Random Rationality.

A blogging buddy, Fourat Janabi, has written two books now. And you need to read them both! They are called Random Rationality (R2) and Science, Statistics and Scepticism (S3). If I’d had my way the second book would have been called Dutiful Diligence (D2 – giving the name R2D2 – but I should have voiced that a lot earlier than now). You can colour me biased here, as I had a small hand in the writing of both these books, but they are amazing concise books that give your mind a run for its money.
As the name would suggest, the first book–Random Rationality–is a somewhat disjointed but eloquent look at many of the controversial subjects we talk about today: what the hell is politics anyway?; What’s the big deal with drugs?; The Universe and Nothing; God? The book is forceful, thought provoking and great. It is the inspiration for my last few posts. The bias is lathered on a little thick in places, and Fourat J (blogging name) even forgets to tell us exactly what the advantages of government are (which would have been nice; it means the discussion could talk about how those advantages could be preserved in the alternative models he discusses to supersede democracy. You read that right, “supersede democracy”–and the case he makes for superseding democracy is very compelling).
I doubt Random Rationality will convert all of your opinions to Fourat J’s opinions. But it is so compellingly discussed and reliably sourced that it it would be very difficult to leave the book without a different perspective.
Science, Statistics and Scepticism (which I will actually shorten to S3) has a different purpose to Random Rationality. S3, as a book, is a tool; a way of thinking; a way of protecting yourself against the charlatans who would exploit your scientific ignorant (to paraphrase Neil deGrasse Tyson. Also, I think it is important to be humble enough to admit you are, in some areas of life, ignorant; I certainly am so I do not mean to use the word in a derogatory way). This book equips you to be able to differentiate between good and bad information (in terms of its reliability). The difference between good science and bad science; good statistics and bad statistics; and what is a healthy level of scepticism. And despite the lofty name the book has, it is written in an accessible and passionate way; I would trust an 11-year-old to understand it*, and anyone with an interest in the area to enjoy it.
As it happens, I know a very intelligent 11-year-old. My sister. (My 11-year-old brother is an idiot.)
And as soon as Amazon lets me, I’ll be reviewing the books with 5 stars.

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3 thoughts on “Random Rationality.”

  1. I am humbled by your words. And yes, your criticism on the omission of the benefits of government are valid. I may in the future update that. My thesis (in that section) was that government is great, I like roads, communications and all that good stuff, but politicians are, in the latter stage of a democracy (by this, I mean not young), are the weakest link. I may have failed to enforce that distinction and hope to do so in the future.

    Thanks for the shout-out Allallt. Again, I’m humbled.

  2. Reblogged this on Random Rationality and commented:
    Allallt had some nice things (and valid criticisms) to say about my two books. As well as a better name for S3, which I totally would’ve done if I had known. R2D2!! God damn it, why didn’t I think of that?!

    I’ve met some truly gifted folks on WP, and I hope one day, I get to meet them all in person. This is what the Internet is all about. 🙂

    Thanks for your kind words Allallt. I hope to repay your help one day.

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