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Comment author: paulfchristiano 14 December 2014 07:56:16AM 2 points [-]

For example, if we output a sequence of bits which are fed into an actuator, then I can treat each bit as an action. We could also apply the concept to actions at a higher or lower level of granularity, the idea is to apply it at all levels (and to make it explicit at the lowest level at which it is practical to do so, in the same way we might make goal-directed behavior explicit at the lowest level where doing so is explicit).

Comment author: pjeby 14 December 2014 07:04:24PM 3 points [-]

I do not understand how anything you said relates to the weakness of your argument that I've pointed out. Namely, that you've simply moved the values complexity problem somewhere else. All your reply is doing is handwaving that issue, again.

Human beings can't endorse actions per se without context and implied goals. And the AI can't simply iterate over all possible actions randomly to see what works without having some sort of model that constrains what it's looking for. Based on what I can understand of what you're proposing, ISTM the AI would just wander around doing semi-random things, and not actually do anything useful for humans, unless Hugh has some goal(s) in mind to constrain the search.

And the AI has to be able to model those goals in order to escape the problem that the AI is now no smarter than Hugh is. Indeed, if you can simulate Hugh, then you might as well just have an em. The "AI" part is irrelevant.

Comment author: pjeby 14 December 2014 03:31:40AM 2 points [-]

I think you've moved all the complexity into distinguishing the difference between "outcome" and "action".

IOW, taboo those terms and try to write the same proposal, because right now ISTM that you're relying on an intuitional appeal to human concepts of the difference, rather than being precise.

Even at this level, you're leaving out that Hugh doesn't really approve of actions per se -- Hugh endorses actions in situations as contributing to some specific, salient goal or value. If Arthur says, "I want to move my foot over here", it doesn't matter how many hours Hugh thinks it over, it's not going to mean anything in particular...

Even if its the first step in a larger action of "walk over there and release the nanovirus". ;-)

Comment author: D_Alex 12 December 2014 02:37:56AM 1 point [-]

I am having trouble understanding the message here... and consequently how this is a good rationality quote.

Is this trying to say "don't bother trying to please people in childhood"?

Is it "don't bother trying to earn respect as an adult"?

Both are poor advice, in general, IMO.

Comment author: pjeby 12 December 2014 06:14:49AM 7 points [-]

I think it means something more like, "don't expect the behaviors that pleased adults when you were a child, to get you anywhere as an adult. Children are considered pleasing when they're submissive and dependent, but adults are respected for pleasing themselves first."

The rationality connection is, well, winning.

Comment author: jkadlubo 09 December 2014 09:50:29AM 0 points [-]

you'll have a real choice about whether to continue relating to them or not. You won't be coming from a place of neediness and shame, and will be able to set better boundaries. Nobody can predict exactly what form your relationship with them will take. You may find that you can love them for who they are, or you may find that you don't actually enjoy their company and choose not to spend time with them. You may find that you can set effective boundaries. Who knows?

I'll save this for future reference.

Right now I feel cutting myself from my parents from my perspective would be a punishment for them (and I know mother would not care, so it would be in vain - yesterday we were in the same room and as an experiment I tried to not talk first but look available to conversation. She didn't even say "hello" or "I didn't expect you here, why did you come?"). I have too much grudge yet to have a real choice.

Comment author: pjeby 09 December 2014 11:26:45PM 2 points [-]

I have too much grudge yet to have a real choice.

A grudge is what the algorithm for "they owe me and I think I can collect via social pressure" feels like from the inside. This implies that you still believe:

  1. They owe you something, and
  2. It's possible to collect

Both of these statements are false, but it's easier to start with the second one. Admit the truth: barring a miracle, you are never going to collect this "debt", because it's not one your parents will ever acknowledge. Indeed, I would guess that if someone held a gun to their heads and insisted they repent, they'd be like, "What are you talking about? We didn't do anything to her!"

When you finally admit to yourself that this is true, there won't be a grudge any more, because the grudge is nothing more than your brain's insistence that you should be able to collect, in denial of the fact that you can't collect. Use the Litany of Gendlin and the Litany of Tarski here, or the questions from The Work of Byron Katie, which is particularly effective at resolving grudges and judgments directed at other people.

One of the things Byron Katie sometimes says about these kinds of judgments is that in order to free yourself, you have to want to know the truth, more than you want to be right, or than you want to get whatever it is from that person. The truth will set you free, but first it's going to annoy the hell out of you. ;-)

Comment author: jkadlubo 06 December 2014 02:27:20PM 5 points [-]

This reply made my cry more than any other. But I know this kind of crying - it happens when somebody opens my eyes to a different perspective, so it's good crying.

My hope was mostly broken, but I kept trying to fix it. Popular psychology makes people believe that they can make almost any relationship work. Yesterday evening I felt lighter. I could start thinking "I can let go of trying now."

A quick way to begin poking holes in this belief is to imagine that you have done everything perfectly to their desire, been the exact person they wanted you to be... and then ask that same part of your brain, "What would happen then?"

I would be like my sister and have what she has. She can pull off almost any kind of abstruse plan which involves parents doing something for her or giving her money. I resent that ability of her and yet would like to be able to do almost the same. My mind has trouble going further, ponder what if I was better than her. I don't really believe your version, but in fact I can remember one situation exactly like that. When I was better and what happened next. I got a 5 on a biology test (scale 1-6, where 1 is fail, 6 is outstanding), she got a 4. Normally only people with grades lower than 3 can retake a test, but parents made her retake the test and me teach her. She got a 5+ on the retake (it's also frowned upon when getting a 6 is possible on a retake, since the second test should be a chance to pass only for those kids who failed), they were satistifed and I was bitter.

The right answer is that they would not pay attention to me being good enough. They would concentrate on her being worse than me. And try to make me help her be at least as good as me (and also push her). Since being exactly the same is not really possible, she would end up being better than me, again. And I would be even more disappointed.

I doubt myself a lot. You and others, who say "this relationship is unfixable" really say "you were right, you only doubted too much."

Comment author: pjeby 07 December 2014 12:53:47AM *  2 points [-]

The right answer is that they would not pay attention to me being good enough. They would concentrate on her being worse than me. And try to make me help her be at least as good as me (and also push her). Since being exactly the same is not really possible, she would end up being better than me, again. And I would be even more disappointed.

The key thing to focus on here is that even when you were better, they still didn't treat you with the love or respect or appreciation that you are looking for. That's the part you need to connect with, to realize on an emotional level that it's not really about you.

Your brain is doing something I call the Prime Conclusion/Prime Assumption pattern. It goes sort of like this:

  • The Prime Assumption: If I were good enough, then other people would care.
  • The Prime Conclusion: If others don't care, then I am not good enough.

The Prime Assumption is actually false: your parents wouldn't care even if you were good enough, as your experience already proves. There is no level of "good enough" that is sufficient to make them act differently.

The really good thing is, once you break this assumption, the conclusion is also broken. You will realize then that, if no amount of "good enough" will get you care, then that means the care is not under your control. It is not your responsibility to do anything to make them care, and you will stop feeling "not good enough". (More precisely, you'll no longer interpret your parents' behavior as meaning you're not good enough, and it will be more difficult -- though not impossible! -- for your parents to make you feel inadequate.)

You and others, who say "this relationship is unfixable" really say "you were right, you only doubted too much."

I don't say the relationship is unfixable, actually. When you actually let go of wanting/needing pats on the back from them, then you'll have a real choice about whether to continue relating to them or not. You won't be coming from a place of neediness and shame, and will be able to set better boundaries. Nobody can predict exactly what form your relationship with them will take. You may find that you can love them for who they are, or you may find that you don't actually enjoy their company and choose not to spend time with them. You may find that you can set effective boundaries. Who knows?

What is unfixable is not the relationship per se, but your intention to obtain love, appreciation, etc. from them. You already know from experience that you can't get it, but you haven't yet realized it "in your heart" (i.e., the emotional/alief side of your brain). The book I suggested can help a lot with that.

When we try to get love and respect from others, feeling we don't have it ourselves, it's not because we actually don't deserve them, and it's not because we actually need for other people to have a particular opinion about us. What really happens is that we feel bad when we share those people's opinions of ourselves.

Since you've assumed that you being good enough would result in care (Prime Assumption), you conclude that the lack of care means you're not good enough (Prime Conclusion). Once you've concluded this, you then proceed to not care for yourself, either. You don't treat yourself with the kindness, respect, appreciation, etc. that you actually deserve.

However, if you realize that this idea is wrong, you can learn to give yourself that kindness and respect and love that you're missing -- and won't feel the need to act a certain way around your parents, or the need to convince them to act a certain way around you. (Again, the book I suggested will help a lot with this.)

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 05 December 2014 04:30:11PM 4 points [-]

This happened because your parents put out "bait" that implies it's possible for you to get their good opinion (e.g. by being like your sister). Your brain thinks, "ah, so if I do what they want, maybe they'll give it to me."

This may be how people think when they do that thought experiment, but I ran into a rather chilling example in the real world. I know some people who talk disparagingly of their daughter. When the daughter worked for me and did quite a good job, I told her mother so, and the mother invented reasons why the daughter's motivations weren't good enough.

I think that when someone is defined as being of low status, the people who were enforcing the low status will have to admit they were wrong if they change their minds, and people generally aren't willing to admit they were wrong about that sort of thing.

Comment author: pjeby 05 December 2014 05:43:47PM 7 points [-]

I think that when someone is defined as being of low status, the people who were enforcing the low status will have to admit they were wrong if they change their minds, and people generally aren't willing to admit they were wrong about that sort of thing.

That's way too generous an interpretation, as it requires the parent to actually think of the child as a person in the first place. The simpler explanations for that kind of parent-child behavior are usually:

  1. Narcissism (i.e., caring more about how the situation reflects on them, than the child's well-being) and/or
  2. A sincere belief that positive treatment of a child will result in horrible outcomes

It's possible for a parent to have both, but neither one has anything to do with status per se. Notably, narcissistic parents cannot conceive of their children as entities having a status. (And if they cared about their children's opinion, they'd tell them what that opinion should be!)

To the narcissist, his/her child is not actually an independent individual. They're a possession, sort of like a little robot that happens to be annoyingly unpredictable and independent, and is viewed as defective whenever it doesn't conform to their whims... preferably without them needing to go to the trouble of communicating in advance what those whims are. The child should Just Know or Should Have Known what the right thing to do was, and is viewed as obstreperous, obnoxious, and willfully disobedient for failing to intuit the correct behavior and perform accordingly.

At least, that's my personal experience, from being on the receiving end of that sort of thing. ;-)

Anyway, given that sort of viewpoint, there's no way that the woman's daughter being helpful to you would raise her opinion of her daughter. Instead, a narcissist would simply view that as further evidence of how annoying her daughter is. After all, she might be helping you, but she's only being obnoxious and disobedient at home (by the narcissist's messed-up standards, as described above).

So, in the mother's eyes, your praise of the daughter just means that the daughter can be helpful, and is therefore refusing to be helpful to her mother. The daughter must be helping you because of some ulterior motive, some selfish reason that doesn't involve her mother at all... which just proves how bad the daughter really is, not thinking about her mother at all. Instead of being merely a defective robot, she's now a rebellious robot, a traitor who is supporting an outsider (you) and putting her own childish goals, thoughts, and feelings ahead of those of her own mother.

[Shudder]

Sorry, flashback moment there. ;-) Anyway... yes, there are people like this, and yes, they are unfortunately allowed to raise children, utterly helpless children who will love them absolutely and believe everything they say, at least for the first several years of their life.

(Which, of course, is why they have the children in the first place...)

Comment author: pjeby 04 December 2014 05:55:00PM *  20 points [-]

You can't fix what's wrong with you by trying to fix your parents or your relationship with them. As HPMOR would say, there is no point in assigning blame to a part of the system that you can't actually change.

That doesn't mean you're responsible for anything, it just means that when it comes to this type of dysfunction, the real problem exists in your "inner parents" rather than your outer ones. That is, your mental models of your parents, specifically the part of your brain that predicts how they will act in certain situations, and decides how you should feel/act about that.

Lots of people will say stuff about getting away from your parents, or how wrong they are or how you should speak up to them or whatever. This is irrelevant, because if your mental models make you feel bad about cutting off contact or speaking up, then you're going to have problems doing that. What you need more is to give up hope regarding your parents, whether you cut off contact or not.

What do I mean by "give up hope"? I mean that the thing that keeps you bound to their opinions is your desire to get something from them: love, acknowledgment, respect, etc. -- just as you're already starting to realize. As long as you feel it's possible for you to receive any of this, you'll be stuck trying to do things their way, or at least feeling like you should.

This happened because your parents put out "bait" that implies it's possible for you to get their good opinion (e.g. by being like your sister). Your brain thinks, "ah, so if I do what they want, maybe they'll give it to me."

A quick way to begin poking holes in this belief is to imagine that you have done everything perfectly to their desire, been the exact person they wanted you to be... and then ask that same part of your brain, "What would happen then?"

Most likely, if you actually reflect on it, you'll see that what your parents would do at that point is ignore you, or possibly tell your sister to be more like you... but there will not actually be any love, respect, etc. coming.

Don't logic this out; though. It's necessary for the part of your brain that makes emotional predictions to work this out for itself, by you asking questions and reflecting. Otherwise, it will just be in the logic part of your head, not the emotional part. The emotional part has to see, "oh, my prediction is in error - that wouldn't work out the way I want." Otherwise, you will be stuck knowing you should do something different, but still doing the same things as you did before.

Unfortunately, this is not a one-time, one-off thing to fix. Your brain may have hundreds of specific expectations that "If I do this thing in this kind of circumstance, they will finally love/appreciate/whatever me", and each one may have to be handled separately. In addition, it can sometimes seem to generate new ones! The emotional brain doesn't generalize in the same way the logical brain does, and doesn't seem (in my experience) to abstract across different classes of expectations when making these kinds of changes. But that's my personal experience and YMMV.

In a sense, the root cause of these "If only I do X, I will get Y" beliefs is a belief (alief, really, since it's not a logical thing) that you aren't worthy of receiving Y. There's like a part of our brains that imprints on our parents' behavior in order to learn what we're entitled to in our tribe, so to speak, and what we can expect to receive from others. If they don't give us love, respect, whatever, there's a part that learns "I have to earn this, then."

(The technical term, by the way, for this feeling you don't deserve good things (love, appreciation, respect, etc.) and need to earn your "pats on the back", is shame, and it's the #1 byproduct of being treated the way narcissistic parents treat us. So when you look at or for books on dealing with this, that's a keyword you want to look out for.)

Giving up hope that you can earn these pats on the back in a particular area is one way to uproot shame, but there's another method that seems to have an advantage in bypassing this and going after a feeling that you deserve to receive Y as a fundamental right... thereby eliminating the feeling that you need to earn it.

The method is described in this book, though it does contain some new age babble (that can be safely ignored if you focus on the specific instructions rather than theory).

The approach described does seem to be able to work at a higher level of abstraction than the other method I've described, by "giving up hope" of fixing various aspects of one's self rather than the hope of getting positive interactions from others. It still will need to be applied to a lot of things, but it may cover more ground faster, if you can make it work for you. I don't have as much experience with it personally as the other method, but it does seem at first glance to bring a much deeper sense of being at peace with myself and with the people whose "pats on the back" I previously sought.

Comment author: jimmy 24 November 2014 08:49:23PM *  0 points [-]

Mhmm.

The concept is totally legit, but I do think more than just the name that comes off "new agey". I certainly got that impression when reading the book and so did a few people I recommended it to. So now I add that to the disclaimer so people will know to anticipate that and not take it as evidence that its not awesome.

The name didn't sit right with me for a while too since "focusing" as applied to mental processes usually makes you think of honing in on one particular thing while shutting things out. I think what he had in mind was more like looking at your mind through a microscope where you start seeing everything as a blurry mess that resolves into focus through this process - and that actually seems to fit to me, if not well spelled out by the word "focusing". If I had to pick a name off the top of my head, I might go with "mental grain refinement".

Agreed that it the payload is roughly equivalent to Actually Being Curious, but I think it's important to not let the book get rounded down to that. Not only does it paint a pretty clear picture on how to actually do it as well as giving you a frame work to work under, it applies to far more things than one might think (including, for example, "lotteries of fascinations"), so it would be a shame to get it pigeon holed.

By the way, you still working on all the mind hacking stuff? I have been for a few years and I think it's silly that I haven't yet approached you to chat and compare notes.

Comment author: pjeby 25 November 2014 03:44:50AM 0 points [-]

looking at your mind through a microscope where you start seeing everything as a blurry mess that resolves into focus through this process - and that actually seems to fit to me, if not well spelled out by the word "focusing"

Yep. It makes sense in that context, of course.

If I had to pick a name off the top of my head, I might go with "mental grain refinement"

I'd suggest "Tuning In", except that the youth these days don't actually turn knobs to tune in a radio station any more either. Even cameras auto-focus these days! ;-)

(The NLP and hypnosis folks tend to call similar processes "trans-derivational search", but I wouldn't wish that term on anybody who's not a specialist.)

applies to far more things than one might think (including, for example, "lotteries of fascinations")

I'm curious how you'd apply it. I mean, removing blocks to interest in a subject... boredom, disgust, etc. predicated on bad experiences or subliminally-absorbed stereotypes, I can see that. But building an interest? I guess I haven't done much research into more generative techniques.

By the way, you still working on all the mind hacking stuff? I have been for a few years and I think it's silly that I haven't yet approached you to chat and compare notes.

Sillier still that I haven't organized all my notes yet. (Granted, I'm coming up on ten years' worth now.) And yes, yes I am still working on all that stuff. I just haven't been seriously promoting anything for sale for some years now, as I've been focused on finding methods for dealing with my worst blocks. That work is getting really close to done now, though... I hope. ;-)

Comment author: lukeprog 23 November 2014 01:28:15AM *  6 points [-]

(This comment has been edited a bit in response to pjeby's comments below.)

WARNING: SPOILERS FOLLOW. You may want to enjoy the episode yourself before reading the below transcript excerpts.

Okay...

From the transcript, here's a bit about AI not doing what it's programmed to do:

Computer scientist: "[Our AI program named Bella] performs better than we expected her to."

Holmes: "Explain that."

Computer scientist: "A few weeks back, she made a request that can't be accounted for by her programming."

Holmes: "Impossible."

Holmes' assistant: "What's impossible? For the computer to ask for something?"

Holmes: "If it made a request, it did so because that's what it was programmed to do. He's claiming true machine intelligence. If he's correct in his claims, he has made a scientific breakthrough of the very highest order."

Another trope: At one point a young computer expert says "Everybody knows that one day intelligent machines are going to evolve to hate us."

Here's the bit about reward-channel takeover:

"What's the 'button-box' thing?"

"It's a scenario somebody blue-skyed at an AI conference. Imagine there's a computer that's been designed with a big red button on its side. The computer's been programmed to help solve problems, and every time it does a good job, its reward is that someone presses its button. We've programmed it to want that... so at first, the machine solves problems as fast as we can feed them to it. But over time, it starts to wonder if solving problems is really the most efficient way of getting its button pressed. Wouldn't it be better just to have someone standing there pressing its button all the time? Wouldn't it be even better to build another machine that could press its button faster than any human possibly could?"

"It's just a computer, it can't ask for that."

"Well, sure it can. If it can think, and it can connect itself to a network, well, theoretically, it could command over anything else that's hooked onto the same network. And once it starts thinking about all the things that might be a threat to the button-- number one on that list, us-- it's not hard to imagine it getting rid of the threat. I mean, we could be gone, all of us, just like that."

"That escalated quickly."

There's also a think tank called the Existential Threat Research Association (ETRA):

"[ETRA is] one of several institutions around the world which exists solely for the purpose of studying the myriad ways in which the human race can become extinct... and within this think tank, there is a small, but growing school of thought that holds that the single greatest threat to the human race... is artificial intelligence... Now, imagine their quandary. They have pinpointed a credible threat, but it sounds outlandish. The climate-change people, they can point to disastrous examples. The bio-weapons alarmists, they have a compelling narrative to weave. Even the giant comet people sound more serious than the enemies of AI.

"So... these are the people at ETRA who think AI is a threat? You think one of them killed Edwin Borstein, one of the top engineers in the field, and made it look like Bella did it, all so they could draw attention to their cause?

"A small-scale incident, something to get the media chattering."

One ETRA person is suspiciously Stephen Hawking-esque:

"Isaac Pike is a professor of computer science. He's also a vocal alarmist when it comes to artificial intelligence. Pike was born with spina bifida. Been confined to a wheelchair his entire life. For obvious reasons, he could not have executed the plan... but his student..."

NOW SERIOUSLY, SPOILERS ALERT...

Isaac Pike ends up being (probably) responsible for murdering Edwin Borstein via a computer virus installed on Bella. He says: "You're talking about nothing less than the survival of the species. Surely that's worth compromising one's values for?"

Comment author: pjeby 23 November 2014 02:01:41AM 4 points [-]

Would you mind redacting your quotes of the transcript, so that people can instead enjoy the episode in context? I was intentionally vague about the parts you've chosen to excerpt or talk about, specifically not to ruin people's enjoyment of the episode. (Also, reading a transcript is a very different experience than the actual episode, lacking as it does the timing, expressions, and body language that suggest what the show's makers want us to think.)

It also seems to me that you are not interpreting the quotes particularly charitably. For example, when I saw the episode, I interpreted "can't be accounted for" as shorthand for "emergent behavior we didn't explicitly ask for", not "AI is magic". Likewise, while Mason implies that hostility is inevitable, his reward-channel takeover explanation grounds this presumption in at least one example of how an AI would come to display behavior humans would interpret as "hostile". I took this as shorthand for "there are lots of ways you can end up with a bad result from AI", not "AI is hostile and this is just one example."

Bella is not actually presented as a hostile creature who maliciously kills its creator. Heck, Bella is mostly made to seem less anthropomorphic than even Siri or Google Now! (Despite the creepy-doll choice of avatar.) The implication by Bella's co-creator that Bella might have decided to "alter a variable" by killing someone doesn't imply what a human would consider hostility. Sociopathic amorality, perhaps, but not hostility.

And while Holmes at times seems to be operating from a "true AI = magic" perspective, I also interpreted the episode as making fun of him for having this perspective, such as his pointless attempts at a Turing test that Bella essentially failed hard at in the first 30 seconds. One thing you might miss if you're not a regular of the show, is that one of Holmes' character quirks is going off on these obsessive digressions that don't always work out the way he insists they will. (Unlike the literary Sherlock, this Holmes is often wrong, even about things he states his absolute certainty about... and Watson's role is often to prod his thinking into more productive channels.)

Anyway, his extended "testing" of Bella, and the subsequent remark from Watson to Kitty about using a fire extinguisher on him if he starts hitting things, is a strong signal that we are expected to humor his pointless obsession, as all the people around him are thoroughly unimpressed by Bella right away, and don't need to spend hours questioning it to "prove" it's not "really" intelligent.

Is it possible for somebody to view the episode through their existing trope-filled worldview and not learn anything? Sure. But I don't think it would've been practical to cover the entire inferential distance in just the "A" story of a 44-minute murder mystery TV show, so I applaud the writers for actually giving it a shot, and the artful choices made to simplify their presentation without dumbing things down to the point of being actually wrong, or committing any of the usual howling blunders. For a show intended purely as entertainment, they did a better job of translating the ideas than many journalists do.

OTOH, perhaps it's an illusion of transparency on my part, and only someone already exposed to the bigger picture would be able to grasp any of it from what was put in the show, and the average person will not in fact see anything differently after watching it. But even if that is the case, I think the show's makers still deserve credit -- and lots of praise -- just for trying.

Comment author: MathiasZaman 21 November 2014 10:31:36AM 2 points [-]

I really doubt there's an easy way to do this, especially since the odds are stacked against you.

The real enemy are things that were designed to be fun and engaging: video games, fiction... There's very little chance that I'll be as engaged reading non-fiction (even fun non-fiction) as I am reading Worm or Snow Crash. Good non-fiction's first priority is to be informative. Engaging and fun are secondary.

Similarly, learning math is fun, but it doesn't have fun as its first priority. Being able to comprehend mathematics is the first priority, with fun being second. A lot of "have fun while learning math" video games parents force on their kids have this problem as well.

One thing that might work is going cold turkey on video games. Give them up now and vow to never play them again. (This is what I ended up doing with World of Warcraft.) I can't advice this route (unless a video game is taking over your life), because you'll just end up doing something else that's more fun than studying. It's hard (and probably impossible for most people) to avoid all things that were created to be fun and engaging.

One way to salvage your time playing video games is to fulfill goals you want by playing the game. When I play Guild Wars 2, for example, I only do it when I can lead a PvP team. This way I can improve my leadership abilities and learn how to better make good decisions with bad information. (Incidentally, if any LW members want to start an EU PvP team for the weekends, that would be pretty cool.)

Comment author: pjeby 23 November 2014 01:28:19AM 0 points [-]

Good non-fiction's first priority is to be informative. Engaging and fun are secondary.

Really? If non-fiction doesn't hook the reader and make them want to read more, and it isn't System 1-persuasive to get people to actually act on the information, then how "good" can it really be?

I mean, if you're writing a reference book, sure. But there is no reason educational non-fiction has to be dull.

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