virus: Re: Recommending Books

Kevin M O'Connor (
Thu, 31 Oct 1996 15:41:29 EST

On Thu, 31 Oct 1996 12:11:52 +0000 "Hakeeb A. Nandalal"
<> writes:
>Is it too much to ask the people recommending books to give a little
>background on the book? While "stop what
>you're doing and buy it" sounds compelling, insult my intelligence a
>little and take five minutes to do a
>little cutting and pasting so the rest of us sheep could have
>something to chew on. Who knows, we may still
>buy it.

That's a reasonable request.

>Additional info : after shipping it comes to $8.74.

Yeah, I walked three blocks to Borders and bought my copy of Snow Crash
yesterday. Amazon's great, but if you just want one paperback novel that
you can find in almost any bookstore, it doesn't make much sense to pay
three dollars extra for the privilige of waiting a week to get your book.
I ordered Aaron Lynch's Thought Contagion from Amazon because I wasn't
likely to find it otherwise, and adding $3 to the price of a new hardback
doesn't increase the price by more than a third as it does with a
paperback. Now if you haven't read Dennett's "Kinds of Minds," Richard's
"Viruses of the Mind," or Bloom's "The Lucifer Principle" ording all
three from Amazon would be a great idea.

I've already said something about "Kinds of Minds." Let me just add that
as I was reading it I kept thinking, "Man, I wish I'd read this before I
started grad school." Dennett introduces and clearly explains several
concepts in the philosphy of mind which it took me more than two years of
unguided floundering to aquire in grad school. Most important and
ellusive amoung these are the varieties of intentionality.

"The Lucifer Principle" uses historical examples to introduce and explain
evolutionary psychology and memetics. Bloom introduces and develops the
concept of the superorganism; a conceptual tool with which I'd like to
see more people equipped.

I suspect that you may have already read a thing or two about "Viruses of
the Mind." Let me just add that I read the book, liked it, and recommend
it because Richard presents concepts in memetics and evolutionary
psychology in the context of a program for self-empowerment. What's
more, once you've read the book, you have the opportunity to converse
with the author on this list. Think of how much more lethal your
criticisms of Richard's views will be after you've actually read them.

Take care. -KMO