I don't really expect a huge change, because rationality is all about aiming the arrow better, but it does not change how strong you pull the bow or how many arrows you have in the quiver.

To continue in your metaphor, a small improvement in aiming can in some situations significantly increase the ratio of arrows that hits the target. Of course assuming that precision was the problem, instead of e.g. distance or lack of arrows. Returning from the metaphor, the benefits of (LW-style) rationality probably also depend on what kind of problems you solve, and what kind of irrational things you were doing before.

What would be the kind of situation where one gets a lot of quick gains from rationality? Seems like a situation where people have to make decisions which later have a big impact on the outcome. (Not the kind where the smart decision is merely 10% more effective than the usual decision; unless those 10% allow you to overcome some critical threshold.)

Decisions like choosing a school, a carreer, a life partner, whether to join a cult, or move to a different city, etc. Or possibly creating useful habits that give you a multiplier on what you were already doing, such as using space repetiton or pomodoros, avoiding planning fallacy or other biases, etc. -- Either doing a few good big changes, or developing reliable good habits. (Also, avoiding big bad changes, and getting rid of bad habits.)


Here is an interesting thing. EY often warns people not try long chains of reasoning as probability drops with every step, or don't try to think too far ahead. But things like choosing a career or partner are precise those things where you cannot just think one or two steps ahead i.e. where you can predict with some reasonably high probabilty, you have to think far ahead while you know you don't really have much a chance predicting how things will work out.

This is one of the cases where I think Taleb's anti-fragility shines, it is hard to filter out the go... (read more)

How has lesswrong changed your life?

by mstevens 1 min read31st Mar 201557 comments


I've been wondering what effect joining lesswrong and reading the sequences has on people.

How has lesswrong changed your life?

What have you done differently?

What have you done?