This page collects our favorite resources on effective altruism, including articles, videos, and podcasts — there are many ways to learn!
See the Take Action page for ways to get involved more directly.
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If you want to learn about EA, where should you start?
For a single article, you can't go wrong with our Introduction to Effective Altruism.
But we think you'll get a better picture of the movement through the Introductory Program, a set of readings and videos that explain a range of important ideas and causes.
You can join a live discussion group to talk about these ideas with other people. But these groups have limited space, so we've also made the content available online.
The program is divided into eight sections ("sequences"), which cover:
- How we should approach the problem of "trying to do the most good".
- The biggest problems we face, and how we might be able to solve them.
- Practical ways to increase the impact of your work and/or donations.
Why is it so important to focus on "effective" altruism?
This sequence shows that despite our limited resources, we can accomplish incredible things when we think carefully and choose our causes wisely.
How can we tell which actions do the most good?
This sequence covers ways to measure your impact and find especially promising issues to work on.
Who should we care about helping?
This sequence examines the moral progress we've made as a species, and argues that we can do a lot of good by focusing on groups whose welfare is still neglected.
How should we think about the long-term impact of our actions?
This sequence makes the case that some of the most important work we can do involves trying to improve the long-term future of civilization.
What can we do to prevent the worst possible outcome for humanity?
This sequence explores the very real possibility of human extinction, and how we can work to safeguard the future of our species.
How should we prepare for the existence of technology that could reshape our civilization?
This sequence looks at two ways in which future technology could pose an existential threat to humanity, and how we can prepare to address those threats.
How can we improve our reasoning and make better decisions?
This sequence looks at ways we can generally improve our thinking, and thereby increase our impact for any problem we choose to work on.
Given all of these problems, how can we actually do good?
This sequence suggests ways to take action on a wide range of important issues. It mostly covers career choice, but also includes resources on donating money and getting involved in the EA community.
Some of our favorite individual articles, most of which don't appear in the Introductory Program.
Effective altruism isn't about solving any single problem. Instead, we use a set of shared ideas and concepts to analyze different ways of improving the world.
80,000 Hours: Key Ideas
Our favorite one-page breakdown of the aforementioned ideas and concepts. (Warning: It's a very long page.) The rest of these articles mostly expand on the content you'll find here.
Efficient Charity: Do Unto Others
"It is important to be rational about charity for the same reason it is important to be rational about Arctic exploration: it requires the same awareness of opportunity costs and the same hard-headed commitment to investigating efficient use of resources, and it may well be a matter of life and death."
Comparing global problems in terms of expected impact
This article lays out factors you can use to estimate the impact of working on a problem, including the problem's scale, how neglected it is, how easy it might be to solve, and how well-suited you are to working on it.
For another spin on the same topic, featuring MS Paint illustrations, try Owen Cotton-Barratt's "Prospecting for Gold".
Misconceptions about effective altruism
It's easy to misunderstand effective altruism. This article describes common misconceptions and explains what the movement is really about. For more, see our list of common questions and objections.
History shows that if you want to do as much good as possible, you should be open to unusual ways of thinking. These articles showcase a few of the arguments, frames, and models that have driven some of EA's most important projects.
The Drowning Child and the Expanding Circle
How far would you go to save a life?
The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant
When should we accept death and suffering as inevitable?
When should we embrace high-risk, high-reward philanthropy, even if we think a project is likely to fail?
Modeling the Human Trajectory
If economic growth keeps accelerating, what does that mean for our future? How can we raise the odds of humanity going down one of the "good paths"?
The wild frontier of animal welfare
Should humans try harder to protect even wild creatures from predators and disease? Should we care whether they live good lives?
Are we living at the most influential time in history?
Is this our best chance to change the future? What resources should we save for descendants who might make better use of them?
Choosing which cause to work on is crucial to maximizing your impact. These articles from EA research organizations describe the problems they see as most important, as well as ideas on how to solve them.
80,000 Hours helps people find careers with high potential for social impact. This page links to a number of writeups they've done on various causes, including advice for getting involved.
- Reducing global catastrophic biological risks
- Reducing extreme risks from climate change
- Improving the way major institutions direct their resources toward solving problems
Open Philanthropy is the largest foundation in effective altruism. This page links to the problems they work on, the grants they've made, and the reports they've written on how they see the world.
- Supporting scientific research to improve global health
- Advocating for criminal justice reform
- Addressing potential risks from advanced artificial intelligence
GiveWell, a research organization focused on global health and poverty alleviation, outlines the most promising ways they've found to save and improve lives.
Giving What We Can, a community of impact-focused donors, offers an excellent set of giving recommendations.
While this is our favorite resource, and we recommend it highly, you can see some other suggestions on this page.
In your career, you'll probably spend tens of thousands of hours working. How can you best use this time to improve the world?
80,000 Hours has helped over a thousand people find more impactful careers. In the process, they've built a huge collection of free resources on career planning.
We especially recommend their 8-week course, which takes you through their advice step by step. It's designed to be helpful for people with any level of work experience.
The Effective Altruism Forum is an active platform for discussing topics in effective altruism, from scientific research to community building.
Some useful links:
- Get a weekly email with the best new posts
- Read the most popular posts of all time
- Find resources to help you read, write, and connect
You could fill an entire library with books that relate to the goals of effective altruism. These are just a few of our favorites.
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.
Doing Good Better is a short podcast series which introduces effective altruism, covering some of the same content you'll find in the Introductory Program.
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.
80,000 Hours has compiled a set of episodes that are a good starting point for people new to EA — "Effective Altruism: An Introduction".
Finally, there's EARadio, which provides audio from live talks at EA conferences. You'll get lots of variety, but some talks may be confusing without slides or video.
The Effective Altruism Hub has a vast collection of material, including:
- A guide to major EA-aligned organizations
- Links to many of the biggest EA-related Facebook groups
- A glossary of terms commonly used in the EA community
See the collection here.