Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Memes

A new book - The Complete Idiot's Guide to Memes - by John Gunders and Damon Brown - is out now. Blurb:
Memes are "viruses of the mind"-symbols, ideas, or practices that are transmitted through speech, gestures, and rituals. Understanding how symbols like the peace sign or ad slogans like "Where's the beef?" or viral videos become part of our common culture has become a primary focus of sales and marketing companies across the globe. The Complete Idiot's Guide(r) to Memes explains how memes work, how they spread, and what memes tell us about how we make sense of our world.

  • First book to cover all types of memes, including viral memes in the digital age

  • Features the Most Influential Memes in History and the Ten Biggest Internet Memes
  • The author has a blog: http://thememesofproduction.org/

    There is a review: here.

    I think it is good that there is now an official "Idiot's Guide" to memes. Now, when people ask me particularly stupid questions about memes and memetics, I have somewhere suitably patronising to refer them to.

    Thursday, 11 November 2010

    Darwin's Conjecture - a new book

    A new book: Darwin's Conjecture: The Search for General Principles of Social and Economic Evolution - by Geoffrey M. Hodgson and Thorbjørn Knudsen - is due out soon.

    Amazon page. Author's site.

    Of paramount importance to the natural sciences, the principles of Darwinism, which involve variation, inheritance, and selection, are increasingly of interest to social scientists as well. But no one has provided a truly rigorous account of how the principles apply to the evolution of human society—until now.

    In Darwin’s Conjecture, Geoffrey Hodgson and Thorbjørn Knudsen reveal how the British naturalist’s core concepts apply to a wide range of phenomena, including business practices, legal systems, technology, and even science itself. They also critique some prominent objections to applying Darwin to social science, arguing that ultimately Darwinism functions as a general theoretical framework for stimulating further inquiry. Social scientists who adopt a Darwinian approach, they contend, can then use it to frame and help develop new explanatory theories and predictive models.

    This truly pathbreaking work at long last makes the powerful conceptual tools of Darwin available to the social sciences and will be welcomed by scholars and students from a range of disciplines.
    It sounds promising.

    The introduction appears to be online here. The author has a web site here.