Author: Elizier Yudkowsky (Less Wrong)

A few years ago, friends of mine suggested „Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality“ (HPMOR) by Elizier Yudkowski (Less Wrong) to me.

This is a story set in the world of Harry Potter, but with a few major changes. Harry’s aunt did not marry Vernon Dursley, but instead Michael Verres-Evans, a professor at Oxford. Additionally, Harry is highly intelligent and learned about the scientific method early in his life.
In Hogwarts, he is, together with Hermine, assigned to Ravenclaw. As soon as he hears anything about Quidditich, he points out how strange and even silly some rules of that game are. He doesn’t get along with Ron, but instead with Draco Malfoy.
Soon Harry takes on two quests: To teach Malfoy about science as well as rational thinking and to discover how magic works on a physical level.

This is a really fascinating and exciting read with clever dialogues and interesting facts about physics, mathematics and psychology (a lot about different biases and other flaws in human thinking).

There is another work by Less Wrong, but I didn’t get around to reading it, yet. It is called “Rationality – From AI to Zombies”. It started out as a series of blog posts, called “sequences” about different topics of rational thinking. The few pages I already read made a great impression. I am looking forward to read the rest of it. 🙂


3 thoughts on “Author: Elizier Yudkowsky (Less Wrong)

  1. Katrin says:

    Being a fan of Harry Potter, this sounds fantastic, thanks a ton for the suggestion. Just downloaded to mobi file to my kindle to read later.
    Did J.K. Rowling approve of this fanfic?

    • Norman says:

      I don’t know. If I understand it correctly, the author doesn’t make any money with this fanfiction (the site is ad free and he doesn’t sell the book anywhere) and does not intend to publish it for his own profit (1)(2). Because of this, I don’t think he needs approval at this point, but I may be wrong.

      (1) A quote from an interview from March 2015:
      “I asked Yudkowsky if he’d be willing to go the way of 50 Shades and, after a bit of a facelift, sell the book as an original: ‘That’s not possible in this case. HPMOR is fundamentally linked to, and can only be understood against the background of, the original Harry Potter novels. Numerous scenes are meant to be understood in the light of other scenes in the original HP.'”

      (2) From his blog:
      “I decided long ago that once HPMOR was fully written and published, I would try to get in touch with J. K. Rowling to see if HPMOR could be published in book form, maybe as HJPEV and the Methods of Rationality, with all profits accruing to a UK charity. I’m not getting my hopes up, but I do have a rule telling me to try rather than automatically giving up and assuming something can’t be done. If any reader thinks they can put me in touch with J. K. Rowling, […] contact me at […]”

  2. Lena says:

    Your recommendation sounded really interesting and convincing, so I started to read “Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality”. I wanted to tell you that I was quite impressed of how exact you managed to describe the basic content of this book without anticipating too much. The book is exactly how I expected it to be based on your descriptions. Well done! And thanks for this recommendation! I have actually finished a quarter of the book, but I will keep on reading 🙂

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