Harry Potter and the methods of rationality

Date added: 2021-09-27. How strongly I recommend it: 10/10
Percent read: 100%

Petunia married a professor, and Harry grew up reading science and science fiction.

My favorite fiction book of all time. I read all 2000 pages in 3 days, and every one of my friends who's read it (currently 4) has loved it.

Joy On Demand

Date added: 2022-08-08. How strongly I recommend it: 10/10
Percent read: 35%

Google engineer explains meditation, the best intro to meditation for engineers, probably for everyone.

Imagine not having heard of physical exercise before, someone tells you there is an activity that generally makes you healthier, stronger, more attractive, etc. You might not believe them, the analogy: meditation is like physical exercise for the mind.

The mind illuminated provides a nice textbook for details.

Unsong

Date added: 2022-04-30. How strongly I recommend it: 10/10
Percent read: 100%

Probably my second favorite book after hpmor, We should all try and be like the comet king.

If you want an EPUB see here

Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds

Date added: 2021-11-01. How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
Percent read: 100%

However bad things currently are, they were probably worse for Goggins and look at him now. Very inspiring

The Darkness That Comes Before

Date added: 2022-05-31. How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
Percent read: 100%

Was recommended by Scott Alexander. The Dûnyain are amazing, I like their theology too: The mastery of all thought and circumstance to attain free will, most people are slaves to the darkness that comes before, the hidden cause that precedes the effect.

Inadequate Equilibria

Date added: 2022-05-17. How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
Percent read: 100%

When should you think that you may be able to do something unusually well? When does "someone else would have done it" apply and not apply?

Inadequacy analysis can answer these questions, this is a must-read, under-confidence can ruin lives and cause you to miss out on huge opportunities! Not all markets are efficient!

The Millionaire Fastlane

Date added: 2021-12-21. How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
Percent read: 100%

The best finance book. Learn why a job is just as risky (if not more) then starting a business.

It also has some of the best self-help stuff I've ever read. This book is fantastic

Replacing Guilt

Date added: 2022-07-09. How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
Percent read: 100%

Great book on guilt free motivation by a very productive person. Everyone who is primarily guilt motivated should read this, and set themselves on a path to higher productivity, lower guilt motivation.

How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

Date added: 2021-10-21. How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
Percent read: 50%

This is the best book explaining how math is useful in the "real world", it also covers many statistical and rationality failures from bad math.

How to Live

Date added: 2021-12-09. How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
Percent read: 100%

27 Conflicting answers to "How to live", some will resonate with you, some you will hate, some will seem weird. This is also the densest book I've ever seen, Many sentences make you put the book down and think deeply about them.

How to Win Friends & Influence People

Date added: 2021-10-01. How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
Percent read: 100%

Exactly what the title says. I like how Carnegie emphasizes being genuine and condemns the manipulative attitude many salespeople have.

The Last Question

Date added: 2021-10-11. How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
Percent read: 100%

Beautiful short story on the question "Can entropy ever be reversed?"

Man's Search for Meaning

Date added: 2022-06-30. How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
Percent read: 100%

Frankl survived concentration camps, his brutal firsthand account is moving. Anyone who needs to understand mental health (meaning you) has to read this book!

Logotherapy is so much better than traditional Psychotherapy, Frankl gives several examples showing the difference.

The Mind Illuminated

Date added: 2022-07-22. How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
Percent read: 25%

Textbook on meditation, it turns out there's a lot more you can say about meditation then "focus on the breath"

On top of benefits like increased focus, meditation trains introspection into unconscious thought; a core rationality skill.

Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

Date added: 2022-03-11. How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
Percent read: 100%

Wonderful book about what makes people exceptionally good at things. I highly recommend it.

It's hard to recognize deep wisdom when you read it, but if you read this and don't fundamentally change the way you study you missed something. See learning manim for an example of applying this to programming.

Significant digits

Date added: 2022-01-12. How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
Percent read: 100%

Continuation of hpmor, Harry is busy taking over optimizing the world. I sware harry has negative plot armor in this book, I've never read something where the MC has negative plot armor...

Tricks of the Mind

Date added: 2022-05-10. How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
Percent read: 100%

Derren Brown is amazing, this book is a grab-bag of fascinating topics, each of which he explains better than other things I've read

  • Magic
  • Memory (better than MWE)
  • Hypnosis
  • Unconscious Communication (e.g. detecting lies)

Ultralearning

Date added: 2021-10-01. How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
Percent read: 100%

This book contains everything you need to know about effective learning.

Best of all Scott Young practices what he preaches, with ultralearning projects such as the mit challange and the year without english.

A billion wicked thoughts

Date added: 2022-05-26. How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
Percent read: 100%

Some computer scientists / neuroscientists analyzed internet data to understand human sexuality. Reading this book made tons of stuff click for me, the popularity of books like twilight, the popularity of weird seeming genres of pornography (in terms of evolutionary psychology), etc.

One warning: This book is not for children people without the mental fortitude to read a book about pornography while remaining unfazed.

Bronze Age Mindset

Date added: 2021-12-09. How strongly I recommend it: 8/10
Percent read: 100%

This book is weird and hard to describe. I'll have to read it again at some point.

Don't read this if you get easily triggered, a lot of it is crazy, evil and every time of phobic. There's wisdom too, read for that.

The 48 Laws of Power

Date added: 2022-06-10. How strongly I recommend it: 8/10
Percent read: 40%

Interesting book with a format that makes it great for practicing memory techniques on. The stories are great and give extreme examples of what happens when you violate the laws.

Little Brother

Date added: 2021-12-20. How strongly I recommend it: 8/10
Percent read: 100%

Similar to 1984 but more realistic and with more relatable characters. And realistic hacking! I was somewhat inspired to build a real-life version of paranoid-os, haven't done so yet though.

Numerical Methods for Scientists and Engineers

Date added: 2021-09-29. How strongly I recommend it: 8/10
Percent read: 30%

If you know calculus and linear algebra, Get this book.

It's a joy to read and is full of algebraic miracles. Speeding up the convergence rate of infinite series (demo) for instance.

I haven't finished the book, but skimming it has exposed me to the judo of numerical methods. Well worth it.

Strangers Drowning

Date added: 2022-07-16. How strongly I recommend it: 8/10
Percent read: 55%

Great book about the people I look up to the most, the unsung heroes who never consider their work done, their effort adequate.

I aspire to be like them. I want to help guide humanity through fate's narrow keyhole, and every second wasted could make the difference, and while I can't as easily measure the cost in lives - I know it to be large.

Understanding Analysis

Date added: 2021-11-24. How strongly I recommend it: 7/10
Percent read: 80%

Good introduction to real analysis with clear explanations. Since I wanted to master the material I did every exercise, and now I'm doing them all again and writing up my solutions here.

If you're learning this for school Rudin is the standard, so it might be wiser for getting a head-start on homework, Abbott is friendlier though.

The Art of Learning

Date added: 2021-12-14. How strongly I recommend it: 7/10
Percent read: 100%

Waitzkin is a top chess player and martial artist. He explains his life and the process of reaching optimal performance in any field.

I probably liked it more then the average person since I play chess, like stoicism and was interested in Tai chi.

Artemis Fowl

Date added: 2021-12-21. How strongly I recommend it: 7/10
Percent read: 100%

When I first read this series it was my favorite of all time. But now that I'm older it seems childish compared to other books, but that's the natural way of things.

A warning, do not watch the movie or the trailer. Watching part of the trailer made my eyes bleed.

Evil Genius

Date added: 2022-06-05. How strongly I recommend it: 7/10
Percent read: 100%

I liked this book a lot when I first read it. Reading it again Cadel's manipulation of Systems (especially social ones) reminds me of a fledgling Dûnyain.

The book is pretty realistic by mainstream fiction standards. Many of Cadel's shenanigans are feasible in real life provided you have flexible ethics. (there are other books that are even more realistic though)

Anatomy of the State

Date added: 2022-02-05. How strongly I recommend it: 6/10
Percent read: 100%

This book makes the very libertarian case that taxation is theft. Somewhat radicalized me as a libertarian :d

The Dictator's Handbook

Date added: 2022-01-16. How strongly I recommend it: 6/10
Percent read: 100%

If you're interested in how politics works this is a must-read. If your lazy watch The Rules for Rulers first, then read the book once you're curious.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Date added: 2021-09-29. How strongly I recommend it: 6/10
Percent read: 100%

A great unbiased biography of Elon Musk. A must-read for investors in his companies.

For non investors, this could still be interesting but not useful.

Moonwalking with Einstein

Date added: 2022-04-19. How strongly I recommend it: 5/10
Percent read: 100%

Great book on memory techniques and how people memorize hundreds of random digits in a few minutes, or a memorizing books verbatim.

Joshua Foer learned the techniques himself, then he won the US memory championship. (That being said the US championship was kinda a meme when this book was written)

(This book is low on the list because it doesn't teach you memory techniques)

Never Split the Difference

Date added: 2021-10-01. How strongly I recommend it: 5/10
Percent read: 100%

Fascinating book about FBI hostage negotiations, and negotiations in general. It is a bit lacking in ethics at times. Voss gives examples of someone negotiating a 3x higher salary with techniques bordering on mind control.

On Writing Well

Date added: 2021-12-24. How strongly I recommend it: 5/10
Percent read: 30%

Good book on writing, big emphasis on simplifying everything to its essence.

Basically, the opposite of what you learned in English class (gotta streeetch that page count)

The Great Gatsby

Date added: 2022-07-27. How strongly I recommend it: 4/10
Percent read: 100%

Thought it would be a rags-to-riches story, was really a romance / tragedy. My expectations didn't match the book.

Tribe of Mentors

Date added: 2021-12-17. How strongly I recommend it: 4/10
Percent read: 100%

Interesting book where tim ferris asks the same questions to bunch of exceptional people.

Interesting to see how many famous people do X, you start to see patterns.

The Thickety

Date added: 2022-01-24. How strongly I recommend it: 1/10
Percent read: 100%

Kara is annoying and is only alive because of plot armor, and the villains are cartoonishly evil. Normal cliche fiction has been ruined for me after hpmor and unsong.