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Open thread, August 7 - August 13, 2017


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Recovering from Failure

Thanks for writing something useful, at least for others. Here is my take.

I may not know as much as you do, but I can tell you this -

You are trying too hard to follow Nate Soares' style of writing.

Keep a combination of cold resolve and self-compassion. Remember that your goal is to keep surging on, but burning out this early helps no one. Instead, keep a cold flame that you can consistently draw on. Give yourself space to look at yourself as a human, trying to achieve a higher standard.

This makes sense only in context of the whole Nate Soares' sequences. Try to reduce the interlinkage, it will help you write more clearly and explain things better (Rationalist's Taboo, remember?). This paragraph I have quoted is a strawman, but I wanted to show you how empty and meaningless it is, out of context. In context too, it makes no sense to me. I may be autistic, but I have no idea how to keep a combination of cold resolve and self-compassion. The Curse of Knowledge, remember? You may write stuff that makes sense to you, but not to me. We don't have the same meaning for the same words we use - 'cold resolve' for me means being Stoic. It may mean something else to you.

You should prefer to cut out anything you don't think contributes to your post.

All right, on with your breaking commitments part -

Then what actually happens is that I realize I had absolutely no intention to study machine learning in the first place. I already knew that I was going to play some video games, and the other alternatives were generated half-heartedly.

You didn't mention machine learning anywhere. Not good. I infer you intended to use machine learning as an alternative to playing video games, because that is what makes the most sense to me.

By the time you violate your own commitments, the shift to violate them has already happened somewhere earlier along the line. You’ve already made your internal decision to break the promise. Any number of metacognitive safeguards might flare up—like that nagging voice that asks, “Hey, but didn’t we just agree not to fall for temptation last time?”—but they’ll be useless.

I never break the promises I make to myself. I bend them. I bend them out of shape. But I never break them. After a night's worth of binging of porn, and me staring into the abyss/ceiling, I don't feel guilty. Because I didn't break my promise. (then again, I use a vastly idiosyncratic precommitment system to keep myself productive, or atleast not binge reading and fapping)

So yeah, the whole post you put down there goes out the window for me.

If you feel angry, or hurt, remember that you are still doing better than me. I am around your age. I am just commenting, while you are actually creating.


Also, don't ask me about my precommitment system. I never talk about it with anyone.

Recovering from Failure

even if you manage to jam some other shape into that hole, you are in fact jamming something else into it.

So... It is still masturbation no matter how you put it, huh?

Introducing the Instrumental Rationality Sequence

I Ankified Influence - Cialdini.

How wrong am I now?

Also, check out Keith Stanovich's book How to think straight about Psychology. I am a rationality noob and find it amazing, but maybe it will help you because Keith talks about how to properly interpret scientific results in the later section of the book, AFAIK.

Open thread, May 8 - May 14, 2017

Can we make a list of all the best (maybe not the best, but the ones people use) implementation intentions/TAPs for rationality? That would be instantly useful to anyone who encounters it.

Also, making a list for general TAPs/implementation intentions LWers find useful in their life would also be very helpful to everyone.

I don't have enough karma to even make a post in discussion, so can someone take up my quest?

Stupid Questions May 2017

First off, thank you for taking the time to reply to my message. I understand that not many people are helpful, even on LW, so I appreciate what you are doing.

Thank you for your suggestions.

I don't think the classics are helpful for me because I cannot afford to take the time to understand them right now.

I read most of the Sequences. I planned to convert them to Anki cards but am unable to summarize most concepts. So I have given up on that.

I try to keep a buffer of Anki cards to learn always and a book from which I read and. Convert to Anki cards.

I read a lot, but I am restricted to reading relatively straightforward books - things you don't have to think about to understand. This is because I aim to spend the majority of my time studying to get into college.

So I have been searching for books that fit my rather idiosyncratic criteria -

  1. Reading it will contribute to improving my life. Eg - 48 Laws of power, that Social Psychology textbook lukeprog recommended in his epic dating post.

  2. The book must give straightforward advice, suggestions, or facts. Some textbooks are better than others in this sense. Popular psychology books also work, but I find many don't pass the 3rd criteria.

  3. Has to have a minimum of 3.9 rating on Good reads and the top review should show the book isn't all hype (Economics in One Lesson, for example. I am not reading it because I haven't found a good intro to economics and the top review of this book points out a hell lot of supposed problems (I don't get what the review said).)

It takes me an hour or two to find books worth reading.

Let me tell you of my recent reads to give you an idea.

George Ainslie - Breakdown of Will. Bloody brilliant. I cured most of my Akrasia that has almost destroyed my life (I am taking a gap year to study now.) Using personal rules. I didn't Anki amythinh, because I reread the damn book enough times.

Nick Soares - That epub currently being linked in the discussion section. Now bad, but his blog posts on motivation seem more useful. But the first essay in this epub was Anki worthy.

Algorithms to Live By - Amazing book, but hard to Anki. I will spend more time reading it though. It is worth it.

Cormen - Algorithms Unlocked. I aim to get into the CS field in college. So this is sort of an intro, a preliminary reading or whatever. It should be fun.

I also am trying to read Epictetus and rereading Marcus Aurelius. When I get around to it.

Thanks for the resource of LW link. Awesome rabbit hole to fall into.

You don't really need to reply with recs actually. You have helped me.

But I would still enjoy reading your recs.

Stupid Questions May 2017

Any useful book recommendations (or just dump your recommendations here)? I have a lot of nonfiction books (John Keegan for example), , but none of them seem worth reading - nothing in them is worth remembering 10 years from now.

Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

What do you think of the idea of 'learning all the major mental models' - as promoted by Charlie Munger and FarnamStreet? These mental models also include cognitive fallacies, one of the major foci of Lesswrong.

I personally think it is a good idea, but it doesn't hurt to check.

Open thread, Nov. 21 - Nov. 27 - 2016

How do I remove the effect of cognitive biases on my decision making? My current idea is to - one, train myself to recognize the points when biases may affect me; two, when making an important decision with a high cost or influence on my future, make the decision the 'academic' way.

Is this optimal? Do you have any better solutions?

Also, which book is better to use as a starting point - 'Judgement in Managerial decision Making', or 'Judgement under Uncertainty'? Is 'Thinking Fast and Slow' worth spending time on compared to actively practicing the skill of recognizing biases that influenced your thinking during the day?

Thank you.

Open thread, Nov. 14 - Nov. 20, 2016

To readers -

Is it worth reading any historical narrative or biographical account if my aim is to improve my life in specific ways using that knowledge, if luck/survivor bias/outcome bias plays a huge part in whose life is memorialised this way?

I'll provide an example to make it clear - will reading a biography of Abraham Lincoln actually improve me in a specific way, like providing me a model for leadership, or way to handle people, or is his success based on his principles just context dependent, or the result of luck?

What I have observed: I have read the biographies of Steve Jobs, Napoleon, and Julius Caesar, and I haven't found any improvement in me, nor did I get specific insights into aspects of life, with one exception - my mindset changed to become more ambitious.

gwern (IDK if /u/gwern works here) - you have read a lot of nonfiction of this type - hell, you have recently read the Quincey autobiography. What do you think?

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