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Key Ideas

This series of talks and articles covers the core ideas of effective altruism. We think it's a great place to start if you're interested in learning more.

Start reading

… or see the contents below:

Principles

How should we work out how to do good?

What is EA really about?

It's easy to misunderstand effective altruism. This article from 80,000 Hours lays out some of the most common misconceptions and explains what the movement is really about.

We also address many common questions about EA, as well as objections to it, on this page of our site.

The Long-Term Future

Effective altruism often emphasizes the long-term impact of different interventions. These articles explain why.

Promising causes

Selecting which problem to work on is crucial to having the biggest impact possible. These articles discuss a variety of problems, and why we might, or might not, want to focus on them.

Animal Welfare

Why you might, and might not, want to work on improving animal welfare.

Choosing a Charity

80,000 Hours, which provides advice on finding a high-impact career, has also written out a step-by-step guide to finding effective charities.

In the guide, they explain:

  • How to choose a promising cause
  • How to evaluate a charity's funding needs
  • Where to find expert donors whose advice you can follow if you'd prefer not to rely on your own research

Podcasts

Doing Good Better is a short podcast series which introduces effective altruism. It is centred around three questions: Why? How? and What?


In the 80,000 Hours Podcast, Rob Wiblin interviews experts from a range of fields about how best to tackle the world's most pressing problems.

Videos

Our YouTube channel features videos from Effective Altruism Global and EAGx conferences around the world.

We've created playlists for talks on a variety of topics; you can also check out a playlist featuring more than 100 talks from female, trans, and non-binary speakers, courtesy of WANBAM.

Subscribe to our Youtube channel


Books

Doing Good Better 

An introduction to some of the key principles of effective altruism

William MacAskill

80,000 Hours 

How to find a fulfilling and highly impactful career

Benjamin Todd

The Most Good You Can Do 

Describes the practical and philosophical impacts of the EA movement

Peter Singer

The Life You Can Save 

Peter Singer

The Precipice 

On the greatest risks to the future of human civilization, and how we can prevent them

Toby Ord

Superintelligence 

Sets out Bostrom’s views on how artificial intelligence is likely to develop, and the risks that it will pose

Nick Bostrom

Human Compatible 

Superhuman AI would be very difficult to control, and could pose a severe threat to humanity. Russell holds that we can prevent the worst outcomes by rethinking how we design AI systems.

Stuart Russell

Other Research

In recent years, the effective altruism community has created a lot of good content. Unfortunately, some of that content can be hard to find. We have therefore put together a series of the best research from recent years, including ideas that aren't as widely accepted than the ideas above.

We designed this section for people who are already familiar with some of the core content, and want to understand the ideas in more depth.

How Much Evidence Is Enough?

Argues that we should pursue interventions which have not been conclusively proved, but that we should go on collecting evidence beyond that point.

Further Resources

EA Hub has built a vast collection of resources, including:

  • A guide to major EA-aligned organizations
  • Links to many of the biggest EA-related Facebook groups
  • Ideas for talking about EA with other people
  • A glossary of terms commonly used in the EA community

See the full collection here.