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 effective altruism, where should you start?
For a single article, you can't go wrong with our introduction.
But you'll get a better picture of the movement through the EA Handbook. This free resource lets you explore the movement's core ideas, so that you can start applying them to your own life.
You can also join our free online course to discuss these ideas with other people. If you have the time, this is what we recommend. For most people, a course is the best way to learn more and get involved.
As a preview, the handbook and the online course address these key questions:
- Why is it so important to focus on "effective" altruism?
- How can we tell which actions do the most good?
- Who should we care about helping?
- How should we think about the long-term impact of our actions?
- What can we do to prevent the worst possible outcome for humanity?
- How should we prepare for technology that could reshape our civilization?
- How can we improve our reasoning and make better decisions?
- Once we've learned the basics, how can we take action?
These are some of our favorite articles on effective altruism. If you'd rather explore on your own than read the handbook or take a course, start here!
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.)
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-inspired research organizations cover 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
There are also many Facebook groups for different communities (parents, artists, etc.) and cause areas (mental health, animal advocacy, etc.) within the broader EA movement.
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".