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Effective altruism learning resources

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Since the mid-2000s, effective altruism has grown considerably as a movement. The goal is to choose one's altruistic actions with the goal of doing as much good as possible and as effectively as possible. There are a number of different groups promoting effective altruism, and their websites provide information that can help you get started on understanding the general principles.

Trello list of starting points

See Effective Altruist Introductory Resources for a list of books, videos, and blogs intended to introduce people to effective altruist ideas. The list is not created or maintained by us.

Organizations or group websites interested in effective altruism

Organization/website What they do Starting point for learners Things to follow and read
Effective Altruism Forum A discussion forum for topics related to effective altruism. Formerly the effective altruism blog. Some posts linked on their introduction page: What is Effective Altruism? by William MacAskill, Effective Altruism by Holden Karnofsky, and Four Focus Areas of Effective Altruism by Luke Muehlhauser. It might be worth reading the discussions.
GiveWell Non-profit dedicated to doing the most good possible. Their primary consumer-facing product is recommendations for top charities to donate to, across all causes (rather than providing a top charity separately for each cause). In addition, they evaluate claims about a diverse range of activities (such as scientific research and political advocacy) that people have claimed might be highly effective ways of improving the world. Giving 101: the basics is a useful primer that reviews many basic effective altruism ideas, such as differences between standards of living in different parts of the world, room for more funding and triage (the one-charity argument). Follow their blog and skim through their detailed reviews of top charities as well as their shallow cause overviews.
Giving What We Can Non-profit dedicated to advocating that people donate more money to charity, as well as providing suggestions about top charities to donate to. They rely on GiveWell's research plus some in-house research to make recommendations. The charity evaluation methodology might be the most educational and informative place to start, but it may be fruitful to check out the why give? and where to give pages first to get some background and context. Follow their blog


Effective altruism in connection with career choice and life trajectory

Further information: Choosing a career with effective altruism as a dominant consideration

Organization What they do Starting point for learners Things to follow and read
80,000 Hours Combine publicly available research as well as personalized career guidance to guide people on career choice, where the people they guide have effective altruism as a primary consideration in career choice. Research page Their blog is worth following if this topic interests you.

Personal blogs of individuals interested in effective altruism

Other useful starting points

Combined feeds

  • EA Medley maintained by Peter Hurford is a RSS feed combining many effective altruism-related blogs.

Online communities for general discussion

  • Effective Altruists Facebook group (read here for the group guidelines)
  • Effective Altruism Forum
  • The comments sections of some of the blogs linked above.
  • LessWrong often has blog posts on effective altruism and many people in the LessWrong community are interested in effective altruism.
  • You might also be interested in forums related to utilitarianism, including Felicifia and many Facebook groups.

Key terminology

Links are to Wikipedia pages or other canonical sources:

See also