Help us name the Sequences ebook

post by lukeprog · 2013-04-15T19:59:13.969Z · score: 14 (15 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 149 comments

 

Quantum Computing Since Democritus got me thinking that we may want a more riveting title for The Sequences, 2006-2009 ebook we're preparing for release (like the FtIE ebook). Maybe it could be something like [Really Catchy Title]: The Less Wrong Sequences, 2006-2009.

The reason for "2006–2009" is that Highly Advanced Epistemology 101 for Beginners will be its own ebook, and future Yudkowskian LW sequences (if there are any) won't be included either.

 

Example options:

 


In the end, we might just call it The Sequences, 2006–2009, but I'd like to check whether somebody else can come up with a better name.

Suggestions?

(Update on 5/5/2013 is here.)

 

 

149 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Dahlen · 2013-04-16T01:21:20.724Z · score: 67 (67 votes) · LW · GW

My motley collection of thoughts upon reading this (please note that, wherever I say "you" or "your" in this post, I'm referring to the whole committee that is working on this ebook, not to you, lukeprog, in particular):

  • It's a difficult book to name, chiefly because the sequences themselves don't really have a narrow common thread; eliminating bias and making use of scientific advances don't qualify as narrow enough, many others are trying to do that these days. (But then again, I didn't read them in an orderly fashion, or enough times, to be able to identify the common thread if there is one more specific than that. If there is one, by all means, play on that.)

  • Absolutely no mention of anything such as The Less Wrong Sequences, 2006-2009. This belongs in a blurb or in an introduction to the book. You probably think that, by using that in a title, you're telling readers the following: the contents of this book were originally published as sequences of blog posts on the website lesswrong.com, from 2006 to 2009. But you're not. This information can be conveyed in a sentence such as that one, but it cannot be conveyed in a short title, given that readers are unfamiliar with the terms. There isn't really a way for them to guess from a quick glance at the title that "Less Wrong" means "the website "LessWrong.com" or that "the Sequences" mean "several series of blog posts around which the LessWrong community was formed", or what all of that has to do with them.

  • And even so -- is that the first thing you wish to tell your readers? What happened to the contents of the book before they were made into a book...? And in a form which is basically incomprehensible to them? While giving little insight into the content itself? And do you really, honestly think that you're not doing the material a disservice by telling the readers that it was first published on some guy's blog, before they know anything else about the book (i.e. how it distinguishes itself from ordinary blog posts)? If the first association is with something as low-status as a blog, then that's gonna be the lowest common denominator -- you're gonna have to work up from that, which is harder than working up from the expectation of an average pop-sci book. (Thankfully for you, though, the readers won't be able to draw those inferences; see the paragraph above.)

  • The rest of the suggestions -- The Craft of Rationality, The Art of Rationality, Becoming Less Wrong -- they're not technically bad, but... they're -- they're weak. They're not distinguishable. The authors out there that are trying to establish themselves as the masters of the "art/craft" of something are a dime a dozen. Sure, probably LWers are probably the most eager bunch to claim "the art of rationality" for themselves, or at least this is what a quick internet search told me, but the connection isn't immediately established in the minds of the readers.

  • Careful about any unflattering allusions to the reader's intelligence. They can be taken well if presented in a humorous/witty form, but you have to make believable promises that the book will help readers overcome them. Also (and this is directed mainly towards the rest of the commenters), everything that suggests that the book is meant to drill the "correct" ideas into your head, rather than teach you how to develop good thinking practices on your own, is a no-no.

  • How come Eliezer hasn't come up with a good, catchy title yet? I've just gone over the titles of the blog posts included in the sequences, and those ones are very good, very appropriate as chapter/subchapter titles. He's good at this titling business. Surely he could think up something witty for the one title to rule them all?

  • No suggestions from me just yet. I need to think this through better.

comment by DaFranker · 2013-04-16T14:03:23.546Z · score: 20 (20 votes) · LW · GW

Absolutely no mention of anything such as The Less Wrong Sequences, 2006-2009. This belongs in a blurb or in an introduction to the book.

Agree. Would like to emphasize even more. Taking in that title with fresh eyes, it sounds perhaps like part N of a multi-volume autobiographical series written by a musician trying to make less shitty music.

I'm not kidding.

If I imagine that I haven't spent almost a year on this website, and maybe I've even been told about it or saw the front page but didn't really dive into the community, and saw that book on a library shelf somewhere. What would happen? Or if someone told me it was a great book that I should read, but only told me the title?

Obviously, I'd think it's about something obscure, a book only for "insiders" who already know what the book is talking about. Would I want to pick it up? Not really.

Please, focus on the contents and the message, rather than the history behind the book. No one cares about the history behind a book before they've at least read it, unless it's Gandhi's secret unrevealed memoirs or something.

comment by Dahlen · 2013-09-20T03:26:28.826Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

My long overdue title suggestion: Rationality 2.0: A Less Wrong Guide to Beliefs, Biases and Bayesianism

Overall: I followed the title-subtitle format which seems very popular these days for pop-sci books. I tried to go for something broad enough to hint at the diversity of the material contained within the Sequences without giving the impression that the book is about anything and everything. 2.0 is nice and trendy and appeals to techies (who tend to gravitate towards such content). The general tone of the title is hopefully catchy and playful enough to appeal to a wide audience that would otherwise get intimidated by very formal, technical vocabulary.

Why "Rationality"? Because the most common word we use to refer to ourselves is "rationalist" and we refer to the totality of LW-specific memes as "rationality". However, including the word "rationalist" rather than "rationality" in the title might make people mentally associate the book with the sort of rationalism that opposes empiricism.

Why "Rationality 2.0"? Because many posts in the Sequences distinguish between Traditional Rationality and Bayesianism, and because we generally think of LW philosophy as improving on the traditional concept of rationality. It's bold enough to assert meaningful innovation, but not arrogant enough to not even allow the possibility of a 3.0.

Why "A Less Wrong Guide"? This one's probably the weakest part of the title. I chose it because it explicitly named the community in which the contents of the book originated, in a context that more or less rendered the meaning of "less wrong" relevant. The problematic aspect of it is that it carries the hidden implication that there have been several other, more wrong guides to "Beliefs, Biases, and Bayesianism". The word "guide" is there because the Sequences serve as didactic material to many.

Why "Beliefs, Biases and Bayesianism"? Because it has a nice alliterative ring to it, and because I think it captures the thematic core of Less Wrong. Besides, ennumerations are what you use to convey thematical breadth when you have a very limited word count; 3 listed items generally do the job. (You don't need 10 listed items.) It's ordered from the most common word to the least common. I had this in mind for the primary title, but I thought it might be better to relocate the phrase to the subtitle because "Bayesianism" doesn't immediately tell the average reader what the book might be about, which is the main function of a primary title.

Anyway, while I'm not completely assured that this is the best possible title for the Sequences out of all imaginable ones (although I think it is out of all the titles I've thought up so far), I can confidently say that this is how much you need to think about any given title for a work so important. Maybe even more. Every single word needs to be pondered carefully.

comment by pjeby · 2013-04-17T19:22:00.527Z · score: 1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

everything that suggests that the book is meant to drill the "correct" ideas into your head, rather than teach you how to develop good thinking practices on your own, is a no-no.

So how about:

Mysterious Answers To Mysterious Questions: Everything You Never Knew You Wanted To Know, About Things Most People Never Even Question

500 Mindbending Daily Essays on Truth, Beauty, Science, Reasoning, Intelligence, Bias, Optimization, Wisdom, and Ethics, And How You, Yes YOU, Can Become Smarter, Stronger-willed, And Maybe, Just Maybe Save The World

(Replacing the "500" with an appropriate number, of course.)

comment by orthonormal · 2013-04-16T02:12:31.938Z · score: 55 (55 votes) · LW · GW

Why not call the e-book "The Methods of Rationality"?

Or maybe something that is clearly not HPMoR, but clearly connected to it.

comment by Bugmaster · 2013-04-16T03:05:46.228Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I like "Methods of Rationality", it's short and to the point, and thus it makes sense for people who are unfamiliar with HPMoR.

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2013-04-16T04:21:45.594Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

This creates a risk of confusion if people hear about the the awesome HP fan fiction "Methods of Rationality", Google it, and come away disappointed when the first hit they run into isn't fan fiction at all. (Or vice versa.)

comment by TheOtherDave · 2013-04-16T05:33:59.981Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

What happens if at the top of the book it says "If you're looking for the awesome HP fan fiction "Methods of Rationality", go HERE"? (Ditto on HPMoR chapters?) Sounds like you might get some free cross-advertising that way, as well as a common brand across products.

Assuming, of course, that you want the common branding.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-04-16T18:42:23.053Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Another alternative: HPMOR could be renamed. The early chapters might have been explicit in the methods of rationality, cognitive biases, etc., but it has since then developed into a full-fledged story, and only tangentially related to rationality by way of certain characters. (Or maybe that's just me?)

comment by Decius · 2013-04-16T19:14:11.843Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Rebranding HPMOR would probably be too costly to be worth the book title.

comment by Decius · 2013-04-16T05:04:14.028Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Would "Rationality Methods" as part of the title overcome that disadvantage?

comment by wedrifid · 2013-04-16T23:14:23.902Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Why not call the e-book "The Methods of Rationality"?

I would leave off the 'The".

comment by evand · 2013-04-15T20:54:32.238Z · score: 43 (43 votes) · LW · GW

Why should the term "the sequences" even be in the title? What does it tell an uninformed reader? Does it have any useful meaning for anyone who hasn't already read them? (Why are they even called that, anyway? I mean... I guess it's just that it was a sequence of blog posts?) In what way is "The Sequences" or "[Some title]: the Sequences" better than "The Blog Posts" or "The Diary Entries"?

comment by Tenoke · 2013-04-15T21:42:30.761Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I like the sound of it more if it doesnt include 'sequences' or anything like that at all. For example instead of:

Becoming Less Wrong: The Sequences, 2006–2009

Just have it as Becoming Less Wrong or Becoming Less Wrong: Something Catchier.

comment by Stabilizer · 2013-04-17T01:30:11.297Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Becoming Less Wrong: The Art of Debugging Yourself

comment by somervta · 2013-04-16T00:31:38.075Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Becoming Less Wrong seems to be the best option so far.

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2013-04-17T00:27:15.849Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Just so it's near the top:

'The Methods of Rationality' ties in with HPMoR, and sounds amazing. To me.

comment by somervta · 2013-04-17T01:40:15.293Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

'Methods of Rationality' hadn't been proposed at the time. I agree, it's pretty good. Perhaps:

Title: The Methods of Rationality

Subtitle: How to Become Less Wrong/Becoming Less Wrong

The Title:Subtitle format seems to be popular.

comment by somervta · 2013-04-17T02:27:39.632Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

(However, as noted elsewhere, confusion with HPMOR may be a a bug rather than a feature )

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2013-04-17T15:02:10.979Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think the increased publicity of both would outweigh any bugs. Showing all HPMoR readers a book on how to be Harry? Showing all MoR:BLW readers a fiction about magic, using everything they've now learned!

comment by Rukifellth · 2013-04-20T20:47:54.656Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Becoming Less Wrong seems to be the best option so far.

Becoming Less Wrong: The Art of Debugging Yourself

Just have it as Becoming Less Wrong or Becoming Less Wrong: Something Catchier.

These won't work for the same reason "Winning" wouldn't be used.

They rely on the idea that people are actively hunting for ways to be more rational, but this just isn't true, which means that the "Wrong" isn't going to mean what you're hoping it'll mean. Odds are the people who pick this book up are in middle of a relationship, or something interesting happened at work, or they're thinking about how to do a school assignment. In other words, everything they know about life is telling them that they're doing alright, or rather, that they personally aren't doing wrongly. They'll decide "This book must be for somebody else, I've got all my things together", or possibly "Things are going bad right now, but I'm working to fix it, so I don't need a book telling me to change my attitude" and set it down. The point of the book was improve their decision making thinking, not fix their attitude, but the title didn't convey that properly, so misunderstandings were had.

"Wrong", like "Winning", has a completely different context outside the Less Wrong community. It's more closely associated with vitriol, bad guys and good guys, guilt, righteous resentment, arguments. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that those feelings are the real concept of "Wrongness", and it's only in this community that an exotic sort of quale became substituted.

comment by somervta · 2013-04-21T20:18:30.675Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And this is why market research on non-LWers is important. I don't think that popular usage of 'wrong' is so totally divorced from the usage here, although it may not be the only usage of the word. Ultimately, however, the best way to determine that is to ask some people.

comment by Gastogh · 2013-04-16T06:44:42.529Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Don't know if this is where it comes from, but I always thought of "sequences" as an elaboration on the idea of rationality as a martial art; the term has some significance in theatrical swordplay, and it could also be compared to the Japanese kata.

comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) · 2013-04-17T09:09:16.656Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If they're editing this so much it's a single cohesive work, that's a huge amount of work. If they're not, then the subtitle should be something like "Essays 2006-2009" or "Blog posts 2006-2009" to make it clear that it's not.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-04-16T05:20:22.789Z · score: -2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect the name Sequences came from Levels of Organization In General Intelligence, where "sequiturs", "belief consequents", and "thought sequences" are used to describe high level, serial ordered thoughts in human brains (like an internal spoken narrative or train of thought) and how those thought sequences are generated in support of goal-directed behavior.

comment by Slackson · 2013-04-16T09:27:24.116Z · score: 22 (30 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer's first post on Overcoming Bias was, as far as I know, The Martial Art of Rationality. I think that title works well to set the tone.

comment by Dr_Manhattan · 2013-04-16T21:01:36.142Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

One objection is that the information is a bit removed from actual instrumental rationality (of the sort CFAR is meant to provide). It's like reading about muscle function and reflexes instead of reading a karate book (which is still not learning karate). Some of the stuff is actionable, but my overall impression is that much work is needed to make it so by the reader for the bulk of it.

Dropping Martial will lower the claim to reasonable levels IMO.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-04-17T14:01:42.909Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

OTOH, "The Art of Rationality" just sounds... generic.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-04-16T19:39:17.185Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It would sound a little bit too crackpottish to me as the title of a book. (Not sure why.)

comment by Zaine · 2013-04-16T17:56:20.608Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

[pollid:453]

comment by FiftyTwo · 2013-04-15T21:47:00.830Z · score: 22 (24 votes) · LW · GW

[Meta]

I don't think asking people already on LW is a good technique for getting a title that will likely attract new people. We would likely reference terms that only make sense to those who have already read them (indeed a lot of the suggestions so far are rationalist shibboleths/applause lights/puns, which are fun for us but unhelpful). And we know al the evidence about how bad people in general are at simulating other very different minds unless they have particular expertise.

Very few people here likely have the relevant expertise in marketing. Have you considered asking an outside specialist? A good title and marketing can make an orders of magnitude difference in impact (with the obvious implications for spreading ideas better).

comment by kenzi · 2013-04-16T02:13:37.369Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW · GW

My guess is that asking LWers actually is a good way to generate title ideas, because we already know what the book is about; then Luke can go try a bunch of them on non-LWers and figure out which ones don't turn off everyone else.

comment by Rob Bensinger (RobbBB) · 2013-04-22T08:09:46.804Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think asking LessWrong is a great idea, because it makes us feel more involved and invested in the end product, and drums up interest in and anticipation for the project. The bad idea is taking LessWrongers' responses seriously.

comment by gjm · 2013-04-15T21:50:20.171Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW · GW

As everyone else says, take "Sequences" out of the title. ("The Sequences: 2006-2009" is a strong contender for Worst Book Title Ever unless you want no one other than existing LWers to read it, and anyone who has advised you otherwise should never again be asked for book-naming advice.)

"Rationality" is probably too cumbersome a word (possible exception: what if that were the whole title?); "thinking" or "thought" or "reason" might be OK.

"How to Win"? (I worry that that's dishonest; it's insufficiently well established so far that rationalists -- in the sense of people who think in the ways Eliezer advises -- do actually win in the real world.)

"Thinking: right and wrong"? (Riffing off Kahneman's title, of course. Might be mistaken for a political book -- indeed, it wouldn't be a bad title for a smug conservative/libertarian treatise.)

[EDITED to fix a typo.]

comment by diegocaleiro · 2013-04-15T23:55:47.285Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Thinking: Right and Wrong

is great.

comment by Rob Bensinger (RobbBB) · 2013-04-22T08:05:22.770Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

To my ear (eye), "Thinking: Right and Wrong" sounds like a pretentious high school logic textbook. The effect is more schoolmarmy than bold, confrontational, or crisp. Most of our target audience won't get the pun, and even many of those who do may be turned off by the suggestion that this Eliezer guy knows the One True Right Way to Think. I'm not saying that's a reasonable response; I'm saying it's an unreasonable enough one that the people inclined to have it are probably in more desperate need of the contents of this eBook than are the Kahneman fanboys and fangirls.

comment by oooo · 2013-04-20T10:52:43.157Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I like "Thinking, Right and Wrong".

Since it's an ebook, I suggest a set of hashtags or summary keywords that trigger the responses for people to look up themselves, such as "rationality, heuristics, biases, artificial intelligence."

Another suggestion: "Thinking 001"

comment by jmmcd · 2013-04-16T11:23:59.001Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I really like Thinking: Right and Wrong, but if there is a danger that Right be misconstrued as conservative, then how about a variant? This is my only suggestion and it doesn't sound as good but there must be better:

Thinking: Good and Bad

comment by gjm · 2013-04-16T14:54:49.403Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

"Thinking: Wrong and Less Wrong".

... but it's a bit of an in-joke. Or an in-not-exactly-joke.

comment by Manfred · 2013-04-15T20:53:10.938Z · score: 14 (16 votes) · LW · GW

Will it contain non-Eliezer content, e.g. Diseased Thinking, or Ugh Fields? Bikeshedding, I know, but those are some mighty fine posts.

Okay, anywho, thinking hat on.

Answering Confusing Questions
Making New Mistakes
Understanding the Void

(People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they do not understand must be the void. This is not the true void. It is bewilderment. - Miyamoto Musashi)

The Use of Maps
Rationality and Contentment in a Suboptimal World
Already in Reality
If Snow is White, That's Okay
The Hard Part is Actually Changing Your Mind

comment by RomeoStevens · 2013-04-15T21:20:54.255Z · score: 21 (23 votes) · LW · GW

Upvote for The Hard Part is Actually Changing your Mind.

comment by Leonhart · 2013-04-17T21:52:27.989Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Also upvoted, but The Hard Part is Actually Changing your Mind should be the subtitle.

The title, in large friendly letters, is The Easy Part.

comment by somervta · 2013-04-16T00:29:53.067Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Some of these would be better for chapter titles or something.

comment by lukeprog · 2013-04-15T22:51:30.209Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Will it contain non-Eliezer content, e.g. Diseased Thinking, or Ugh Fields?

No, this ebook is only Eliezer's content.

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2013-04-16T06:30:08.167Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"The Use of Maps" sounds kooky, IMO.

"The Hard Part is Actually Changing Your Mind"... could we just say "changing your mind"?

comment by Decius · 2013-04-15T20:19:57.699Z · score: 14 (18 votes) · LW · GW

Rationality: How to Become Less Wrong.

comment by Zaine · 2013-04-16T00:29:12.594Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

[pollid:446]

comment by Intrism · 2013-04-16T01:40:25.950Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

One of those syllables is unnecessary. Try Rationality: How to Be Less Wrong.

comment by Decius · 2013-04-16T03:28:36.314Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think the transitive form is important.

comment by someonewrongonthenet · 2013-04-16T05:34:09.775Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The Sequences: How to Become Less Wrong

I'm actually in favor of keeping "The Sequences" in the title. "Rationality" is unfortunately a vague term for most people, and might even turn off some. There are several routes other than "catchy" - for ascetic purposes it's okay to be a little esoteric. The Sequences sounds like part of something mysterious and important. Plus it fits nicely with Eliezer Yudkowski's Bayesian Conspiracy motif.

comment by gryffinp · 2013-04-16T05:56:54.065Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I really dislike "The Sequences: How to become Less Wrong." The problem I have with it is that I think it misrepresents what one of titular sequences actually is. The impression I receive is that this book offers some step by step instructions, known as the Mysterious and Capitalized "Sequences" that will improve your life and make you a better person.

...ok so maybe it's not that far off but the point I'm trying to make here is: A book that advertises itself that way doesn't sound legitimate. It gives me an impression of belonging to the "self-help book" category, which has a fairly bad reputation. If I saw a book with that title in a book store, I'd probably smirk at it and move on. Whereas I think that beginning the title with "Rationality" gives it a more scientific air. And I ah e to imagine that the idea here is that the cover of the book should reflect the contents as usefully as possible.

comment by Decius · 2013-04-16T19:28:12.964Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The Bayesian Conspiracy

The Bayesian Conspiracy: How to Become Less Wrong

Or some other suggested title with The Bayesian Conspiracy added/substituted?

comment by Kawoomba · 2013-04-16T19:47:29.525Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The Sequence-Less Conspiracy: How to Become Bayesian-Wrong?

We need to enable the old steam-powered Permutation-Machine!

comment by Decius · 2013-04-16T20:13:47.306Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's over by the hand-cranked Von Neumann Machine.

comment by Kawoomba · 2013-04-16T20:21:24.110Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, besides the Lego Turing Machine. A perfect replica ... apart from the whole infinite tape thing, that's gotta be a Lego marketing gimmick. I'd say they are apparently easy to build, but then again, the A-Team can build anything.

comment by Jay_Schweikert · 2013-04-15T20:46:00.872Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Is it helpful for the phrase "The Sequences" to appear in the title? My sense is that anyone who's already familiar enough with the Sequences to know what it means isn't going to need that phrase to be interested in the book, and that the phrase doesn't add much value for someone who's never heard of the Sequences before. It's sort of a weird word that doesn't immediately suggest anything about rationality.

The only people for whom it would add value would be those who (1) have at least sort of heard of the Sequences and are somewhat interested; (2) need to know that this ebook is about the Sequences to decide to read it; and (3) wouldn't understand that this was the Sequences ebook without that word in the title. I doubt that's a very large class, so my initial sense is that it's not necessary in the actual title. But then, that's just what occurred to me in the last 10 minutes, and the people who have thought about this more carefully may well have other reasons.

comment by lukeprog · 2013-05-05T23:49:25.871Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Update. My favorites from this page are:

  • The Hard Part is Actually Changing Your Mind
  • From Artificial Intelligence to Zombies: Thinking Clearly about Truth, Value, and Winning
  • Modern Rationality: Thinking Clearly about Truth, Value, and Winning
  • The Martial Art of Rationality
  • The Methods of Rationality
  • The Art and Science of Rationality

Eliezer's two favorites of those six were "The Hard Part is Actually Changing Your Mind" and "The Art and Science of Rationality."

comment by ChrisHallquist · 2013-05-21T18:55:04.043Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Having just seen this now, I like "From Artificial Intelligence to Zombies: Thinking Clearly about Truth, Value, and Winning" because it conveys just how frickin' broad The Sequences are. "The Hard Part is Actually Changing Your Mind" is good if you'd rather be catchy and give a sense of one key take-away rather than try to give a sense of the full scope of the sequences.

comment by selylindi · 2014-12-28T02:13:37.931Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Think To Win: The Hard Part is Actually Changing Your Mind

(It's even catchier, and actively phrased, and gives a motivation for why we should bother with the hard part.)

comment by [deleted] · 2015-01-01T05:04:21.676Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"The Hard Part is Actually Changing Your Mind" is the absolute worst from that list. It tells someone absolutely nothing -- hard part of what? Changing your mind because of what? It's not even clear what the topic of the book would be. Could be a political memior, for all I know.

I like a variant on Dahlen's suggestion: Methods of Rationality: A Less Wrong Guide to Beliefs, Biases and Bayesianism.

comment by Kindly · 2015-01-01T06:49:23.995Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"... to Beliefs, Biases, and Bayes" is shorter and snappier.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-01-01T09:43:02.787Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Reverend Bayes isn't someone to be idolized, because we're not looking for idols. The emphasis should be on Bayesianism, I think.

comment by Halfwit · 2013-04-16T03:18:55.134Z · score: 12 (18 votes) · LW · GW

Untangling the Knot: A Users Guide to the Human Mind

Your Brain, an Owner's Manual

Less than One, Greater than Zero: The Sequences, 2006–2009

Approximating Omega (badly, of course)

Sharpening the Mace

Uncountable Infinite Shades of Grey (my apologies)

Stop Tripping Yourself: A Users Guide to the Human Mind

Marshaling the Mind: An Introduction to the Informed Art of Rationality

Motes and Meaning: The Less Wrong Archives

Of Motes and Meaning

Theory, in Practice

Thinking, in Practice

Thinking in Circles:Avoiding the Known Bugs in Human Reasoning.

comment by Rukifellth · 2013-04-16T04:02:38.181Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Many of these are good

comment by [deleted] · 2013-04-16T15:32:19.716Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I like the first two especially.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-04-16T23:12:02.765Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I like the first two especially.

I like them as titles... for a somewhat different book focussed more on actual human psychology.

comment by bbleeker · 2013-04-17T11:26:35.348Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There already is a book called The Owner's Manual for the Brain.
EDIT: fixed typo.

comment by roystgnr · 2013-04-16T16:31:57.905Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know. Bayesian updating isn't human-mind-specific and isn't the way the human mind naturally works; the first two titles especially seem to undercut that.

comment by Mestroyer · 2013-04-17T09:35:00.206Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The second one is already a book.

comment by Bugmaster · 2013-04-16T03:05:05.845Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW · GW

"Becoming Less Wrong" would normally be a good title, but unfortunately, there already exists a community of people who call themselves "Less Wrong". This changes the meaning of the title from "Acquiring good critical thinking skills" to "One of us... One of us...". Thus, I'd recommend against it.

comment by shminux · 2013-04-15T23:07:46.944Z · score: 11 (17 votes) · LW · GW

From Zombies to Artificial Intelligence: Thinking Clearly About Truth, Morality and Winning in This And Other Worlds.

comment by Alex_Altair · 2013-04-16T02:27:38.317Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Slight rework; From AI to Zombies: Thinking Clearly About Truth, Morality and Winning in This And Other Worlds.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-04-16T02:53:43.639Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Even slighter rework: From AI to Zombies: Thinking Clearly about Truth, Morality, and Winning in This and Other Worlds.

I have a strong preference for the serial comma.

comment by Rob Bensinger (RobbBB) · 2015-03-03T07:29:12.158Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You also win!

comment by shminux · 2013-04-16T04:46:54.146Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That was my first thought, and it rolls off the tongue better, but the direction is wrong.

comment by evand · 2013-04-16T12:53:21.898Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Huh? A to Z is clearly the right direction.

comment by shminux · 2013-04-16T16:42:23.553Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Alphabetically, not didactically.

comment by pinyaka · 2013-04-19T16:00:04.529Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

From Zombies to Artificial Intelligence: Questioning what you think you already know.

comment by Raemon · 2013-04-17T14:08:09.592Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Something in this vein is probably best. It's attention grabbing.

comment by Rob Bensinger (RobbBB) · 2015-03-03T07:29:00.632Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You win!

comment by shminux · 2015-03-03T16:04:59.052Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks. I'm happy CFAR (?) decided to build on my suggestion. My hope is to meet the Berkeley gang some day in person.

comment by ESRogs · 2013-04-19T18:19:50.548Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think a title (like this one) that explicitly includes some of the topics covered is a very good idea. It hints at the fact that there are many short essays, which sounds a lot more inviting than if it were one monolithic work.

Also, this kind of title conjures up more concrete images in the potential reader's mind and seems more likely to generate interest than a more generic title. You're only going to read "The Methods of Rationality" if you're already interested in that topic. "Zombies to AI" (or "AI to Zombies") just sounds fun!

comment by [deleted] · 2013-04-16T18:37:51.926Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

From Zombies to Artificial Intelligence:

The reverse alphabetical order is deliberate?

comment by shminux · 2013-04-16T18:43:14.720Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, the sequences sort of build up to AI... And the acronym AI is not self-evident to the general public... Anyway, "From AI to Zombies" sounds much better, so who cares.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-04-20T17:44:16.860Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

“From [word starting with A] to [word starting with Z]” is so cliché-y; but I'm not entirely sure whether that's a bad thing in this case.

comment by Jayson_Virissimo · 2013-04-16T02:29:22.412Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

How to Be Less Wrong

comment by Rob Bensinger (RobbBB) · 2013-04-22T08:29:30.313Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I like this one. Also Your Guide to Becoming Less Wrong feels nice and friendly and accessible.

If anything, I think "How to Be Less Wrong" is too good of a title for this. "The Methods of Rationality" isn't an inherently very good title, its only real advantage being that it draws a lot more HPMoR people into the fold. Those people will be relatively nerdy and Internet-friendly and are familiar with (and fond of) a lot of Eliezer's idiosyncrasies and jargon, so it makes sense to have the extant Sequences (qua 'The Methods of Rationality') be the version of the book we want them to get.

But, really, a giant pack of EY posts isn't a very good introduction for the general public, or even for the more intelligent and capable portion of the general public, to rationality. There's enough content within LessWrong to make a truly superb book along those lines, with a bit of minor supplementation and a lot of editing and reorganizing. And if we published such a book (both as a book book and as an e-book), the more simple and accessible title 'How to Be Less Wrong' (or something along those lines) would sell better, while leading a lot of people toward the lesswrong.com domain. (And since these people would be less Internet-happy and Yudkowsky-happy than the HPMoR crowd, this brand name continuity would be a lot more integral to getting them to visit the site and join the LW community and keep progressing in their personal cultivation.)

So I think those two titles are both good, and should be attached to independent projects:

  1. The Methods of Rationality is a more exhaustive (but much less polished and lay-accessible) dump of existing writings, targeted in large part at Internety people just outside our horizon (most obviously, HPMoR folks).

  2. How to Be Less Wrong is a much shorter, jargon-freer, more polished book, this time for general consumption. The kind of thing I'd mass-purchase to give to every non-rationalist I know and recruit them in one fell swoop to the Bayesian Conspiracy.

A third project might be a sequel to HLW that goes into the more advanced and challenging topics that are good for high-level rationality, but not really needed for greatly improving the average smart person's effectiveness. (Most of the quantum stuff is probably too high-level even for the latter project.)

The problem with the current Sequences as an enchiridion or bible for aspiring rationalists is that it's too uneven; it freely appeals to very advanced jargon and prerequisites in the course of explaining incredibly simple concepts that, if it weren't for the unnecessary reliance on quantumy and philosophytastic examples, could be absorbed and put to good use by a random person on the street. Since this is a very large project that would take a lot of work and time, and the end product would probably differ a lot from the current Sequences, it makes sense to just publish what we have now with a mediocre but effective title (MoR), then start thinking about cannibalizing and enhancing the best content for much more targeted rationality initiatives.

comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) · 2013-04-20T09:28:44.649Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Feels like lots of the titles people suggest here are for some sort of quirky paperback self-help bestseller. You want to be one of those weighty, widely discussed New York Times bestsellers. These seem to me like the kind of titles you want to emulate:

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow
  • Brainstorms
  • Brainchildren
  • How the Mind Works
  • The Emperor's New Mind
  • Metamagical Themas
  • Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Titles that others have used in the past that I don't recommend:

  • How to Write, Think and Speak Correctly :)
comment by TsviBT · 2013-04-16T03:57:58.426Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Modern Rationality: Dissolving Mysteries{, Mysticism,} and Mistakes

Human Rationality: How to Think Clearly and Get What You Want

comment by Jacobian · 2014-12-19T17:25:56.092Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I second some people's claim that "rationality" can be a double-edged sword in the title, even people who might be interested in the book may have negative connotations. It would fit better in the subtitle, something like:

Think Like Reality: The Art of Being Rational

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-04-16T09:21:06.799Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

There is disagreement about using the word "Sequences". I think it would be nice to remove it from the book's official title, but to keep it with small letters at the bottom of the cover. You know, something mysterious, something for insiders.

Some of the suggested names are great and could be successful (they should be tested on non-LW readers), but sometimes they sound too generic. I mean, anyone could (and some already did) write a book about "Thinking" or "Rationality" or "Mistakes" etc. There is nothing LW-specific about that.

But calling the ebook, for example, "The Craft of Rationality", and having the mysterious "The Sequences, 2006-2009" at the bottom of the page would allow us to refer this book to others as "The Sequences" book, which would make it different from dozens of other rationality-related books.

comment by somervta · 2013-04-17T02:21:05.436Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Some of the suggested names are great and could be successful (they should be tested on non-LW readers), but sometimes they sound too generic.

Exactly - I just assumed Luke at al would do market research, but please remember that this site is not necessarily representative of who you want the title to influence (LWers will probably be buying the book, but I doubt many will do so on the basis of the title.)

comment by elharo · 2014-12-10T13:10:10.977Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Drop the dates in the title. They just make the book seem old and outdated.

comment by Leonhart · 2013-04-17T22:11:58.720Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

The Elements of Rationality.

comment by Rukifellth · 2013-04-16T01:56:28.948Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Having only read a few of The Sequences, I may not be the best suited, though I may have the perk of having an immersion level similar to those who also have not read The Sequences, and thus be able to come up with a title that more closely appeals to that mindset. Since you're going to be competing with self help gurus in a genre about better living through better thinking, how about "The Key to Success: It's not just Confidence". I wouldn't discard making reference to some mathematical concept in the title. A contrast like that is aesthetically pleasing in some ways, and in other ways it can be intriguing enough for people to try reading the summaries, like "Bayesian Rationality: Better Living Through Better Thinking". From there, you could make reference to some amazing things like the German Tank Problem, and hammer home the implications that the reader could also do amazing things. Failing that, here's some swings in the dark.

Thinking about Thinking about Thinking

The [Theory and Practice of] Not Making Mistakes

[Instinct]: A Voluntary Action

Mind over Matter, Mind over Mind

Legend: [Word or Phrase] could be {Alternative Word or Phrase, Alternative Word or Phrase, ...}

[Theory and Practice of] could be {Art of, Skillset for, Tools for, Key to, Path of}

[Instinct] could be {Motivation, Gut Feeling,}

comment by pinyaka · 2013-04-19T15:54:09.747Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think "Mind over mind" stands well on its own.

comment by nonplussed · 2013-04-15T21:36:24.313Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I like something with 'rationality' and 'less wrong' in it. I don't think it's helpful to have 'the sequences' in the title if an aim to to have non less-wrongers pick it up.

What are the odds of a physical book? Would make a great gift, and gifting an ebook still seems weird. I'm still undecided about whether I like my books made out of dead trees or not.

comment by ThrustVectoring · 2013-04-16T13:29:47.204Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I disagree with including the word 'rationality'. It has pretty poisoned connotations for much the same reasons as 'singularity' does. Spock is basically the lay stereotype for rationality, and I don't think we want to hit that particular button.

As far as physical books go, it's fairly straightforward to turn ebooks into dead tree books. Basically the hardest part is getting a good cover for it. Making a dead-tree mass-produced version is only really a good idea if it makes economic sense to distribute. I think the minimum economically viable offer is small enough that it can be done, but that's more special-ordered books rather than mass-market.

comment by latanius · 2013-04-16T01:11:32.175Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Also, who is the target audience and what are the plans for reaching it? I don't think there are many people who are willing to invest time AND money into a book like this while still not having read the sequences (available freely on the web, and also in all kinds of e-book formats).

For the two use cases I imagine at the moment:

  • giving it as a gift as an introduction to rationalist stuff feels better with a physical book indeed. Yes, there is a difference between buying an e-book for yourself and downloading the same stuff for free, especially in terms of motivation to actually read it, but on the receiving end e-books still might feel like being sent long pdf-s with a label "you should definitely read this", in addition to the e-book gifting weirdness (I might be wrong, I never did such a thing before).

  • buying it for yourself, to be able to put it on your bookshelf. Obviously, also much harder to do with an e-book.

(I usually prefer e-books to dead-tree versions, but then I had nothing against reading the Sequences on the web either.)

comment by [deleted] · 2013-04-16T01:21:03.323Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Reading them on the web is difficult because of organizational issues. The medium can be an issue too (I generally avoid reading long texts on my computer because of eye issues; I buy hard copies/Kindle editions or print instead).

More information on the target audience would be good, though.

comment by Malo (malo) · 2013-04-16T07:45:29.879Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

No physical book planned. It would be a very expensive endeavour. The PDF version is close to 2500 pages ;)

comment by Zaine · 2013-04-16T07:59:45.856Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Kickstarter?

comment by DanArmak · 2013-04-16T16:09:40.773Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I think there are vanity presses that will print on-demand as people order, without a large (or any) upfront payment. From there it's just a matter of whether people want the books enough to pay the high price.

For example, there's lulu.com. (This is not a recommendation as I have no experience publishing through them; it's just the first name that came to mind.) You can upload a PDF and cover images, choose paper size / type, binding, etc. and publish. They also offer ISBNs and publishing through Amazon.

Their pricing calculator is here. I think you can set any price you want for the book, as long as it's above the manfacturing cost (and there'll be shipping charges for customers).

Some examples I ran up:

2500 pages in 4 volumes means 625 pages/volume. (Lulu.com specifies a maximum of 740 pages per book.) I don't know the page size which comes to 2500 pages, though.

  • 625 pages,paperback binding, A5 page size: $18.38 ($73.52 for full set)
  • Ditto, A4 size (I doubt the PDF uses such large pages though): $23.10 ($92.4 for full set)
  • Hardcover, US trade size (6" x 9"): $27.35 ($109.4 for full set). May be worthwhile since the volumes are large that paperback might fall apart after a few years.
  • "Publisher grade" paper, which is of lower quality, paperback, "digest" size (5.5" x 8.5"): $12.08 ($48.32 for full set)
  • Volume discount is relatively low. 10 cop/ries gives no discount. 100 copies discounts the per-copy cost from $18.38 to $16.54. 300 copies, $14.70 ($58.8 for full set). So group buying will help but not by much.

Personally I would be willing to pay between 75 and 110 $ to buy a nice hardcover four-volume set, as a gift for someone who doesn't like ebooks.

comment by VCavallo · 2013-04-16T16:25:44.640Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I would pay one of these prices for my own set. I'm a little unsatisfied with note-taking and highlighting on ebooks and would love a physical copy to annotate and wear out.

comment by pjeby · 2013-04-17T20:25:40.885Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think there are vanity presses that will print on-demand as people order, without a large (or any) upfront payment.

Including Amazon, by way of Ingram. I would actually suggest making this available as a Kindle book (or books) as well, although in that event I would recommend setting the ebook price close to the print price as a quality/value signal. The money can benefit MIRI or CFAR, and as long as the print+ebook offered via Amazon is a different edition than the one offered free, there should probably not be any problem with Amazon's pricing rule oddities.

comment by Malo (malo) · 2013-04-18T20:50:40.654Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The plan is to create a PDF, .epub, and .mobi version—just like the Facing the Intelligence Explosion eBook—and make it available on our site, as well as through Amazon and iBooks.

As for pricing we want it to be accessible, so it will either be free or very inexpensive.

comment by pjeby · 2013-04-19T01:38:56.962Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

it will either be free or very inexpensive.

Amazon (rather wisely IMO) has minimum pricing requirements for ebooks, though at the moment that'd be $2.99 for books of this size.

However, from a signaling perspective it's better to have a pricey book that a few people buy and the rest steal, than to have a book that looks too cheap to be of actual value. People also are less likely to read a cheaper book in the first place (even if they bought it) or to apply the ideas therein, since if the author/publisher didn't think it was that valuable, why should they?

comment by [deleted] · 2013-04-19T02:47:31.596Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Do you plan on enforcing copyright on the extant ebook versions of the sequences?

comment by Malo (malo) · 2013-04-18T20:56:17.377Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Using a print on demand (POD) service is an interesting idea. The print quality of POD is lower then offset printing, so I'd be concerned that people might be disappointed in the quality, especially if they payed close to $100 for the full set.

We'll ponder this, but no promises . . .

comment by Decius · 2013-04-16T19:18:10.273Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Note that all of those costs are plus shipping and plus whatever cut (if any) the author gets. Fortunately I don't think the objective here is to make money, just to disseminate the book.

comment by Tenoke · 2013-04-16T10:25:21.698Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Becoming Less Wrong: Accurate Maps and Winning strategies

or something else that explores the dichotomy between epistemic and instrumental rationality might be a good idea. After all the distinction is quite important (arguably one of the first things that people should learn about rationality as a whole) and largely unnoticed by the general population. In fact if the title is something like Rationality: Accurate Maps and Winning strategies (or equivalent), the first lesson (that rationality is both about having accurate maps and about winning) can be learned from the title (especially perhaps if there is a brief explanation of the title in the preface).

comment by [deleted] · 2013-04-16T00:40:41.325Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If 'Sequences' is in the title at all it should probably be of the form "Sequences on . . ." rather than just "The Sequences".

Otherwise:

  • Bringing Thinking Forward
  • Rationality in Prominence
  • {Sequences} {On} Resolving Confusion
  • {Applied/Practical} Rationality
  • Applied Epistemology
  • {Actually/Really} Changing Your Mind
  • Incremental {Correctness/Reason}
  • Relinquishing {Falsehood/Beliefs}
  • Celebrating {Reason/Correction}
  • Taking No Side {At All}
  • On No Side {At All}
  • Equable Reason
  • Word and Referent
  • Living in the Real

I also like (from other posts):

  • The Art and Science of Rationality (The Art and Science of Reasoning)
  • Making New Mistakes
  • The Hard Part is Actually Changing Your Mind
  • Less Than One, Greater Than Zero: A Beginner's Guide to Thinking
  • Theory, In Practice

And I agree with asking Eliezer to try coming up with something, given that he seems to have a knack for it.

comment by Gvaerg · 2013-07-17T06:27:24.759Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What's the current progress on this?

comment by Decius · 2013-05-02T05:03:48.674Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Any word on a final conclusion?

comment by [deleted] · 2013-04-16T18:35:37.523Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The Craft of Rationality: The Less Wrong Sequences, 2006–2009

The Art of Rationality: The Less Wrong Sequences, 2006–2009

Why not “The Art and Craft of”? (Too cliché-y?)

(ETA: If I had to pick only one of “craft” or “art” I'd pick the latter -- it helps counteract the Vulcanian connotations of “rationality” IMO.)

comment by Leonhart · 2013-04-16T12:37:51.436Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I would personally prefer The Way, but it's probably too vague.

Magic Bucket Level, There is a Spoon and The Actual Park all sound too much like band names.

How about The First Virtue is Curiosity?

comment by palladias · 2013-04-16T19:08:14.361Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't like these very much as titles, but I strongly endorse them as band names (perhaps in the spirit of Wizard Rock)

comment by Leonhart · 2013-04-17T22:21:49.940Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Here's some more (some of which I actually like):

  • What Do I Think I Know?
  • What Do You Expect?
  • Some Useful Ideas
  • Entangled With the World
  • Dragons Versus Zebras
  • Living Under Uncertainty
  • I Want to Become Stronger
  • Real Explanations
  • Only Compress
  • How, Oh How?
  • More is Possible
  • The Cognonomicon
  • How I Built Goddess and What She Did When I Let Her Out of the Box

(Edited to add bullets, I will never understand how carriage returns work on this site)

comment by bbleeker · 2013-04-18T08:18:40.435Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I will never understand how carriage returns work on this site

Type 2 spaces before the carriage return.

comment by Morendil · 2013-04-16T06:13:02.573Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The Space of Possible Minds

comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) · 2013-04-20T10:32:30.928Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I like this. It sounds ambitious and intriguing, and touches on many of the themes in the Sequences. Surprised to see it so downvoted.

comment by OrphanWilde · 2013-04-16T01:50:01.097Z · score: 1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Hmmm...

Methods of Mastery

Reflections on Reason and Rationality

Less alliteratively...

Getting it Right on the Forty Second Try

comment by AlexSchell · 2013-04-15T23:59:54.171Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The Science and Art of Rationality

The Art and Science of Rationality

comment by Eneasz · 2013-04-15T20:34:47.496Z · score: 1 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Why not something catchy? The sequences often had extremely catchy titles (eg "An Alien God"). "Becoming Less Wrong" is pretty good, but it doesn't have enough pizzazz. How'sabout something like:

  • "If you're reading this, Phase One of my master plan is already complete" (yes, stolen from a T-shirt, but rather appropriate) or
  • "The world is mad, you don't have to be"

or some variety of the 'rationality is applied winning' meme:

  • "On Winning"
  • "Winning - Theory and Practice"

Maybe a take on defeating Azathoth?

  • "Kill a God - Become an Agent"
  • "Wresting Control of Yourself from Evolution's Grasp"

At any rate, the Memetic Hazard sign should be somewhere on the cover. :)

comment by metatroll · 2013-04-16T03:07:31.288Z · score: 9 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Azathoth Shrugged

comment by Decius · 2013-04-16T05:10:09.805Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Referencing Rand would bring along a lot of baggage from Objectivists as well as Objectivist Haters.

comment by Rukifellth · 2013-04-16T01:42:29.621Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The word "Winning" has its association with specific situations and not with the LW context in the mind of a prospective reader, who would wonder why they ought to care about winning competitions and fights. The second and last one are both pretty good though.

comment by pinyaka · 2013-04-19T17:04:14.200Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The word "Winning" has its association with specific situations and not with the LW context in the mind of a prospective reader

I actually found LW while googling for Charlie Sheen jokes.

comment by Jay_Schweikert · 2013-04-15T20:52:11.152Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I like the general point about something catchy with pizzazz. "Being Less Wrong" is my favorite so far, but it could probably be improved on. "Winning: Theory and Practice" is also pretty good, though I wonder whether there's too much of an association between "winning" and Charlie Sheen. Maybe that's a silly concern, but we wouldn't want anyone to think this was just a joking reference to that.

comment by gilch · 2014-12-18T08:16:16.455Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Beisutsukai
The Way of Bayes
Getting What You Want
Future Thought
Man's Final Invention
Intelligence: Evolved, Explained, Engineered
Friendly AI: Engineering God
Thinking is a Skill
The Science of Wisdom
The Art of Reason
Metapsyche
The Case for Reason
I Will Teach You to be Smart
Reason for 21st Century Humans
The Dawn Age

comment by Rukifellth · 2013-04-20T20:54:02.917Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If I can just throw another one out there, "Better Living Through Clever Thinking"?

comment by DaFranker · 2013-04-19T16:29:49.306Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How do you know what you know?

Stop, question, think!

comment by Error · 2013-04-19T12:13:03.108Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Is there any chance there will be a corresponding print book -- perhaps if the ebook does well? I still greatly prefer reading on dead tree.

comment by TsviBT · 2013-04-16T20:11:29.900Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Predictably Rational: Taking Hold of the Forces that Shape Our Decisions

comment by Manfred · 2013-04-17T09:54:26.315Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Too Arielyly.

comment by Zaine · 2013-04-15T22:22:21.432Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Update: The Science of Reason
[pollid:440]

You Can't Think: Debugging Your Brain
[pollid:441]

Debugging Your Brain
[pollid:448]

Debug Your Brain [pollid:450]

Debug Your Mind [pollid:451]

Brain Dynamics - Fix Your Mind
[pollid:442]

How to Think: A Primer
[pollid:443]

How to Think: A [Beginner's/Novice's] Primer
[pollid:444]

comment by AspiringRationalist · 2013-04-16T00:39:59.190Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

How about just Debugging Your Brain? It sounds catchier than the longer version.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-04-16T02:51:18.353Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

How about Debugging Your Mind? This isn't a book about biochemistry.

comment by Zaine · 2013-04-16T06:03:32.537Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I liked the alliteration of bug and brain, though Mind flows nicely. Added - actually, the gerund form seems too passive. See above.

comment by roystgnr · 2013-04-16T16:35:27.549Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Inspired by two of yours:

"Updating, Your Brain"?

(comma intentional - although the title is intended to make sense with or without it)

comment by boredstudent · 2013-04-16T05:31:03.570Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

A Thinker's Book on Rationality: How to Be Less Wrong

Let's Talk about Rationality: Topics that Will Make You Less Wrong

Thinking the Right Way: How to Be Less Wrong

Being Rational: How to Think about and Win at Life

Through Rational Lens: Treatise of a Career Rationalist

Calling it the Sequences would only make Less Wrong laughable and support those who argue the people here are out of touch with reality. Do not call it the Sequences.

comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) · 2013-04-20T10:30:53.872Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I Can Make You Less Wrong In Thirty Days Or Less

comment by Decius · 2013-04-16T05:09:04.095Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Why You Are Wrong and What You Can Do About It.

You Are Wrong and You Can Change That

Who Is Least Wrong?

I think that a big fraction of the audience that the title can change from 'pass' to 'read' will respond with interest to a challenge, so telling them that they are wrong will get them to take second look.

Also, consider using the name of one of the sequences: Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions, The Map and the Territory, and Highly Advanced Epistemology 101 for Beginners are all catchy and intriguing, while indicating or alluding to the subject.

comment by magfrump · 2013-04-17T06:38:21.252Z · score: -3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Layperson's Epistemological Sciences Survey Which is Reasonably Optimal as a Normative Guide.

comment by externalmonologue · 2013-04-18T21:18:58.312Z · score: -4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

In the beginning there was Yudkowsky: The Less Wrong Sequences, 2006-2009.

comment by roland · 2013-04-16T19:03:11.849Z · score: -4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Rationality: The Sequences, 2006–2009

The Yudkowsky Sequences on Rationality, 2006-2009 (inspired by the Feynman lectures on Physics)

comment by [deleted] · 2013-04-16T01:51:20.928Z · score: -4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

"Remedial Rationality"

Most of what we learn here is stuff everyone should really know, but somehow they didn't teach us in kindergarten.

Also, framing it as "recovering towards the norm" is less likely to make people defensive.

comment by Zaine · 2013-04-16T06:12:17.917Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

It's important to bring people in on a secret instead of making them feel deficient.

comment by Locaha · 2013-04-17T07:39:11.184Z · score: -5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Well, there's a nice site dedicated to Elon Musk, http://shitelonsays.com/

You can start from there. :-)