All of joshkaufman's Comments + Replies

The noncentral fallacy - the worst argument in the world?

Sorry for the downtime - transferred the domain to a new registrar, and thought the forward would be automatically detected and carried over. It wasn't. Should be back up once the record updates.

The noncentral fallacy - the worst argument in the world?

Anyone who visits this page can judge the merits themselves: there's no argument from authority involved. No one is claiming this form of argument is invalid because it's on LW, or because Yvain wrote it, or because it has a catchy name that's published on a website, or because it now has an easy-to-remember URL. I made a simpler citation, nothing more.

1prase9yWhat other role, if not one of authority, play a pre-existing URL and the page being written by a third party, in shifting the status of the argument to a logical fallacy? To clarify: I understood your comment as saying that when you encounter the "worst argument" somewhere on the internet, you would link to this article with the connotation "look, what you've just done is an officially recognised fallacy - a neutral party has written a nice article about it and there is even a domain for that". Which may work fine until your opponent sees who has registered the domain and for what purpose.
The noncentral fallacy - the worst argument in the world?

Hahaha, nice.

I was imagining a situation in which someone makes an argument of this type, you say something along the lines of "that's a great example of the 'Worst Argument in the World'," and the person replies "you just made that up..." or "that's just your opinion..."

Providing a pre-existing URL that links to a well-written page created by a third-party is a form of evidence that shifts "Worst Argument in the World" from something that feels like an opinion to the title of a logical fallacy. That can be quite useful in certain circumstances.

6prase9yWhen in the discussion under the well-written page created by a third party the first party openly admits registering the domain in order to use it as argumentum ad verecundiam, the whole thing loses much of its power.

Exactly! Logical fallacies are bad, and the Worst Argument in the World is a logical fallacy!

(Actually valid because it's a typical, central logical fallacy, not an edge case. If you'd asked me to list the most common logical fallacies even before I saw this post, I'd hope that I'd remember to put argument-by-categorization-of-atypical-cases into the top 10.)

The noncentral fallacy - the worst argument in the world?

I just registered http://worstargumentintheworld.com - it redirects to this post, and should be available shortly. Much easier to mention in conversation when other people use this argument, and don't believe it's a "real thing."

Great piece of work, Yvain - it's now on my list of all-time favorite LW posts.

4Eli Tyre2yThe link seems broken? : (
2BlueSun8yI was writing an article and trying to refer to www.worstargumentintheworld.com but it appears to be down. Is the registration still valid and/or going to be renewed?
1TobyBartels8yIt doesn't work anymore for me, and it's been less than a year (typical registration period).

I just registered http://worstargumentintheworld.com - it redirects to this post, and should be available shortly. Much easier to mention in conversation when other people use this argument, and don't believe it's a "real thing."

"Real things" have their own domain. I registered this domain, therefore...

Help with a (potentially Bayesian) statistics / set theory problem?

Wow, that's so simple it could possibly work!

Many thanks - this is most likely what I'll go with. I appreciate your help. :-)

Help with a (potentially Bayesian) statistics / set theory problem?

Thanks - the voting system analogy didn't occur to me. Reading up on ranked pairs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranked_pairs

Help with a (potentially Bayesian) statistics / set theory problem?

Ah, I see. Instead of updating half the lists, I was updating the 720 sets where C is the #1 preference. Thanks for the clarification.

Help with a (potentially Bayesian) statistics / set theory problem?

Okay, if A is preferred from { A , [B-G] }, that should add probability mass to [A, [B,...,G] ], where [A, [B,...,G] ] is a ranked set of objects where the first slot is most preferred. That would represent 720 (6!) sets out of 5040.

All other sets (7! - 6! = 4,320) should either stay the same probability or have probability mass removed.

Then, the probability of A being "most preferred" = the sum of the probability mass of all 720 sets that have A as the highest ranked member. Likewise for B through G. Highest total probability mass wins.

Am I understanding that correctly?

1dlthomas10yI don't think I'm following you. We see a new piece of evidence - one of the people prefers C to E C will be preferred to E in half the lists. Those lists become more probable, the other half become less probable. How much more/less probable depends on how much error you expect to see and of what type. Repeat on all the data. You only actually look at the first member when asking the odds that a particular object is there - at which point, yes, you sum up the probability of those 720 sets.
Help with a (potentially Bayesian) statistics / set theory problem?

Right - thanks for the correction. Posted a correction in the main text.

Help with a (potentially Bayesian) statistics / set theory problem?

Good point about inconsistency... I was thinking that individual responses may be inconsistent, but the aggregated responses of the group might reveal a significant preference.

My first crack at this was to use a simple voting system, where B from {A,B} means +1 votes for B, 0 for A, largest score when all participant votes are tallied wins. What messes that up is participants leaving without completing the entire set, which introduces selection bias, even if the sets are served at random.

Preference ordering / ranking isn't ideal because it takes longer, wh... (read more)

1VincentYu10yIf the aggregated preferences are transitive (i.e., 'not inconsistent' in your and Manfred's wording), then this preference relation defines a total order [https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Total_order] on the objects, and there is a unique object that is preferred to every other object (in aggregate). (Furthermore, this is isomorphic to the set {1,2,3,...,7} under the ≤ relation.)
The Best Textbooks on Every Subject

Useful clarification. In that case, you should know that the book is currently being used by several undergraduate and graduate business programs as an introductory business textbook.

The book is designed to be a business primer ("an elementary textbook that serves as an introduction to a subject of study"), and business is a very important area of study that rewards rationality. At the time of my original post, no one had recommended a general business text. That's why I mentioned the book in this thread.

I appreciate your distaste for perceived ... (read more)

The Best Textbooks on Every Subject

Wow, Duke - that's a bit harsh.

It's true that the book is not densely written or overly technical - it was created for readers who are relatively new to business, and want to understand what's important as quickly as possible.

Not everyone wants what you want, and not everyone values what you value. For most readers, this is the first book they've ever read about how businesses actually operate. The worst thing I could possibly do is write in a way that sounds and feels like a textbook or academic journal.

I don't know you personally, but from the tone of y... (read more)

6Duke10yFor the sake of clarity, my criticism of Josh's book was developed within the context of Josh promoting his book in a LW thread titled "The Best Textbooks on Every Subject."
3[anonymous]10yI upvote you solely for the chutzpah of your self-promotion. Which, in hindsight, is mostly what you're selling.
5Duke10yI think the title--and especially the subtitle, " Mastering the Art of Business,"--signals that the book will be a thorough examination of business principles. As well, I think that hocking your book in a thread called "The Best Textbooks on Every Subject" signals that the book will be, at least, textbook-like in range, complexity and information containment. You now call your book "not densely written or overly technical." I call it cotton candy.
How to Beat Procrastination

Personally, I use PICS: Positive, Immediate, Concrete, and Specific. Huge improvement when you actually use it to plan real goals.

0[anonymous]10yThanks! I'm going to try that.
6Procrastinus10yI go with the CSI approach. Challenging, Specific, Immediate and make them approach goals. I think specific and concrete overlap quite a bit, though sometimes I separate them out too. SMART goals are based on a early 1980 paper on project management for teams. Only tangentially relevant for individual motivation.
[anonymous]10y24

PICS or it didn't happen?

The Best Textbooks on Every Subject

Thanks - glad people are finding it useful.

The Best Textbooks on Every Subject

Business: The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman.

I'm the author, so feel free to discount appropriately. However, the entire reason I wrote this book is because I spent years searching for a comprehensive introductory primer on business practice, and I couldn't find one - so I created it.

Business is a critically important subject for rationalists to learn, but most business books are either overly-narrow, shallow in useful content, or overly self-promotional. I've read thousands of them over the past six years, including textbooks.

Bus... (read more)

1bgf4195moI know this comment/thread is a decade old, but I come back to the chapter on business models multiple times a year because it's a concise overview and particularly useful in combinatoric idea generation. Figured I'd give my thanks knowing there's a chance the author will read this comment... Thanks Josh!!
8lukeprog10yMy summary of chapter 9, for anyone who cares: Fear kills work. Inspire coworkers by showing them appreciation, courtesy, and respect. Show them they're important. Get them to work in their comparative advantage, and where they are intrinsically motivated. Explain the reasons why you ask for things. Someone must be responsible and accountable for each task. Avoid clanning; get staff to work together on shared projects and enjoy relaxation time together. Measure things, to see what works. Avoid unrealistic expectations. Shield workers from non-essential bureaucracy.
5Duke10yThis book, or, to be accurate, the 20 or so pages I read, are terrible. For someone who prefers dense and thorough examinations of topics, The Personal MBA is cotton candy. It is viscerally pleasing, but it offers little to no sustenance. My advice: don't get an MBA or read this book. The mistake I made was considering the author's appearance in this thread as strong evidence that his book would offer value to a rationalist. In fact, the author is a really good marketer whose book has little value to offer. Congratulations to him, however, since he got me to buy a brand-new copy of a book, something I rarely do.
7Dr_Manhattan10yI like the book so far, it seems to pretty much a solid implementation of Munger's approach. Spends a bit too much energy dissuading me from business school, including some arguments I found rhetorical (e.g. biz. schools started from people measuring how many seconds a railway worker does something or other. by this logic we should outlaw chemistry), but it might be useful to someone (though there are quite a few people in line to take their places).
3MichaelGR10yI've added it to my list. I'm currently reading Poor Charlie's Almanack and liking it a lot so far. The best business book I've read is probably The Essays of Warren Buffett (second ed.), but it's certainly not exhaustive in what it covers. Update: I've got my copy from Amazon.ca (really fast shipping - 2 days). Will probably have a chance to read it in February.
3Cyan10yI'm reading it now. I fully endorse this recommendation, but I haven't read any other business books, so take that for what it's worth.
5lukeprog10yRather phenomenal Amazon reviews you have, sir.