Quantum Computing Since Democritus got me thinking that we may want a more riveting title for The Sequences, 2006-2009 ebook we're preparing for release (like the FtIE ebook). Maybe it could be something like [Really Catchy Title]: The Less Wrong Sequences, 2006-2009.

The reason for "2006–2009" is that Highly Advanced Epistemology 101 for Beginners will be its own ebook, and future Yudkowskian LW sequences (if there are any) won't be included either.


Example options:


  • The Craft of Rationality: The Less Wrong Sequences, 2006–2009
  • The Art of Rationality: The Less Wrong Sequences, 2006–2009
  • Becoming Less Wrong: The Sequences, 2006–2009

In the end, we might just call it The Sequences, 2006–2009, but I'd like to check whether somebody else can come up with a better name.


(Update on 5/5/2013 is here.)



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My motley collection of thoughts upon reading this (please note that, wherever I say "you" or "your" in this post, I'm referring to the whole committee that is working on this ebook, not to you, lukeprog, in particular):

  • It's a difficult book to name, chiefly because the sequences themselves don't really have a narrow common thread; eliminating bias and making use of scientific advances don't qualify as narrow enough, many others are trying to do that these days. (But then again, I didn't read them in an orderly fashion, or enough times, to be able to identify the common thread if there is one more specific than that. If there is one, by all means, play on that.)

  • Absolutely no mention of anything such as The Less Wrong Sequences, 2006-2009. This belongs in a blurb or in an introduction to the book. You probably think that, by using that in a title, you're telling readers the following: the contents of this book were originally published as sequences of blog posts on the website lesswrong.com, from 2006 to 2009. But you're not. This information can be conveyed in a sentence such as that one, but it cannot be conveyed in a short title, given that readers are unf

... (read more)

Absolutely no mention of anything such as The Less Wrong Sequences, 2006-2009. This belongs in a blurb or in an introduction to the book.

Agree. Would like to emphasize even more. Taking in that title with fresh eyes, it sounds perhaps like part N of a multi-volume autobiographical series written by a musician trying to make less shitty music.

I'm not kidding.

If I imagine that I haven't spent almost a year on this website, and maybe I've even been told about it or saw the front page but didn't really dive into the community, and saw that book on a library shelf somewhere. What would happen? Or if someone told me it was a great book that I should read, but only told me the title?

Obviously, I'd think it's about something obscure, a book only for "insiders" who already know what the book is talking about. Would I want to pick it up? Not really.

Please, focus on the contents and the message, rather than the history behind the book. No one cares about the history behind a book before they've at least read it, unless it's Gandhi's secret unrevealed memoirs or something.

My long overdue title suggestion: Rationality 2.0: A Less Wrong Guide to Beliefs, Biases and Bayesianism Overall: I followed the title-subtitle format which seems very popular these days for pop-sci books. I tried to go for something broad enough to hint at the diversity of the material contained within the Sequences without giving the impression that the book is about anything and everything. 2.0 is nice and trendy and appeals to techies (who tend to gravitate towards such content). The general tone of the title is hopefully catchy and playful enough to appeal to a wide audience that would otherwise get intimidated by very formal, technical vocabulary. Why "Rationality"? Because the most common word we use to refer to ourselves is "rationalist" and we refer to the totality of LW-specific memes as "rationality". However, including the word "rationalist" rather than "rationality" in the title might make people mentally associate the book with the sort of rationalism that opposes empiricism. Why "Rationality 2.0"? Because many posts in the Sequences distinguish between Traditional Rationality and Bayesianism, and because we generally think of LW philosophy as improving on the traditional concept of rationality. It's bold enough to assert meaningful innovation, but not arrogant enough to not even allow the possibility of a 3.0. Why "A Less Wrong Guide"? This one's probably the weakest part of the title. I chose it because it explicitly named the community in which the contents of the book originated, in a context that more or less rendered the meaning of "less wrong" relevant. The problematic aspect of it is that it carries the hidden implication that there have been several other, more wrong guides to "Beliefs, Biases, and Bayesianism". The word "guide" is there because the Sequences serve as didactic material to many. Why "Beliefs, Biases and Bayesianism"? Because it has a nice alliterative ring to it, and because I think it captures the thematic core of Less Wr
So how about: (Replacing the "500" with an appropriate number, of course.)

Why not call the e-book "The Methods of Rationality"?

Or maybe something that is clearly not HPMoR, but clearly connected to it.

I like "Methods of Rationality", it's short and to the point, and thus it makes sense for people who are unfamiliar with HPMoR.

This creates a risk of confusion if people hear about the the awesome HP fan fiction "Methods of Rationality", Google it, and come away disappointed when the first hit they run into isn't fan fiction at all. (Or vice versa.)

What happens if at the top of the book it says "If you're looking for the awesome HP fan fiction "Methods of Rationality", go HERE"? (Ditto on HPMoR chapters?) Sounds like you might get some free cross-advertising that way, as well as a common brand across products.

Assuming, of course, that you want the common branding.

Another alternative: HPMOR could be renamed. The early chapters might have been explicit in the methods of rationality, cognitive biases, etc., but it has since then developed into a full-fledged story, and only tangentially related to rationality by way of certain characters. (Or maybe that's just me?)

Rebranding HPMOR would probably be too costly to be worth the book title.

Would "Rationality Methods" as part of the title overcome that disadvantage?
I would leave off the 'The".

Why should the term "the sequences" even be in the title? What does it tell an uninformed reader? Does it have any useful meaning for anyone who hasn't already read them? (Why are they even called that, anyway? I mean... I guess it's just that it was a sequence of blog posts?) In what way is "The Sequences" or "[Some title]: the Sequences" better than "The Blog Posts" or "The Diary Entries"?

I like the sound of it more if it doesnt include 'sequences' or anything like that at all. For example instead of:

Becoming Less Wrong: The Sequences, 2006–2009

Just have it as Becoming Less Wrong or Becoming Less Wrong: Something Catchier.

Becoming Less Wrong: The Art of Debugging Yourself
Becoming Less Wrong seems to be the best option so far.
3Ben Pace10y
Just so it's near the top: 'The Methods of Rationality' ties in with HPMoR, and sounds amazing. To me.
'Methods of Rationality' hadn't been proposed at the time. I agree, it's pretty good. Perhaps: Title: The Methods of Rationality Subtitle: How to Become Less Wrong/Becoming Less Wrong The Title:Subtitle format seems to be popular.
(However, as noted elsewhere, confusion with HPMOR may be a a bug rather than a feature )
2Ben Pace10y
I think the increased publicity of both would outweigh any bugs. Showing all HPMoR readers a book on how to be Harry? Showing all MoR:BLW readers a fiction about magic, using everything they've now learned!
These won't work for the same reason "Winning" wouldn't be used. They rely on the idea that people are actively hunting for ways to be more rational, but this just isn't true, which means that the "Wrong" isn't going to mean what you're hoping it'll mean. Odds are the people who pick this book up are in middle of a relationship, or something interesting happened at work, or they're thinking about how to do a school assignment. In other words, everything they know about life is telling them that they're doing alright, or rather, that they personally aren't doing wrongly. They'll decide "This book must be for somebody else, I've got all my things together", or possibly "Things are going bad right now, but I'm working to fix it, so I don't need a book telling me to change my attitude" and set it down. The point of the book was improve their decision making thinking, not fix their attitude, but the title didn't convey that properly, so misunderstandings were had. "Wrong", like "Winning", has a completely different context outside the Less Wrong community. It's more closely associated with vitriol, bad guys and good guys, guilt, righteous resentment, arguments. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that those feelings are the real concept of "Wrongness", and it's only in this community that an exotic sort of quale became substituted.
And this is why market research on non-LWers is important. I don't think that popular usage of 'wrong' is so totally divorced from the usage here, although it may not be the only usage of the word. Ultimately, however, the best way to determine that is to ask some people.
Don't know if this is where it comes from, but I always thought of "sequences" as an elaboration on the idea of rationality as a martial art; the term has some significance in theatrical swordplay [http://upstagereview.org/ActingArticles/IMPORTANT%20SWORDPLAY%20TERMINOLOGY.pdf], and it could also be compared to the Japanese kata [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kata].
3Paul Crowley10y
If they're editing this so much it's a single cohesive work, that's a huge amount of work. If they're not, then the subtitle should be something like "Essays 2006-2009" or "Blog posts 2006-2009" to make it clear that it's not.


I don't think asking people already on LW is a good technique for getting a title that will likely attract new people. We would likely reference terms that only make sense to those who have already read them (indeed a lot of the suggestions so far are rationalist shibboleths/applause lights/puns, which are fun for us but unhelpful). And we know al the evidence about how bad people in general are at simulating other very different minds unless they have particular expertise.

Very few people here likely have the relevant expertise in marketing. Have you considered asking an outside specialist? A good title and marketing can make an orders of magnitude difference in impact (with the obvious implications for spreading ideas better).

My guess is that asking LWers actually is a good way to generate title ideas, because we already know what the book is about; then Luke can go try a bunch of them on non-LWers and figure out which ones don't turn off everyone else.

3Rob Bensinger10y
I think asking LessWrong is a great idea, because it makes us feel more involved and invested in the end product, and drums up interest in and anticipation for the project. The bad idea is taking LessWrongers' responses seriously.

Eliezer's first post on Overcoming Bias was, as far as I know, The Martial Art of Rationality. I think that title works well to set the tone.

One objection is that the information is a bit removed from actual instrumental rationality (of the sort CFAR is meant to provide). It's like reading about muscle function and reflexes instead of reading a karate book (which is still not learning karate). Some of the stuff is actionable, but my overall impression is that much work is needed to make it so by the reader for the bulk of it. Dropping Martial will lower the claim to reasonable levels IMO.
OTOH, "The Art of Rationality" just sounds... generic.
It would sound a little bit too crackpottish to me as the title of a book. (Not sure why.)

As everyone else says, take "Sequences" out of the title. ("The Sequences: 2006-2009" is a strong contender for Worst Book Title Ever unless you want no one other than existing LWers to read it, and anyone who has advised you otherwise should never again be asked for book-naming advice.)

"Rationality" is probably too cumbersome a word (possible exception: what if that were the whole title?); "thinking" or "thought" or "reason" might be OK.

"How to Win"? (I worry that that's dishonest; it's insufficiently well established so far that rationalists -- in the sense of people who think in the ways Eliezer advises -- do actually win in the real world.)

"Thinking: right and wrong"? (Riffing off Kahneman's title, of course. Might be mistaken for a political book -- indeed, it wouldn't be a bad title for a smug conservative/libertarian treatise.)

[EDITED to fix a typo.]

Thinking: Right and Wrong is great.
2Rob Bensinger10y
To my ear (eye), "Thinking: Right and Wrong" sounds like a pretentious high school logic textbook. The effect is more schoolmarmy than bold, confrontational, or crisp. Most of our target audience won't get the pun, and even many of those who do may be turned off by the suggestion that this Eliezer guy knows the One True Right Way to Think. I'm not saying that's a reasonable response; I'm saying it's an unreasonable enough one that the people inclined to have it are probably in more desperate need of the contents of this eBook than are the Kahneman fanboys and fangirls.
I like "Thinking, Right and Wrong". Since it's an ebook, I suggest a set of hashtags or summary keywords that trigger the responses for people to look up themselves, such as "rationality, heuristics, biases, artificial intelligence." Another suggestion: "Thinking 001"
I really like Thinking: Right and Wrong, but if there is a danger that Right be misconstrued as conservative, then how about a variant? This is my only suggestion and it doesn't sound as good but there must be better: Thinking: Good and Bad

"Thinking: Wrong and Less Wrong".

... but it's a bit of an in-joke. Or an in-not-exactly-joke.

Will it contain non-Eliezer content, e.g. Diseased Thinking, or Ugh Fields? Bikeshedding, I know, but those are some mighty fine posts.

Okay, anywho, thinking hat on.

Answering Confusing Questions
Making New Mistakes
Understanding the Void

(People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they do not understand must be the void. This is not the true void. It is bewilderment. - Miyamoto Musashi)

The Use of Maps
Rationality and Contentment in a Suboptimal World
Already in Reality
If Snow is White, That's Okay
The Hard Part is Actually Changing Your Mind

Upvote for The Hard Part is Actually Changing your Mind.

Also upvoted, but The Hard Part is Actually Changing your Mind should be the subtitle.

The title, in large friendly letters, is The Easy Part.

Some of these would be better for chapter titles or something.

Will it contain non-Eliezer content, e.g. Diseased Thinking, or Ugh Fields?

No, this ebook is only Eliezer's content.

"The Use of Maps" sounds kooky, IMO. "The Hard Part is Actually Changing Your Mind"... could we just say "changing your mind"?

Is it helpful for the phrase "The Sequences" to appear in the title? My sense is that anyone who's already familiar enough with the Sequences to know what it means isn't going to need that phrase to be interested in the book, and that the phrase doesn't add much value for someone who's never heard of the Sequences before. It's sort of a weird word that doesn't immediately suggest anything about rationality.

The only people for whom it would add value would be those who (1) have at least sort of heard of the Sequences and are somewhat interested; (2) need to know that this ebook is about the Sequences to decide to read it; and (3) wouldn't understand that this was the Sequences ebook without that word in the title. I doubt that's a very large class, so my initial sense is that it's not necessary in the actual title. But then, that's just what occurred to me in the last 10 minutes, and the people who have thought about this more carefully may well have other reasons.

Rationality: How to Become Less Wrong.

One of those syllables is unnecessary. Try Rationality: How to Be Less Wrong.
I think the transitive form is important.
The Sequences: How to Become Less Wrong I'm actually in favor of keeping "The Sequences" in the title. "Rationality" is unfortunately a vague term for most people, and might even turn off some. There are several routes other than "catchy" - for ascetic purposes it's okay to be a little esoteric. The Sequences sounds like part of something mysterious and important. Plus it fits nicely with Eliezer Yudkowski's Bayesian Conspiracy motif.
I really dislike "The Sequences: How to become Less Wrong." The problem I have with it is that I think it misrepresents what one of titular sequences actually is. The impression I receive is that this book offers some step by step instructions, known as the Mysterious and Capitalized "Sequences" that will improve your life and make you a better person. ...ok so maybe it's not that far off but the point I'm trying to make here is: A book that advertises itself that way doesn't sound legitimate. It gives me an impression of belonging to the "self-help book" category, which has a fairly bad reputation. If I saw a book with that title in a book store, I'd probably smirk at it and move on. Whereas I think that beginning the title with "Rationality" gives it a more scientific air. And I ah e to imagine that the idea here is that the cover of the book should reflect the contents as usefully as possible.
The Bayesian Conspiracy The Bayesian Conspiracy: How to Become Less Wrong Or some other suggested title with The Bayesian Conspiracy added/substituted?
The Sequence-Less Conspiracy: How to Become Bayesian-Wrong? We need to enable the old steam-powered Permutation-Machine!
It's over by the hand-cranked Von Neumann Machine.
Ah, besides the Lego Turing Machine [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYw2ewoO6c4]. A perfect replica ... apart from the whole infinite tape thing, that's gotta be a Lego marketing gimmick. I'd say they are apparently easy to build, but then again, the A-Team can build anything.

From Zombies to Artificial Intelligence: Thinking Clearly About Truth, Morality and Winning in This And Other Worlds.

Slight rework; From AI to Zombies: Thinking Clearly About Truth, Morality and Winning in This And Other Worlds.

Even slighter rework: From AI to Zombies: Thinking Clearly about Truth, Morality, and Winning in This and Other Worlds.

I have a strong preference for the serial comma.

0Rob Bensinger8y
You also win!
That was my first thought, and it rolls off the tongue better, but the direction is wrong.
Huh? A to Z is clearly the right direction.
Alphabetically, not didactically.
From Zombies to Artificial Intelligence: Questioning what you think you already know.
Something in this vein is probably best. It's attention grabbing.
0Rob Bensinger8y
You win [http://lesswrong.com/lw/lmx/announcement_the_sequences_ebook_will_be_released/]!
Thanks. I'm happy CFAR (?) decided to build on my suggestion. My hope is to meet the Berkeley gang some day in person.
I think a title (like this one) that explicitly includes some of the topics covered is a very good idea. It hints at the fact that there are many short essays, which sounds a lot more inviting than if it were one monolithic work. Also, this kind of title conjures up more concrete images in the potential reader's mind and seems more likely to generate interest than a more generic title. You're only going to read "The Methods of Rationality" if you're already interested in that topic. "Zombies to AI" (or "AI to Zombies") just sounds fun!
The reverse alphabetical order is deliberate?
Well, the sequences sort of build up to AI... And the acronym AI is not self-evident to the general public... Anyway, "From AI to Zombies" sounds much better, so who cares.
“From [word starting with A] to [word starting with Z]” is so cliché-y; but I'm not entirely sure whether that's a bad thing in this case.

"Becoming Less Wrong" would normally be a good title, but unfortunately, there already exists a community of people who call themselves "Less Wrong". This changes the meaning of the title from "Acquiring good critical thinking skills" to "One of us... One of us...". Thus, I'd recommend against it.

Update. My favorites from this page are:

  • The Hard Part is Actually Changing Your Mind
  • From Artificial Intelligence to Zombies: Thinking Clearly about Truth, Value, and Winning
  • Modern Rationality: Thinking Clearly about Truth, Value, and Winning
  • The Martial Art of Rationality
  • The Methods of Rationality
  • The Art and Science of Rationality

Eliezer's two favorites of those six were "The Hard Part is Actually Changing Your Mind" and "The Art and Science of Rationality."

Having just seen this now, I like "From Artificial Intelligence to Zombies: Thinking Clearly about Truth, Value, and Winning" because it conveys just how frickin' broad The Sequences are. "The Hard Part is Actually Changing Your Mind" is good if you'd rather be catchy and give a sense of one key take-away rather than try to give a sense of the full scope of the sequences.
Think To Win: The Hard Part is Actually Changing Your Mind (It's even catchier, and actively phrased, and gives a motivation for why we should bother with the hard part.)
"The Hard Part is Actually Changing Your Mind" is the absolute worst from that list. It tells someone absolutely nothing -- hard part of what? Changing your mind because of what? It's not even clear what the topic of the book would be. Could be a political memior, for all I know. I like a variant on Dahlen's suggestion: Methods of Rationality: A Less Wrong Guide to Beliefs, Biases and Bayesianism.
"... to Beliefs, Biases, and Bayes" is shorter and snappier.
Reverend Bayes isn't someone to be idolized, because we're not looking for idols. The emphasis should be on Bayesianism, I think.

Untangling the Knot: A Users Guide to the Human Mind

Your Brain, an Owner's Manual

Less than One, Greater than Zero: The Sequences, 2006–2009

Approximating Omega (badly, of course)

Sharpening the Mace

Uncountable Infinite Shades of Grey (my apologies)

Stop Tripping Yourself: A Users Guide to the Human Mind

Marshaling the Mind: An Introduction to the Informed Art of Rationality

Motes and Meaning: The Less Wrong Archives

Of Motes and Meaning

Theory, in Practice

Thinking, in Practice

Thinking in Circles:Avoiding the Known Bugs in Human Reasoning.

I like the first two especially.
There already is a book called The Owner's Manual for the Brain [http://www.amazon.com/The-Owners-Manual-Brain-Applications/dp/1885167644]. EDIT: fixed typo.
I like them as titles... for a somewhat different book focussed more on actual human psychology.
I don't know. Bayesian updating isn't human-mind-specific and isn't the way the human mind naturally works; the first two titles especially seem to undercut that.
Many of these are good
The second one is already a book [http://www.amazon.com/The-Owners-Manual-Brain-Applications/dp/1885167644].

Feels like lots of the titles people suggest here are for some sort of quirky paperback self-help bestseller. You want to be one of those weighty, widely discussed New York Times bestsellers. These seem to me like the kind of titles you want to emulate:

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow
  • Brainstorms
  • Brainchildren
  • How the Mind Works
  • The Emperor's New Mind
  • Metamagical Themas
  • Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Titles that others have used in the past that I don't recommend:

  • How to Write, Think and Speak Correctly :)

There is disagreement about using the word "Sequences". I think it would be nice to remove it from the book's official title, but to keep it with small letters at the bottom of the cover. You know, something mysterious, something for insiders.

Some of the suggested names are great and could be successful (they should be tested on non-LW readers), but sometimes they sound too generic. I mean, anyone could (and some already did) write a book about "Thinking" or "Rationality" or "Mistakes" etc. There is nothing LW-specific about that.

But calling the ebook, for example, "The Craft of Rationality", and having the mysterious "The Sequences, 2006-2009" at the bottom of the page would allow us to refer this book to others as "The Sequences" book, which would make it different from dozens of other rationality-related books.

Exactly - I just assumed Luke at al would do market research, but please remember that this site is not necessarily representative of who you want the title to influence (LWers will probably be buying the book, but I doubt many will do so on the basis of the title.)

Modern Rationality: Dissolving Mysteries{, Mysticism,} and Mistakes

Human Rationality: How to Think Clearly and Get What You Want

2Jacob Falkovich8y
I second some people's claim that "rationality" can be a double-edged sword in the title, even people who might be interested in the book may have negative connotations. It would fit better in the subtitle, something like: Think Like Reality: The Art of Being Rational

How to Be Less Wrong

0Rob Bensinger10y
I like this one. Also Your Guide to Becoming Less Wrong feels nice and friendly and accessible. If anything, I think "How to Be Less Wrong" is too good of a title for this. "The Methods of Rationality" isn't an inherently very good title, its only real advantage being that it draws a lot more HPMoR people into the fold. Those people will be relatively nerdy and Internet-friendly and are familiar with (and fond of) a lot of Eliezer's idiosyncrasies and jargon, so it makes sense to have the extant Sequences (qua 'The Methods of Rationality') be the version of the book we want them to get. But, really, a giant pack of EY posts isn't a very good introduction for the general public, or even for the more intelligent and capable portion of the general public, to rationality. There's enough content within LessWrong to make a truly superb book along those lines, with a bit of minor supplementation and a lot of editing and reorganizing. And if we published such a book (both as a book book and as an e-book), the more simple and accessible title 'How to Be Less Wrong' (or something along those lines) would sell better, while leading a lot of people toward the lesswrong.com domain. (And since these people would be less Internet-happy and Yudkowsky-happy than the HPMoR crowd, this brand name continuity would be a lot more integral to getting them to visit the site and join the LW community and keep progressing in their personal cultivation.) So I think those two titles are both good, and should be attached to independent projects: 1. The Methods of Rationality is a more exhaustive (but much less polished and lay-accessible) dump of existing writings, targeted in large part at Internety people just outside our horizon (most obviously, HPMoR folks). 2. How to Be Less Wrong is a much shorter, jargon-freer, more polished book, this time for general consumption. The kind of thing I'd mass-purchase to give to every non-rationalist I know and recruit them in one f

Drop the dates in the title. They just make the book seem old and outdated.

I like something with 'rationality' and 'less wrong' in it. I don't think it's helpful to have 'the sequences' in the title if an aim to to have non less-wrongers pick it up.

What are the odds of a physical book? Would make a great gift, and gifting an ebook still seems weird. I'm still undecided about whether I like my books made out of dead trees or not.

Also, who is the target audience and what are the plans for reaching it? I don't think there are many people who are willing to invest time AND money into a book like this while still not having read the sequences (available freely on the web, and also in all kinds of e-book formats). For the two use cases I imagine at the moment: * giving it as a gift as an introduction to rationalist stuff feels better with a physical book indeed. Yes, there is a difference between buying an e-book for yourself and downloading the same stuff for free, especially in terms of motivation to actually read it, but on the receiving end e-books still might feel like being sent long pdf-s with a label "you should definitely read this", in addition to the e-book gifting weirdness (I might be wrong, I never did such a thing before). * buying it for yourself, to be able to put it on your bookshelf. Obviously, also much harder to do with an e-book. (I usually prefer e-books to dead-tree versions, but then I had nothing against reading the Sequences on the web either.)
Reading them on the web is difficult because of organizational issues. The medium can be an issue too (I generally avoid reading long texts on my computer because of eye issues; I buy hard copies/Kindle editions or print instead). More information on the target audience would be good, though.
I disagree with including the word 'rationality'. It has pretty poisoned connotations for much the same reasons as 'singularity' does. Spock is basically the lay stereotype for rationality, and I don't think we want to hit that particular button. As far as physical books go, it's fairly straightforward to turn ebooks into dead tree books. Basically the hardest part is getting a good cover for it. Making a dead-tree mass-produced version is only really a good idea if it makes economic sense to distribute. I think the minimum economically viable offer is small enough that it can be done, but that's more special-ordered books rather than mass-market.
No physical book planned. It would be a very expensive endeavour. The PDF version is close to 2500 pages ;)

I think there are vanity presses that will print on-demand as people order, without a large (or any) upfront payment. From there it's just a matter of whether people want the books enough to pay the high price.

For example, there's lulu.com. (This is not a recommendation as I have no experience publishing through them; it's just the first name that came to mind.) You can upload a PDF and cover images, choose paper size / type, binding, etc. and publish. They also offer ISBNs and publishing through Amazon.

Their pricing calculator is here. I think you can set any price you want for the book, as long as it's above the manfacturing cost (and there'll be shipping charges for customers).

Some examples I ran up:

2500 pages in 4 volumes means 625 pages/volume. (Lulu.com specifies a maximum of 740 pages per book.) I don't know the page size which comes to 2500 pages, though.

  • 625 pages,paperback binding, A5 page size: $18.38 ($73.52 for full set)
  • Ditto, A4 size (I doubt the PDF uses such large pages though): $23.10 ($92.4 for full set)
  • Hardcover, US trade size (6" x 9"): $27.35 ($109.4 for full set). May be worthwhile since the volumes are large that paperback might fall apart after
... (read more)
Including Amazon, by way of Ingram. I would actually suggest making this available as a Kindle book (or books) as well, although in that event I would recommend setting the ebook price close to the print price as a quality/value signal. The money can benefit MIRI or CFAR, and as long as the print+ebook offered via Amazon is a different edition than the one offered free, there should probably not be any problem with Amazon's pricing rule oddities.
The plan is to create a PDF, .epub, and .mobi version—just like the Facing the Intelligence Explosion eBook [http://intelligenceexplosion.com/ebook]—and make it available on our site, as well as through Amazon and iBooks. As for pricing we want it to be accessible, so it will either be free or very inexpensive.
Amazon (rather wisely IMO) has minimum pricing requirements for ebooks, though at the moment that'd be $2.99 for books of this size. However, from a signaling perspective it's better to have a pricey book that a few people buy and the rest steal, than to have a book that looks too cheap to be of actual value. People also are less likely to read a cheaper book in the first place (even if they bought it) or to apply the ideas therein, since if the author/publisher didn't think it was that valuable, why should they?
Do you plan on enforcing copyright on the extant ebook versions of the sequences?
I would pay one of these prices for my own set. I'm a little unsatisfied with note-taking and highlighting on ebooks and would love a physical copy to annotate and wear out.
Using a print on demand (POD) service is an interesting idea. The print quality of POD is lower then offset printing, so I'd be concerned that people might be disappointed in the quality, especially if they payed close to $100 for the full set. We'll ponder this, but no promises . . .
Note that all of those costs are plus shipping and plus whatever cut (if any) the author gets. Fortunately I don't think the objective here is to make money, just to disseminate the book.

Having only read a few of The Sequences, I may not be the best suited, though I may have the perk of having an immersion level similar to those who also have not read The Sequences, and thus be able to come up with a title that more closely appeals to that mindset. Since you're going to be competing with self help gurus in a genre about better living through better thinking, how about "The Key to Success: It's not just Confidence". I wouldn't discard making reference to some mathematical concept in the title. A contrast like that is aesthetically... (read more)

I think "Mind over mind" stands well on its own.

The Elements of Rationality.

I would personally prefer The Way, but it's probably too vague.

Magic Bucket Level, There is a Spoon and The Actual Park all sound too much like band names.

How about The First Virtue is Curiosity?

I don't like these very much as titles, but I strongly endorse them as band names (perhaps in the spirit of Wizard Rock [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wizard_rock])
Here's some more (some of which I actually like): * What Do I Think I Know? * What Do You Expect? * Some Useful Ideas * Entangled With the World * Dragons Versus Zebras * Living Under Uncertainty * I Want to Become Stronger * Real Explanations * Only Compress * How, Oh How? * More is Possible * The Cognonomicon * How I Built Goddess and What She Did When I Let Her Out of the Box (Edited to add bullets, I will never understand how carriage returns work on this site)
Type 2 spaces before the carriage return.

Becoming Less Wrong: Accurate Maps and Winning strategies

or something else that explores the dichotomy between epistemic and instrumental rationality might be a good idea. After all the distinction is quite important (arguably one of the first things that people should learn about rationality as a whole) and largely unnoticed by the general population. In fact if the title is something like Rationality: Accurate Maps and Winning strategies (or equivalent), the first lesson (that rationality is both about having accurate maps and about winning) can be learned from the title (especially perhaps if there is a brief explanation of the title in the preface).


If 'Sequences' is in the title at all it should probably be of the form "Sequences on . . ." rather than just "The Sequences".


  • Bringing Thinking Forward
  • Rationality in Prominence
  • {Sequences} {On} Resolving Confusion
  • {Applied/Practical} Rationality
  • Applied Epistemology
  • {Actually/Really} Changing Your Mind
  • Incremental {Correctness/Reason}
  • Relinquishing {Falsehood/Beliefs}
  • Celebrating {Reason/Correction}
  • Taking No Side {At All}
  • On No Side {At All}
  • Equable Reason
  • Word and Referent
  • Living in the Real

I also like (from other post... (read more)

What's the current progress on this?

Predictably Rational: Taking Hold of the Forces that Shape Our Decisions

Too Arielyly.

The Space of Possible Minds

4Paul Crowley10y
I like this. It sounds ambitious and intriguing, and touches on many of the themes in the Sequences. Surprised to see it so downvoted.

Why not something catchy? The sequences often had extremely catchy titles (eg "An Alien God"). "Becoming Less Wrong" is pretty good, but it doesn't have enough pizzazz. How'sabout something like:

  • "If you're reading this, Phase One of my master plan is already complete" (yes, stolen from a T-shirt, but rather appropriate) or
  • "The world is mad, you don't have to be"

or some variety of the 'rationality is applied winning' meme:

  • "On Winning"
  • "Winning - Theory and Practice"

Maybe a take on defeatin... (read more)

Azathoth Shrugged

Referencing Rand would bring along a lot of baggage from Objectivists as well as Objectivist Haters.

The word "Winning" has its association with specific situations and not with the LW context in the mind of a prospective reader, who would wonder why they ought to care about winning competitions and fights. The second and last one are both pretty good though.
I actually found LW while googling for Charlie Sheen jokes.
I like the general point about something catchy with pizzazz. "Being Less Wrong" is my favorite so far, but it could probably be improved on. "Winning: Theory and Practice" is also pretty good, though I wonder whether there's too much of an association between "winning" and Charlie Sheen. Maybe that's a silly concern, but we wouldn't want anyone to think this was just a joking reference to that.

Any word on a final conclusion?

The Craft of Rationality: The Less Wrong Sequences, 2006–2009

The Art of Rationality: The Less Wrong Sequences, 2006–2009

Why not “The Art and Craft of”? (Too cliché-y?)

(ETA: If I had to pick only one of “craft” or “art” I'd pick the latter -- it helps counteract the Vulcanian connotations of “rationality” IMO.)

The Science and Art of Rationality

The Art and Science of Rationality

The Way of Bayes
Getting What You Want
Future Thought
Man's Final Invention
Intelligence: Evolved, Explained, Engineered
Friendly AI: Engineering God
Thinking is a Skill
The Science of Wisdom
The Art of Reason
The Case for Reason
I Will Teach You to be Smart
Reason for 21st Century Humans
The Dawn Age

If I can just throw another one out there, "Better Living Through Clever Thinking"?

How do you know what you know?

Stop, question, think!

Is there any chance there will be a corresponding print book -- perhaps if the ebook does well? I still greatly prefer reading on dead tree.

Why You Are Wrong and What You Can Do About It.

You Are Wrong and You Can Change That

Who Is Least Wrong?

I think that a big fraction of the audience that the title can change from 'pass' to 'read' will respond with interest to a challenge, so telling them that they are wrong will get them to take second look.

Also, consider using the name of one of the sequences: Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions, The Map and the Territory, and Highly Advanced Epistemology 101 for Beginners are all catchy and intriguing, while indicating or alluding to the subject.

Update: The Science of Reason

You Can't Think: Debugging Your Brain

Debugging Your Brain

Debug Your Brain [pollid:450]

Debug Your Mind [pollid:451]

Brain Dynamics - Fix Your Mind

How to Think: A Primer

How to Think: A [Beginner's/Novice's] Primer

How about just Debugging Your Brain? It sounds catchier than the longer version.
How about Debugging Your Mind? This isn't a book about biochemistry.
I liked the alliteration of bug and brain, though Mind flows nicely. Added - actually, the gerund form seems too passive. See above.
Inspired by two of yours: "Updating, Your Brain"? (comma intentional - although the title is intended to make sense with or without it)

A Thinker's Book on Rationality: How to Be Less Wrong

Let's Talk about Rationality: Topics that Will Make You Less Wrong

Thinking the Right Way: How to Be Less Wrong

Being Rational: How to Think about and Win at Life

Through Rational Lens: Treatise of a Career Rationalist

Calling it the Sequences would only make Less Wrong laughable and support those who argue the people here are out of touch with reality. Do not call it the Sequences.

0Paul Crowley10y
I Can Make You Less Wrong In Thirty Days Or Less


Methods of Mastery

Reflections on Reason and Rationality

Less alliteratively...

Getting it Right on the Forty Second Try


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