like the idea that everything that exists is simply vying for existence against everything else, but maybe there's a way to make it work and still love and enjoy life.

I need to think about how best to achieve that. And I need want to read some more books on this topic. Jan 26, Janelle Rouse rated it did not like it. Nov 11, Correen rated it it was ok. Parts of the book were useful but as the book progressed, it seemed to ravel a bit. Jul 14, Derrick Mcvicker rated it it was ok. Although it had some interesting information, it seemed more like a self-help book disguised as a science book. I think, Richard ought to have detailed many matters like evolution of Darwin, viruses etc.

Unfortunately, It did not satisfy my expectation as I had bought a big enthusiasm. There are no discussion topics on this book yet.


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  • Readers also enjoyed. Self Help. About Richard Brodie. Richard Brodie. 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. An accomplished speaker, Richard has appeared on dozens of television and radio shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show Richard Brodie is best known as the original author of Microsoft Word.

    An accomplished speaker, Richard has appeared on dozens of television and radio shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show. Richard continues to pursue wide and varied interests, which he occasionally blogs about. Books by Richard Brodie. Trivia About Virus of the Mind No trivia or quizzes yet. Quotes from Virus of the Mind What was formerly chance becomes a miracle.

    What was pain is now karma. What was human nature is now sin. 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. Welcome back. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.