Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

RichardKennaway comments on Recommended reading for new rationalists - Less Wrong

27 Post author: XFrequentist 09 July 2009 07:47PM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (158)

You are viewing a single comment's thread. Show more comments above.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 12 July 2009 11:44:24PM *  0 points [-]

I've been meaning to take a stab at Korzybski's Science and Sanity (available on the interwebs, I believe) for a while, but I've heard it's fairly impenetrable.

Available here.

I had the experience, which I heard others have also had, that it was impenetrably turgid on a first reading, but perfectly clear on coming back to it a few years later. Still just as turgid, but clear. The science is also very dated. I have mixed thoughts about recommending it. It's a bit like recommending E.E. "Doc" Smith as an introduction to science fiction. Necessary to read at some point, but not at the outset.

I'd be interested to see what anyone else who has read it thinks.

ETA: Just flicking through the online copy I found one place where the science is, I think, wrong even with respect to the knowledge of the time. "A molecule of water is broken up [by an electric current] into a positively charged hydrogen ion consisting of two hydrogen atoms, and a negatively charged oxygen ion consisting of one oxygen atom." (chap. XL, p.686)