About Less Wrong
Interested in improving your reasoning and decision-making skills? Then you've come to the right place. We’re an online community dedicated to the study of human rationality, the general field of improving our decisions. LessWrong pulls together a variety of material from mathematics, economics, cognitive science, and other disciplines which can all be relevant when considering how we think. We’re also interested in technology, the long-term future of humanity, and philosophy.
LessWrong dates back to 2006 when Eliezer Yudkowsky starting writing about rationality on economist Robin Hanson's blog Overcoming Bias. In February 2009, those posts were used as the seed material for Less Wrong. Since 2006 we have collected many friends.
The best introduction to the ideas on this website is "The Sequences", a collection of posts that introduce cognitive science, philosophy, and mathematics. An abridged and edited epub version called Rationality: From AI to Zombies is also available for download. Eliezer is also well known for writing Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (HPMOR), one of the world’s most popular Harry Potter fanfictions.
The Less Wrong Community
Less Wrong makes heavy use of previously introduced topics for leverage, so you may need to consult the Concepts and Jargon pages on the Less Wrong Wiki. You can also do keyword searches of past posts using the search tool near the top right corner of every page.
The Discussion board on LessWrong is active, and includes links to other posts around the internet that we find interesting, as well as user-submitted essays on varying topics. Main has been closed since mid-2016, and was reserved for posts that were elevated from the discussion forum for their quality. There are still many posts there of high quality but it no longer updates.
If you are new here we like to encourage you to post in the latest welcome thread to introduce yourself and start a conversation, more instructions are in that thread.
You can find a map of our physical meetups on the homepage. If you are in a city with a meetup, it’s a great experience and we love new participants!
If you want to put yourself on the map, we would be delighted if you would join us!
If you need a place to commit to studying alongside others - our Study hall is a place to visit.
We can’t always keep track of all the topics we are interested in. Some of the less mainstream ideas that we entertain include: Cryonics, Transhumanism, Universal Basic Income, Defeating Death, X-risk.
Where do I begin?
- Like thinking about politics? Try A Fable of Science and Politics.
- Enjoy thought experiments? Here's a good one about the nature of intention.
- Want to teach yourself something? We've compiled a list of the best textbooks on every subject. Try spaced repetition for helping you remember what you read (or don't).
- Not sure if rational thinking has practical applications? Read Less Wrong on driving or buying a house.
- Want to improve your effectiveness? Humans are not automatically strategic, so learning to think more strategically can give you a leg up.
- Looking for greater purpose or meaning in life? Read a Less Wrong user's case for effective altruism.
- Are you a busy intellectual? Consider taking time to introspect on whether you're working towards something worth achieving, and how you could operate more effectively.
- Want to make sure your study of biases doesn't backfire? Read how knowing about biases can hurt people.
And some slightly meatier stuff:
- Bayes' Theorem Illustrated
- Hindsight Devalues Science
- How an Algorithm Feels from the Inside
- Make Your Training Useful
- Scholarship: How to Do It Efficiently
- Attention Control Is Critical for Changing/Increasing/Altering Motivation
- That Alien Message
- Decision Theories: A Semi-Formal Analysis parts 0, 1, 2, and 3
The best part about LessWrong is that although we don’t always agree, we find it easy to maintain our charitable and friendly attitude to all. We hope you will join us for some interesting discussions and enjoy your stay!