It's been ten years now since the completion of the sequences by Eliezer, it seems like a good time to look back and rethink a bit.

Eliezer himself said that he did many things wrong, and that the book could be much better.

So, if we made a second version, what ideas/articles would add/subtract? what would you rearrange?

I'm thinking of a second version as a handbook of rationality, that doesn't have to be just Eliezer's writing (though naturally it would be central), and will include ideas and writing from others as well.

Feel free to get into as much detail as you like.

until we make that second version, maybe this thread can be helpful to new readers to know what's missing, and what they can do to get even more value out of it.

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Yoav Ravid

Aug 24, 2019


I would put a lot of focus on Akrasia early on. to me, Akrasia seems like the "denominator of rationality". no matter how rational you are, if you are akratic, your behavior won't be rational. for example, if you follow through on just 1/10 best judgements you have, you can never fulfill more than 10% of your rationality potential.

I would then add a section that deals with applying rationality to "limiting beliefs" (close to the self development), things that if you stop believing in it won't just be rewarding because it's the truth, but will bring instant improvement to your life. one example is irrational fears - life fear of rejection and failure.

Another thing here would be the importance of practice. focusing on going out there and trying to do stuff, then later also using your rationality specific skills to develop better strategy. practice could be rejection therapy, habit forming, talking to strangeness, even pickup*. the important thing about these are that they are highly actionable, traceable (it's easy to now if you're making progress), and give a lot of value back.

*I know pick up is touchy subject on LW. I'm talking about the non creepy pick-up, whether for man or woman, where they train on being better with the other and sex. not manipulating and using the other sex.

I have some more thoughts that right now are less concrete, i will probably edit this answer later.

I think most people already know that spending less time looking at screens is a good idea. What's missing is a way to do that without relapsing. Willpower and guilt don't work for everyone. Here's some things that work for me:

  1. Not carrying a smartphone. I never owned one, and never felt bad about it.

  2. Unfollowing everyone on Facebook, so my feed is empty, but my account still exists and people can contact me.

  3. Switching my laptop screen to grayscale. (An e-ink macbook would be even better, but they don't exist.)

Does the grayscale thing actually work? (I recall someone trying this and having inconclusive/mixed results)
2Rob Bensinger5y
For Facebook, I use FBPurity to block my news feed. Then if there are particular individuals I especially want to follow, I add them to a Facebook List.