Are Yearly/Monthly Book Suggestion Threads a Good Idea?

post by RobertLumley · 2011-12-29T16:52:57.817Z · score: -2 (31 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 22 comments

I thought I had seen a thread recently asking for book recommendations, and I had a recommendation to post there, but the thread I found is from about a year and a half ago. I didn't want to make an entire thread for my book suggestion, that would be a bit extreme (I will post it in the comments though). So I was wondering what people's thoughts were on a yearly or monthly discussion thread recommending good new books, perhaps with a brief synopsis or explanation. Would we have enough new recommendations to fill one? (I'm still astonished there are as few repeats in the quote threads as there are) Would we have so many that monthly would be a good idea? Should there be any guidelines like there are for the quotes threads? The only one I can think of would be just requiring a brief summary and why one thinks LWers might be interested in it.

22 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by PhilosopherQueen · 2011-12-29T17:50:15.489Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

http://www.amazon.com/This-Time-Different-Centuries-Financial/dp/0691142165

It details how people fallaciously through the centuries believe that it will be different this time, and thus contribute to economic crises. It should be a good read for rationalists from all walks of life as it gives an opportunity to learn from history. Those who don't learn from that are doomed to repeat it.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2011-12-29T18:38:24.824Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Monthly seems a little frequent, but a yearly or half-yearly post sounds good to me, and possibly a sticky post to make on-going topics (like Welcome!) easier to find.

Also, why just books rather than including movies, websites, etc.?

comment by Vaniver · 2011-12-29T20:34:58.626Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Even the monthly rationality quotes threads run into trouble with being too infrequent (as quotes near the start of the month get seen much more than quotes near the end of the month). Unless we have some sort of sticky section, I can't see half-yearly posts working well. (But we should get a sticky section, and then just make a new thread every X comments.)

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2011-12-30T02:41:33.585Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The quote threads should probably be more frequent. However, I don't see nearly as many books etc. being recommended.

comment by RobertLumley · 2011-12-29T20:39:23.772Z · score: -3 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I definitely agree sticky is the way to go, but we don't have that feature yet, unfortunately.

comment by RobertLumley · 2011-12-29T19:28:13.572Z · score: -9 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Good point. "Literature thread" then? Books too seem more valuable, though, or at least more related to rationality.

comment by _ozymandias · 2011-12-29T22:44:21.769Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think many people will assume that "literature thread" also means "book thread," since "literature" is often used to mean "book, with connotations of being worthwhile/classic/making you a better person/whatever."

Perhaps "media" would work? Although that almost presents the opposite problem...

comment by billswift · 2011-12-30T06:12:16.961Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe just tag book and other media discussion and recommendation threads, maybe as Resources?

comment by TheOtherDave · 2011-12-29T20:40:33.770Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The LW wiki might be a better place for ongoing lists of resources and similar stuff.

comment by RobertLumley · 2011-12-29T20:41:50.087Z · score: -7 (11 votes) · LW · GW

That's a good thought. I'm not sure we have nearly as many active wiki users though.

ETA: I've added this option to the poll.

comment by RobertLumley · 2011-12-29T16:57:05.212Z · score: -6 (18 votes) · LW · GW

Anyway, here goes:

I know sports aren't too popular on LW, but I happen to be an avid College Football (Specifically, LSU, UT, and the rest of the SEC) fan, and I heard about a book on the Freakonomics blog called Scorecasting. I haven't finished it yet, but what it has been so far is mostly how cognitive biases produce suboptimal strategies or outcomes in most professional sports. I've found it really interesting so far, but if sports aren't your thing, you probably won't.

comment by Craig_Heldreth · 2011-12-29T18:40:34.081Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Here is the link to the freakonomics post for those interested. I thought it was OK. You might also be interested in the works of Bill James. Bill James was doing freakonomics and cognitive bias analysis back in the early 1980's, selling his Bill James Baseball Abstract self-published to a list of subscribers gathered by word-of-mouth. He is the man most responsible for the state of modern Major League Baseball statistical analysis--the emphasis of On Base Percentage, the de-emphasis of pitchers' Won-Loss totals and a number of other changes and innovations.

I tried to argue in this post that the collection of large numbers of baseball player performance statistics and the incessant analysis towards meaning and reliability of them by fanatics make them as good a raw data set on human performance we have anywhere. The prediction accuracy of Las Vegas sports bookmakers may well be the singular most successful prediction market anywhere at anytime.

comment by Vaniver · 2011-12-29T20:33:08.412Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you like movies, Moneyball is recent and about sabermetrics.

comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2011-12-29T17:00:19.360Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Sports are not my thing. However, I read the first few chapters of that book and it was great. Then I lost my copy. I second RobertLumley's recommendation on limited information.

comment by RobertLumley · 2011-12-30T06:00:13.644Z · score: -7 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Out of curiosity, can someone explain why this is being downvoted?

comment by Emile · 2011-12-30T18:42:08.692Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Probably as a way of voting on the question you're asking.

comment by RobertLumley · 2011-12-29T19:45:34.643Z · score: -7 (17 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps I should have done this when I posted the thread originally, but here's a poll:

comment by RobertLumley · 2011-12-29T19:46:30.557Z · score: 20 (24 votes) · LW · GW

I think a monthly thread devoted to book or other types of recommendations (movies, blogs, websites) would be a good idea.

comment by RobertLumley · 2011-12-29T19:46:17.740Z · score: 0 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I think a yearly thread devoted to book or other types of recommendations (movies, blogs, websites) would be a good idea.

comment by RobertLumley · 2011-12-29T19:47:05.222Z · score: -6 (12 votes) · LW · GW

I think it would be best if we avoided having a monthly or yearly thread for book or other types of recommendations (movies, blogs, websites).

comment by RobertLumley · 2011-12-29T20:44:32.860Z · score: -9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I think things like this are better done on the LessWrong Wiki. (Credit)

comment by RobertLumley · 2011-12-29T19:46:37.677Z · score: -24 (28 votes) · LW · GW

Karma Sink