Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism and How You Can Make a Difference by William Macaskill

Summary

  1. Macaskill lays out some questions and reasoning for how to figure out how to best do effective altruism
Key Takeaways
  1. Play pump got a lot of hype and funding but backfired since it was less effective and didn’t take into accounts the native’s needs and wants
  2. Deworming kids in Kenya one of the most effective things to improve education. Allowed children to attend school more often and work more since not sick as much. The increased tax revenue from their work ended up paying for the entire deworming program!
  3. Must think about nonprofit donating like investing. Do what’s most effective and not what’s emotionally appealing. Helping the largest amount of people by the most effective means is what Macaskill considers effective altruism
  4. Doing what we can – pledge Macaskill set up to donate 10% of income to most effective charities which are hundreds of times more effective than merely good charities
  5. 80,000 hours – provides advice on how to choose a career that will make the biggest difference
  6. Americans so wealthy that additional income can help those overseas hundreds of times more than it helps themselves. The 100x multiplier 
  7. QALY – metric to help determine where your money is best spent
  8. Career – how satisfying is my job? How good can I become at this job and also relative to other people and other careers? How many people can I influence? How well does this job open opportunities for the future?
  9. Important characteristics of your work – independence, sense of completion, variety, feedback, contribution
  10. Following passion a bad idea, rather look for the important qualities in a job
  11. Interview questions – what are the most important traits to succeed? Why do people leave? How have similar candidates performed in the past?
  12. Early in career look to build skills, network and credentials in order to have greater impact later in life
  13. Overall theme is that help and money is multiples more effective in poor countries than US or other wealthier nations but still important to work with or donate to most effective charities
  14. Specifies Cool Earth, Deworm Initiative and Give Directly as great charities and recommends setting up a regular donation of even just $10 per month
What I got out of it
  1. A worthwhile reading discussing how we can be most effective with our time, donations and careers. The 100x multiplier is a powerful concept – the same amount of money can do 100x more good in a very poor country than a wealthy one

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