Doing Good Better - How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference

William MacAskill

Published by Blackstone Audio
ISBN 10: 1469096021 / ISBN 13: 9781469096025
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Synopsis: Most of us want to make a difference. We donate our time and money to charities and causes we deem worthy, choose careers we consider meaningful, and patronize businesses and buy products we believe make the world a better place. Unfortunately, we often base these decisions on assumptions and emotions rather than facts. As a result, even our best intentions often lead to ineffective--and sometimes downright harmful--outcomes. How can we do better?While a researcher at Oxford, trying to figure out which career would allow him to have the greatest impact, William MacAskill confronted this problem head on. He discovered that much of the potential for change was being squandered by lack of information, bad data, and our own prejudice. As an antidote, he and his colleagues developed effective altruism, a practical, data-driven approach that allows each of us to make a tremendous difference regardless of our resources. Effective altruists believe that it's not enough to simply do good; we must do good better.At the core of this philosophy are five key questions that help guide our altruistic decisions: How many people benefit, and by how much? Is this the most effective thing I can do? Is this area neglected? What would have happened otherwise? What are the chances of success, and how good would success be? By applying these questions to real-life scenarios, MacAskill shows how many of our assumptions about doing good are misguided. For instance, he argues one can potentially save more lives by becoming a plastic surgeon rather than a heart surgeon; measuring overhead costs is an inaccurate gauge of a charity's effectiveness; and it generally doesn't make sense for individuals to donate to disaster relief.MacAskill urges us to think differently, set aside biases, and use evidence and careful reasoning rather than act on impulse. When we do this--when we apply the head and the heart to each of our altruistic endeavors--we find that each of us has the power to do an astonishing amount of good.

About the Author:

William MacAskill is an associate professor in philosophy at Oxford University and the cofounder of the nonprofit organizations Giving What We Can and 80,000 Hours. These nonprofits have raised over $400 million in lifetime pledged donations to charity and helped to spark the effective altruism movement. He is a contributor to Quartz, the online business magazine of the Atlantic, and he and his organizations have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and TED, among other media outlets.



Lloyd James (a.k.a. Sean Pratt) has been narrating since 1996 and has recorded over six hundred audiobooks. He is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley Jr. and Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin, among others.

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Title: Doing Good Better - How Effective Altruism ...
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
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