It might be useful if we fellow LW'ers collect actual big scale success stories of ourself in real world applications. Since we are supposed to win some real life experiences of actual winning would be great.


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I consider myself to have used the methods of LW to EXTREME effect. however, there is really not much to show for it since the vast majority of it is in compensating for mental illness that otherwise would make me abnormally irrational.

Actually, if LW techniques can ameliorate clinically diagnosed, organic mental illness then this is extremely interesting. Most methods can't.

I'd say, from personal experience, that they almost certainly can. However, it's obviously self applied and there's no real data about it, and the whole diagnosis thing's been and continue to be a mess and since I've pretty much fixed those parts they're probably never going to show up on any official diagnosis even if/when I get proper such. Even if it could be proven that I had delusions and then didn't, the evidence is still only anecdotal.

I'm a bit surprised at this response, if more information would be of use to you I'll provide it. It might be, actually, if nothing else then to verify my conclusions. However, a lot of it is rather embarrassing, and a few bits probably private to, so I'd prefer not to spill my guts here in public, especially considering thinking about it tend to make me increasingly less coherent and reliable. For similar reasons it might be a good idea to, err, have me talk to someone whose long term opinion about me I care less about.

PM me with a quick description of what got fixed, maybe, never mind the gory details? ("I used to hear voices and listen to them, now I ignore them" would be an interesting data point just by itself.)

There's really no way to summarise it. Even summarising the reason why it can't be summarised is beyond my ability really. Even somehting like "I used to have some extremely false beliefs and now I instead have true beliefs" don't cover it due to having helped with a bunch of other stuff to... Yea, at least as far as I can see there's no way to do it without the gory details and much narrower search criteria, and for using an idea beyond what I personally can see someone would need to know some about it anyway, making it kinda moot. The uncertainty about most things is immense to making it all even harder to communicate.

Even my summary of why I cant summarise why I can't summarise it is rambling.

I had trouble like this with inferential distance, describing my at-the-time Big Issue to my first psychiatrist:

  • Me: "I have a good life but can't enjoy it because I'm convinced the Invisible Hand is going to snatch it away anytime now."
  • Her, writing notes: "What kind of invisible hand?"
  • Me: short Adam Smith summary

A low-level report:


Games also represent a very stylized domain within which we can practice >optimizing - rationalists should reliably win more on average or we're doing >something wrong.

At my college I am games-referee of the General Students' Committee, and we game on average once in a week., 4-5 hours. Although I do not count my wins/losses, I get credited as being able to quickly crack the game-mechanic and win overtly often. This could, of course, be because of possibly higher intelligence.

This could, of course, be because of possibly higher intelligence.

It probably is. I don't think learning formal Bayesian reasoning and real-life rationality skills would help much for games, but IQ can be a huge factor.

I've found poker to be one game in which rationality matters, probably more than raw IQ. Specifically, I've found it useful to be able to do the following, all of which would seem to be exercises of rationality skills also applicable in other domains:

  • Notice when I'm chasing my losses - that is, when at some level I know very well I'm not going to win the hand, and my real motive for being tempted to bet further is flinching away from having to write off an existing investment.

  • Objectively understand my strengths and weaknesses. I'm crap at reading people's faces, so I don't waste time trying, but I can sometimes read their logic.

  • Understand just what my intuition is doing and why. In principle, calculation would be better, but in practice I can't typically calculate the exact odds (at least not without investing more resources than a casual player like myself is willing to spend), so trust my intuition - except where superseded by hard numbers.