It's also not always good advice.

Of course it isn't. But I don't think that's a very good standard to be holding most forms of advice to. Very little advice is always good advice; nearly all sayings have exceptions. The fact is, however, that Lasker's (sort of Lasker's, anyway) quotation is useful most of the time, both in chess and out of chess (since unless you're playing a blitz game, you're likely to have plenty of time to think), and for a rationality quote, that suffices.

The fact is, however, that Lasker's (sort of Lasker's, anyway) quotation is useful most of the time

I don't think that's the case. Of LW I would expect that more people suffer from perfectionism than there are people who optimize for satisfaction too much.

0bentarm5yIt's not at all obvious to me that the failure mode of not looking for a better move when you've found a good one is more common than the failure mode of spending too long looking for a better move when you've found a good one - in general, I think the consensus is that people who are willing to satisfice actually end up happier with their final decisions than people who spend too long maximising, but I agree that this doesn't apply in all areas, and that there are likely times when this would be useful advice. In the particular example I gave, if you've already found a move that wins a rook, then it's all-but irrelevant if you're missing a better move that wins a queen, as winning a rook is already equivalent to winning the game, but there are obviously degrees of this (it's obviously not irrelevant if you settle for winning a pawn and miss checkmate). This suggests you should be careful how you define a "satisficing" solution, but not necessarily that satisficing is a bad strategy (in the extreme, if your "good move" is a forced checkmate, then it's obviously a waste of time to look for a "better move", whatever that might mean).

Rationality Quotes Thread March 2015

by Vaniver 1 min read2nd Mar 2015235 comments

8


Another month, another rationality quotes thread. The rules are:

  • Please post all quotes separately, so that they can be upvoted or downvoted separately. (If they are strongly related, reply to your own comments. If strongly ordered, then go ahead and post them together.)
  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote from Less Wrong itself, HPMoR, Eliezer Yudkowsky, or Robin Hanson. If you'd like to revive an old quote from one of those sources, please do so here.
  • No more than 5 quotes per person per monthly thread, please.
  • Provide sufficient information (URL, title, date, page number, etc.) to enable a reader to find the place where you read the quote, or its original source if available. Do not quote with only a name.