Customer Reviews for

Meme Machine

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2005

    A leap into the meme

    Sociobiology was the first attempt to explain human behavior in terms of evolution. It produced some fascinating ideas and positive research but its findings were fairly basic and left big gaps when it came to cultural differences. What about teenagers that strap homemade bombs around themselves and blast themselves and others to oblivion? What about monks and priests that forgo family for spiritual retreat? It is a stretch to fit such behavior into the genetic advantage. Indeed it seems as though they were infected by something that was working against their own genetic self-interest. If humans are good at anything it is producing and replicating information. Can this information have a life of its own and infect us, like some virus? This whole idea ¿ the evolution of information through humans without genetic code, is what memetics is all about. The field is very new and Susan Blackmore does an excellent job of introducing us to the idea in a readable and accessible way, formulating a theory of memetics at the same time. This formulation is a first shot and by no means the last word - but that is what science is all about.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 29, 2009


    If our ideas, particularly the imitated ones are nothing more than memes, which are controlling and guiding our minds, then this books itself is a meme. That being said, according to her own argumentation there is little consequence whether I agree with her or not. In so arguing, she destroys her own thesis. It is a good book, if you want to hear how reasonable something is, without being provided a valid argument as to why it is reasonable. Throughout the book she assumes that her thesis is true, but takes no time to provide empirical evidence for her claim. Certainly, her ideas are feasible in some imaginary world, however so is Dawkin's spaghetti monster. Be careful of reading this type of book with a wide open mind. You will either be tricked into believing someone's fantasies, or your brain will fall out. Neither of which is too awfully helpful. In the end her evidence for memes rests in the chapter on the meme's eye view. She believes there are memes because she cannot control her thoughts. However, it appears that she could control them enough to write her book. I would be afraid of anyone who argues for something because she can't control her thoughts, and desires not to be held responsible for her actions. Read carefully.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2008

    Extremely recommended

    While this book does have a fair share of weaknesses in its arguments, one can't expect an errorproof writing when it is about a subject still considered controversial. I think Blackmore does a great job with what is known on the subject and anyone interested in evolutionary biology/ psychology should read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2002


    Some of the things I liked about this book: 1. existing ideas are thoroughly discussed before novel ideas are introduced 2. the importance of imitation in meme transmission is emphasized 3. the discussion of the selfplex (meme complex associated with `self¿) is well done Some of the things I disliked about this book: 1. I could not follow the arguments regarding the memetic role in the development of large brains, the development of language, etc. A major problem is the author¿s unfortunate tendency to anthropomorphize memes. The following is typical: ¿The selfplex is not there to make your life easier; it is there for the propagation of the memes that make it up.¿ (p.245) This is wrong. The selfplex exists because it has sucessfully competed against all other memes competing for the same role within the mind. The selfplex is not ¿for¿ anything. Interestingly, on at least two occaisons, the author admits that she is being inaccurate when anthropomorphizing memes: ¿Note that I said that `the memes are busy devising¿. This translates into the more accurate statement that memes for DNA testing, sequencing the human genome, and genetic engineering are successfully replicating in today¿s world.¿ (p.146) and ¿...we can expect memes to have devised strategies for getting into altruistic people without actually being altruism memes themselves (or more accurately - memes that happened to have such strategies should have survived better that those without...)¿ (p.168). I may have better understood the author¿s arguments if they had been couched entirely within the language of Universal Darwinism: heredity, selection, and variation. I hope that the author someday reworks her arguments accordingly. 2. One of the author¿s key arguments is that the memetic `dog¿ can go off of the genetic `leash¿ and become a `driving force¿ in its own right. I disagree. Firstly, as mentioned above, neither genes nor memes can ever be considered `driving forces.¿ The genetic and memetic ¿environments¿ are the real driving forces that determine which genes and memes replicate successfully. Secondly, the environment in which memes compete is greatly influenced by genes. The nature of a human host¿s emotional response to a meme is a product of knowledge encoded in its genes. This emotional response greatly influences whether a particular meme will successfully infect the host. It is true that a renegade meme that is unfavorable to the propagation of the genes can infect a host (e.g. the contraception and adoption memes). However, the genes still play a substantial role in creating the mental environment in which a renegade meme flourishes. I don¿t see how we can ever divorce memes from genes without unrealistically idealizing the human mental environment. I do agree with the author that memes can substantially change the environment in which genes compete. Therefore, it seems to me that the co-evolutionary gene/meme model is the ONLY model that completely describes gene/meme dynamics. Despite the above reservations, I recommend this book to all individuals interested in memetics.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1