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Heuristics for textbook selection

Reading high quality works by the giants of the 20th century and comparing it to more modern material can be a humbling experience for some--it certainly has been for me on more than one occasion.

I am not sure, are you saying, that for some fields "works by the giants of the 20th century" is great, while modern material is bad?

Heuristics for textbook selection

Reposting my comment from lukeprog's thread with slight edits.

It would be useful for me if some of you guys shared your methodology of choosing textbook / course / whatever for learning X, especially if X has something to do with math, computer science or programming.

My methodology (especially for math, computer science and programming) (in no particular order):

  • I know Russian and English but I prefer English textbooks, because there are more textbooks in English produced. If their usefulness for me is a gaussian distribution, then top textbooks in English are probably better, than top textbooks in Russian.
  • Go to http://lesswrong.com/lw/3gu/the_best_textbooks_on_every_subject/ and look at recommendations
  • Go to libgen, search for the keyword and sort by the publisher or by year. Identify potentially good publishers, e.g. top universities of the world or top universities in that field, or Springer
  • Check rating on goodreads and/or on amazon
  • Check top comments by usefulness on goodreads and/or amazon
  • Download the book, look at the Contents section, see how useful they seem to me
  • Google best textbook on ${subject name}, ${book title 1} vs ${book title 2}. Pay special attention to results on stackexchange. Do the same google search with site:reddit.com.

New ideas which I haven't tried yet:

  • Look for a subreddit or freenode chat on the topic I am interested in. See if there's a recommended reading list pinned there.
The Best Textbooks on Every Subject

It would be useful for me if some of you guys shared your methodology of choosing textbook / course / whatever for learning X, especially if X has something to do with math, computer science or programming.

My methodology (in no particular order):

  • Go to this thread and look at recommendations
  • Go to libgen, search for the keyword and sort by the publisher or by year
  • Check rating on goodreads and/or on amazon
  • Check top comments by usefulness on goodreads and/or amazon
  • Download the book, look at the Contents section, see how much I like what I see
  • Google best textbook on ${subject name}, ${book title 1} vs ${book title 2}. Pay special attention to results on stackexchange. Do the same google search with site:reddit.com
The Best Textbooks on Every Subject
Post the title of your favorite textbook on a given subject.
You must have read at least two other textbooks on that same subject.
You must briefly name the other books you've read on the subject and explain why you think your chosen textbook is superior to them.

Subject: Probability Theory

Recommendation: Feller's An Introduction to Probability Theory is better than Jaynes' Probability Theory: The Logic of Science and MIT OpenCourseware: Introduction to Probability and Statistics

Jaynes' book probably has more insight for someone who already knows probability theory very well. MIT course should be better if you want ot learn some probability theory and statistics very fast skipping proofs and other stuff. Feller's book is better if you want to learn a lot of probability theory, you have a lot of time and Jaynes' book is too difficult for you.

Attention control is critical for changing/increasing/altering motivation

You claim that posting attention to some kind of pain might make you feel that pain stronger in the future. However Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction supposedly makes you feel better despite chronic pains. It inckudes mindful meditation, which has you pay attention to how your body feels. This seems to be a contradiction with what you claim, because of you pay attention to it, it will become worse, as you say.

Writing Collaboratively

The title misled me: I though this would be useful if me and another person decided to write a piece of fiction together.

Apparently this post is for people who write things and let other people comment on them, make little changes and suggest edits. But there is still one main author.

Knowledge Dump: Pomodoros

Actually the LW Study Hall uses 32-8.

Lesswrong 2016 Survey

I have taken the survey.