Instrumental rationality/self help resources

by gothgirl4206661 min read18th Jul 2013107 comments


Life ImprovementsSelf ImprovementPractical

I took part in a recent discussion in the current Open Thread about how instrumental rationality is under-emphasized on this website. I've heard other people say similar things, and I am inclined to agree. Someone suggested that there should be a "Instrumental Rationality Books" thread, similar to the "best textbooks on every subject" thread. I thought this sounded like a good idea. 

The title is "resources" because in addition to books, you can post self-help websites, online videos, whatever. 

The decorum for this thread will be as follows:

  • One resource per comment
  • Place your comment in the appropriate category
  • Only post resources you've actually used. Write a short review of your resource and if possible, a short summary of the key points. Say whether or not you would recommend the resource. 
  • Mention approximately how long it's been since you first used the resource and whether or not you have made external improvements in the subject area. On the other hand, keep in mind that there are a myriad of confounding factors that can be present when applying self-help resources to your life, and therefore it is perfectly acceptable to say "I would recommend this resource, but I have not improved" or "I do not recommend this resource, but I have improved". 

I think depending on how this thread goes, in a few days I might make a meta post on this subject in an attempt to inspire discussion on how the LessWrong community can work together to attempt to reach some sort of a consensus on what the best instrumental rationality methods and resources might be. lukeprog has already done great work in his The Science of Winning at Life sequence, but his reviews are uber-conservative and only mention resources with lots of scientific and academic backing. I think this leaves out a lot of really good stuff, and I think that we should be able to draw distinctions between stuff that isn't necessarily drawing on science but is reasonable, rational, and helps a lot of people, and The Secret

But I thought we should get the ball rolling a little before we have that conversation. In the meantime, if you have a meta comment, you can just go ahead and post it as a reply to the top-level post.