What am I even supposed to be looking at here?

New Answer
Ask Related Question
New Comment

2 Answers sorted by

It's Harold Fiske's Mississippi river map that shows how the Mississippi river changed over time, combined with a watercolor style transfer.

It's also the cover of one of the first set of LessWrong books that we published: https://www.lesswrong.com/books/2018 

I think an important aspect to mention explicitly is that it's paired with the phrase "a map that reflects the territory". It's important not because Harold Fiske or the Mississippi River are important to rationality, but because this image exemplifies the idea of that a map is meant to help you understand and reason about something that is not the map.

I was not aware that we had published any books!


A few questions:

  1. Are there any other books?
  2. Why are the books not prominently linked from the home page?
  3. Where can I download/order them in ebook form?
    1. I don't read any physical books.
1. Yep, there is last year's books! https://www.lesswrong.com/books/2019 [https://www.lesswrong.com/books/2019] 2. We very prominently linked them for a few months (they had a whole banner on the frontpage). You can now find them under the "Best Of" [https://www.lesswrong.com/bestoflesswrong] header in the library. 3. We don't currently publish them as e-books, but you can see their content in the Best-of sequence above
The Lesswrong Books tag [https://www.lesswrong.com/tag/lesswrong-books] has 3 books: * A map that reflects the territory [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/TTPux7QFBpKxZtMKE/the-lesswrong-2018-book-is-available-for-pre-order] (the one above), corresponding to 2018 reviews top posts [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/3yqf6zJSwBF34Zbys/2018-review-voting-results] * The engines of cognition [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/mvPfao35Moah8py46/book-launch-the-engines-of-cognition] , corresponding to 2019 reviews top posts [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/kdGSTBj3NA2Go3XaE/2019-review-voting-results] * (Unofficial) books of Scott Alexander's writings [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/WFmDFQJp27Fb7nxmF/print-books-of-scott-alexander-s-writing] (2020 reviews top posts [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/TSaJ9Zcvc3KWh3bjX/voting-results-for-the-2020-review] is not yet a book.)
[+][comment deleted]2mo 10

When I had the same question a while back, the conclusion that I came to was that it was a picture of a map, depicted on a billowing flag (or piece of cloth), and flags are usually planted somewhere to mark a territory. Thus, it is a map which is used to alter (or become part of) the territory!