RE: Books please...

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Wed Sep 05 2001 - 16:19:27 BST

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: Books please...
    Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2001 16:19:27 +0100 
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            <Dear fellow memetics-list members,

    > I noticed you guys (haven't witnessed any girls yet, sorry to say)
    > are quite educated and well read, judging from the frequent
    > reference to books on the list. I would like to exploit this fact
    > by asking each one of you what your favorite books are.
    > That is, please cite the titles of the books you learned
    > the most from. Also give a brief reason why please.
    > The last year I've become very interested in evolutionary
    > theory (biology, memetics, universal), intelligence and
    > neuroscience and am very eager to learn about these topics.
    > However, I have this problem that I don't read very quickly.
    > This forces me to be rather picky in choosing what books to read.
    > So, I would appreciate it if I could tap into your experience by
    > learning what books were most useful to you.
    > The books I've read or still are reading, include:
    > The Meme-Machine (Blackmore)
    > The Selfish Gene (Dawkins)
    > Darwin's Dangerous Idea (Dennett)
    > How The Mind Works (Pinker)
    > The Origin Of Species (Darwin)
    > Thanks much in advance,
    > Philip.>
            Hi Philip,

            My problem with books is never getting around to reading them (I
    keep picking up off my shelf and flicking through- but not reading Marc
    Hauser's 'Wild Minds' which I bought a few months back, for example).

            Difficult to pin down the most important books to the kinds of
    discussions we have here for me, and my general take on things. I suppose a
    core of books would be:

            The Blind Watchmaker (Dawkins- helped me realise Darwinism could
    answer creationist rubbish)
            The Moral Animal (Wright- very interesting pop science book on
    evolutionary psychology)
            Why People Believe Weird Things (Shermer- great on paranormal etc.)
            How We Know What Isn't So (Gliovitch- spelling? Great book on
    psychology and knowledge)
            Various books by Stephen Jay Gould ('Bully for Brontosaurus', 'Ever
    Since Darwin', 'The Mismeasure of Man', are ones I recall- Gould's gift for
    me is his ability to use wide ranging examples to explore nature)
            The Meme Machine (Blackmore- now I probably disagree with a lot of
    what she wrote, but at the time of reading it, it had a big impact and was
    why I joined the list)
            Lucifer's Legacy (Bloom- a thought provoker definitely, and well
    referenced for this kind of thing)
            Virus of the Mind (Brodie- populist, and wrong about advertising and
    the media, but hey, he's a nice guy, and at least he got memetics on Oprah!)
            Thought Contagion (Lynch- even if he tries to pretend he didn't
    write it now because of the critiques, still useful reading)
            The Imitation Factor (Dugatkin- great for linking memes to animal
    behaviour with experiments)
            People, Genes & Languages (Cavalli-Sforza- a good, non-technical,
    intro to Cavalli-sforza's important work on genes, languages and culture;
    I'm not sure if I've remembered the title right though...)
            The Tipping Point (Gladwell- probably the weakest of the lot, but
    worth a read I suppose since he talks about meme-like ideas without using
            The Culture of Fear (Glassner- really good on the media
    misrepresentation and public misunderstanding of everyday risk)

            Obviously there are whole reams of stuff coming from my
    humanities/social science educational background that undoubtedly feeds into
    my though processes, attitudes and so on. That may not always come across,
    as I tend not to share much of the silly post-modern, cultural relativism
    that whole sections of my field is saddled with.

            That'll probably do, won't it?


            Oh by the way, if there are any German lurkers on the list, 5-1!!!
    5-1!!!! 5-1!!!!

            (For non-football types, that is non_soccer_ types, England beat
    Germany in a crucial World Cup qualifier- yes a 'World' Cup in which
    countries other than American and Canada compete. We beat them in Germany,
    for the first time since 1965, and by the biggest ever margin. Tonight we
    are undoubtedly going to undermine that triumph by drawing or losing to
    Albania, but there you go).

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    > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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    > see:

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