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Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  4,518 ratings  ·  436 reviews
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is a work of alternate-universe Harry Potter fan-fiction wherein Petunia Evans has married an Oxford biochemistry professor and young genius Harry grows up fascinated by science and science fiction. When he finds out that he is a wizard, he tries to apply scientific principles to his study of magic, with sometimes surprising resu ...more
ebook, 2007 pages
Published March 14th 2015 by &
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Chelsea Warren The series has concluded. It ended yesterday on March 14th with 122 chapters in all! :)
Alex Pierce All Of Them. The HP Series Is A Great Series And Trying to Cut Them Is A Shame To You. But, If You Must, In Order To Fully Understand Some Of The…moreAll Of Them. The HP Series Is A Great Series And Trying to Cut Them Is A Shame To You. But, If You Must, In Order To Fully Understand Some Of The Basic Story Line, You Will Have To Read All Of The First Book If You Want To Compare It To This One. If Not, Then Just Getting A Basic Understanding You Will Need To Read Around The First Half Of The First Book.(less)
James Potter and the Hall of Elders' Crossing by G. Norman LippertHarry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer YudkowskyJames Potter and the Vault of Destinies by G. Norman LippertJames Potter and the Curse of the Gatekeeper by G. Norman LippertSaving Connor by Lightning on the Wave
Harry Potter FanFiction
2nd out of 133 books — 258 voters
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer YudkowskyGödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas R. HofstadterThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsThinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel KahnemanThe Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
Ravenclaw's Rationality
1st out of 58 books — 48 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Imagine Harry Potter being replaced with a Harry Potter with combined talents of Ender Wiggins, Artemis Fowl and Yagami Light and put him in world much darker than Rowling envisioned. Yep, that's what this book was. No Ron or Hagrid to distract you, this is a Machiavellian Harry who manipulates people to his own ends, with powers the Dark Lord knows not, and the ambition for world domination (or, as he would call it, world optimization)

It is a HUGE book and still ongoing. Took me three days stra
AI researcher and decision theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky probably woke up one day and asked himself a single question: what would have happened in Harry Potter’s first year in Hogwarts, had he not been such an insufferable idiot?

You might not have considered him to be an idiot in the first place, but as the book progresses and the new Harry makes his way around Hogwarts, facing the same problems and situations, it becomes impossible to ignore the oh so logical and natural way he handles them this
Xi Xinghe
Recently I've been wondering just what exactly I wanted from literary fiction. Surely I did not expect life-changing epiphanies, at least not from every single book. But neither did I want my books be merely means to cheap escapism, which I had, perhaps mistakenly, long associated with genre fiction. Somehow I seem to be asking both too much and not enough, and therein lies the reason for my inability to rekindle the kind of pure unadulterated love I used to have for reading. No longer can I sim ...more
I wanted to like this, honestly. When I stumbled upon it and read that description, I figured it was going to be brilliant. So naturally it wasn't. The author leaves a note saying if you don't like it by chapter five, wait until chapter ten, and if you still don't like it by then, get out. That's exactly what I'm doing.

This isn't the first book (so to speak) where the idea is wonderful but it's executed horribly. For starters, the writing is a bit sloppy at times, and when I say at times, I mean
Toby Toldya
Great idea; terrible execution. In fact, I think the summary is completely misleading. While some scenes had me laughing out loud, I spent most of my time cringing or raising one eyebrow or the other; HPMOR is saturated with Yudkowsky's blatant disdain and a condescending tone.

Characters are, for the most part, wildly out of character. Harry completely fails to act like an 11 year old boy, and reads like a thinly-veiled, sociopathic self-insert. Draco is also worrying sociopathic, even beyond t
Update: 15 March, 2015

OMG! It's over. It has been a wild ride, one of the best I've ever been on. The ending was satisfying in ways I cannot express. Yudkowsky has wowed, amazed, and blown minds through this epic, and I can't wait to read more of his work in the future!


I have never felt the need to take fan fiction seriously. They are, at best, exercises of creativity in a predetermined world, and the best of them usually do not stray too far from the established lore. As it stands, “Harry Pot
I can't decide if this was really good or really bad. As a novel (or the majority of a novel) it was pretty terrible. As fanfic it seemed pretty good (to me, which doesn't mean anything, because I am not the kind of guy that reads fanfic at all). I guess I'll go with three stars which seems to say both of those things at once.

Concept that I like: take 11-year-old Harry Potter, about to enter Hogwarts. Make him an incredibly astute and science-minded young boy, and then see just how he'd react to
I wanted to love this book, I really did. I mean, the premise itself was what got me hooked. I'm sure we've all thought that there was something to be desired in the Plausibility and Possibilities department of the original Harry Potter series, so I jumped at the idea of a realistic story inspired by the methods of rationality! Turns out it wasn't inspired by it so much as it was drowned by it. Spoiler Alert: I didn't finish the book. Yudkowsky left a note about how the series hits its stride at ...more
Douglas Summers-Stay
Imagine if Ender Wiggen were put in Harry Potter's place, and the cunning of other characters upgraded in a similar way. Yudkowsky is a gifted writer, and he plays off the tropes of fanfiction and the idiosyncrasies of the world of Hogwarts in a way that transcends the genre. The books is at times laugh out loud funny, touching, inspiring, and always very smart. Writing fanfiction in order to get more people to read your blog about obscure logical fallacies!? You'd have to be a genius to actuall ...more
HPMOR (as it's known to fans) is the perfect book for nerds: funny, clever, rife with allusions to other great nerdly works, and yet seriously capable of teaching something real. In this case, the real value-add are principles of reasoning that can lead to better decisions by genuinely emotional, non-Spockian humans in real life.

Shockingly, this story also has a plot. It runs roughly parallel with the HP canon, but the relationships are different and the entire arc of the Potter stories seems d
Jul 11, 2013 Nick rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: top
This is the funniest thing I have ever read. I have never read something this funny before. It was extremely difficult to do anything except read it until I had "finished" it, and now it's hard to do anything but think about it and wish there was a lot more of it for me to read.

I guess I'll just read some of his rationalist essay series instead!
Eliezer has completely turned the story around with a fabulous mixture of real science and JKRverse. The book is peppered with real life use of rationality , Bayesian Logic and psychology. It’s quite a learning experience, especially if you look up the bits you don’t understand.
Alliana Vivares
Alright, my first complaint is that it should warn readers that it contains sensitive issues. I almost choked on the chocolate I've been eating when I read Draco's nonchalant threat of rape. I mean, hello? Isn't he still eleven? And okay, maybe there are lots of open-minded eleven-year-olds in the world but saying that to an almost complete stranger is too much! Harry was very close to being bad here; it made me wonder what that idiot Petunia had been teaching him. He is rude to his elders, whic ...more
A fun take on the Potterverse from someone obsessed with all the ways that humans fail to behave in ways that make sense - for a rather strict meaning of "make sense". Leaving aside the usual fights over the legitimacy of fanfic in general, the big question is how much Yudkowsky's Potter is an idealized author stand-in (a "Mary Sue", or "Marty Stu" in the parlance). My answer: Quite a lot, but not fatally. On the minus side, this Harry Potter talks and thinks quite a lot like someone in his late ...more
Okay, so this gets tricky.
The first, say, ten-fifteen chapters were AMAZING. I was cracking up (I snorted my soda at pretty much the same times Harry hacked up his Comed-Tea) at the many absolutely hysterical moments that come up when Harry is a complete brilliant jerk with negligible people skills (he has them in theory- probably because he read about them- and he can manipulate, but otherwise...).
Then, by about chapter 15 (maybe not til chapter 20) I just started getting bored. The writing wa
I wanted to like this fanfic. As a mathematician and an atheist I should have liked this fanfic.

I didn't. The writing is poor (even for fanfic) and the characterisation worse. The author has turned Harry Potter into the most unsympathetic and unlikeable child I can possibly imagine - which I would guess from his bio is also a blatant Mary-Sue.

Should have been called Harry Potter, the Snotty Little Git.
Although I think it's rather well-written for a fanfic (not quite good enough for a novel), Harry was too Mary Sue-ish. The main example of this is when 11 year old Harry creates a human Patronus that literally kills Dementors.

There is also a bit too much Dumbledore and Ron bashing for my tastes, plus Harry is extremely condescending.
Jul 09, 2015 Richard rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Richard by: Elliot Reed
This is an enormous fan fic version of the first book in the Harry Potter series, rewritten portraying Harry as a hyperrationalist.

Not worth five stars as a work of fiction per se, but fascinating enough to get bumped up to amazing because of several other factors:

•Folks with mildly compulsive rationalist and/or scientific leanings often have trouble with the nonsensical goings on of magical worlds. Occasionally Yudkowsky nails this so well that I was laughing convulsively. That the author some
Adam Smith
At the time of this review the story is 103 chapters, and counting, long (longer than the actual books), and still within the timeframe of the first book. Set to end March 2015.

An alternate world where the role of Harry Potter is played by a somewhat sociopathic Sheldon Cooper. Instead of marrying the repugnant mr. Dursley, Harry's aunt Petunia married a respected physicist resulting in Harry being raised in a loving environment where knowledge is praised and making the most of your life an acce
Harry Potter + science + philosophy = slightly mind boggling + very entertaining

All of the above is true.

However, whether or not I have truly read this fan fiction is a different question. In one sense, I have read it. In another, I have not. The reason for my discontinuity can easily be explained. I have read all of this work that exists up to this point in time. However, this book is far from complete.

In any case, though, I will accept that I have "read" this book because I can't be "current
Eric Herboso
Not only is this the best fanfiction I've ever read, it is among my favorite novels of all time, and so far I've only been able to read up to chapter 85.

This is a reimagining of the canonical novels of Harry Potter where the main character is extremely rational. Although he is a preteen, this version of Harry Potter has a mind on par with an extremely gifted 18 year old, and it shows. His nemesis, Voldemort, is similarly increased in intelligence by a dramatic amount. The Tom Riddle of this fanf
First novel-length fanfiction I've read all the way through to the end. Linked via --comments on the fic start about halfway down the page.

Our what-if here is: what if Aunt Petunia had begged Lily to magic her a better life (via, primarily, beauty), and Lily had done so? Petunia marries a brilliant professor instead of Vernon Dursley, and Harry grows up loved and educated instead of abused.

So: Harry is a Ravenclaw, and a prodigy, and intends to approach
Faysal Subhani
Simply Brilliant. Arguably one of the best books I have read so far. Definitely better than the original Harry Potter itself. It's not meant to be a spoof, but an espousal of the author's philosophy of rationality. This book is so realistic, even though it's based on magic. It makes you reflect on life. Above all, it keeps you guessing till the very end because the author refuses to categorize characters in the book as being good or evil. And the best part is, the book is free to download from h ...more
I will keep this review brief and to the point. First off, all the negative reviews come from people who are either too stupid to understand it or are too in love with the Potterverse to accept something better. Keep that in mind.

Written with a magical version of Ender Wiggin, Harry Potter is a child genius who is skilled in the ways of science and (Yudkowsky's brand of) rationality. Naturally, Eliezer toys with all the loopholes of Rowling's original works, and adds far more depth to the chara
Jul 03, 2011 Besha rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
I read this simultaneously with Bruce Sterling's Distraction, and they’re a bit intertwined for me. They both feature male protagonists who are special by birth—Oscar Valparaiso is a clone with extrahuman abilities, Harry Potter is The Boy Who Lived And Was Then Raised To Be Rational. They both involve a lot of political maneuvering, interpersonal manipulation, and being terribly clever. They’re both quite funny.

This is a web serial, reimagining JK Rowling with a single point of divergence: Petu
Waking Nightingales
With a mix of Evil Genius and the original Harry Potter this is not my cup of tea. Because it is actually a fanfiction that I couldn't finish on account of the wording, patterns, and over all writing of it. I loved the humor, and that was about it.
Dont bother. There are better books teaching about bias and scientific thinking and there is better HP fan fic.
Mar 16, 2015 Marko rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf-f
I have troubles finding proper words to describe this book.

Objectively speaking, it has its flaws. The style is uneven, and the pathos can get a bit too much, for a start. Even allowing for genius-level intellects, some of the younger characters are too precocious for their 11/12-year old selves, no matter the upbringing or special circumstances.

But seeing rigorous logic and scientific method applied to the world of Harry Potter was awesome. Yudkowsky is also quite a good motivational speaker, a
Mar 15, 2015 Una rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: kraukļanagiem
Recommended to Una by: brālis
Šī grāmata* ir pretencioza, didaktiska un vietām neticami bezgaumīga. Tā nav arī nekāds īpašais vārda mākslas meistardarbs; autors ir amatieris, un tas ir redzams; uzrakstīts ir pieklājīgā līmenī, bet bez kādas pārliekas verbālas vai strukturālas uguņošanas. Un nē, es neesmu prombūtnes laikā aizmirsusi, kā lietot Goodreads zvaigznīšu sistēmu.
5 zvaigznītes ir "it was amazing". Nav neviena cita pēdējos gados lasīta stāsta, par ko es subjektīvi godīgi varētu tik skaidri to teikt. HPMOR's ir bijis ā
Quite fun, but lots of wishful thinking by the author.
I never thought I'd say this, but Rowling is way more realistic! True, she made lots of irrational mistakes, some of which are taken up in this fic (such as the purchasing power of a Galleon, stupidity of Quidditch rules, and rules of magic - Rowling just never bothered to make up a consistent set, the only thing she could do was to write "they took a lot of complicated notes on Transfiguration"). And people in Rowling's books do not act logi
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From Wikipedia:

Eliezer Shlomo Yudkowsky is an American artificial intelligence researcher concerned with the singularity and an advocate of friendly artificial intelligence, living in Redwood City, California.

Yudkowsky did not attend high school and is an autodidact with no formal education in artificial intelligence. He co-founded the nonprofit Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (
More about Eliezer Yudkowsky...
Three Worlds Collide The Less Wrong Sequences The Sword of Good Rationality: From AI to Zombies Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres and the Methods of Rationality (Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, #1)

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“I only want power so I can get books.” 79 likes
“World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation.” 58 likes
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