author of Freakonomics
Do you care about making the world a better place? Perhaps you buy ethical products, donate to charity or volunteer your time in the name of doing good. But how often do you know what impact you really have?
William MacAskill, Research Fellow at Cambridge University, has spent the last five years developing the philosophy of effective altruism, which applies data and scientific reasoning to the normally sentimental world of doing good. In the course of his research he’s come to the remarkable conclusions that most ways of making a difference achieve little, but that, by targeting our efforts on the most effective causes, we each have an enormous power to make the world a better place.
In Doing Good Better MacAskill introduces the principles underlying effective altruism and sets out a practical guide to increasing your impact through your charity, volunteering, purchases and choice of cause. On a whistle-stop tour of the key issues facing a would-be do-gooder, he’ll answer questions like:
Why are some charities far more effective than others?
How can cosmetic surgeons do more good than charity workers?
Does boycotting sweatshops make things better or worse for the global poor?
Through its new approach and challenging conclusions, Doing Good Better is set to spark off a global debate on what it really means to make a difference.
“Doing Good Better is a superb achievement. Will MacAskill, a leader of the effective altruism movement, and a rising star in philosophy, now displays his talent for telling stories that pack a punch. This must-read book will lead people to change their careers, their lives, and the world, for the better.”
—Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, author of Animal Liberation, Practical Ethics and The Life You Can Save
“Humanity currently spends more money on cigarette ads than on making sure that we as a species survive this century. We've got our priorities all wrong, and we need effective altruism to right them. If you want to make a real difference on the biggest issues of our time, you need to read Doing Good Better."
—Jaan Tallinn, Cofounder of Skype, Kazaa and Metamed
“Occasionally in life, you get the pleasure of encountering a new way of thinking about the world that feels obviously true and important, yet had never occurred to you before. I predict this book will spark such an experience for many. MacAskill leads his readers on a witty, incisive tour through the ideas and applications of effective altruism, which seems increasingly poised to become a dominant social movement of the 21st century.”
—Julia Galef, President and cofounder of the Centre for Applied Rationality
“MacAskill tackles a monumental question: how can we make the biggest difference for the greatest number of people? His answer is a grand vision to make giving, volunteering, spending, and working more worthwhile.”
—Adam Grant, Class of 1965 Wharton Professor of Management at Wharton School, author of Give and Take
"Effective altruism drives a stake through common but ill-conceived notions about what 'doing good' means, and offers a real alternative in its place. The importance of this movement cannot be underestimated: it's going to be huge, and Will's book will be a centerpiece."
—Aubrey de Grey, Chief Science Officer at SENS Research Foundation
"Will has a rare combination of gifts — the intelligence to develop new ideas, the clarity to convey them to a wider audience, and the motivation to bring them to life in the real world. Will has motivated a small army of the most talented young people to dedicate their lives to doing good, and it's been my pleasure to get to know them. Humanity faces some big challenges in the 21st century, and I'm glad the effective altruism movement exists to tackle them."
—Eric Drexler, Oxford Martin School, author of Engines of Creation
“William MacAskill shows that we can make a surprisingly large life-changing difference to those in disadvantaged parts of the world — provided that our altruistic impulses are intelligently channelled. This fascinating and clearly-written book deserves wide readership: it can in itself do great good if its message is heeded.”
—Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, author of Our Final Hour
"Effective altruism — efforts that actually help people rather than making you feel good or helping you show off — is one of the great new ideas of the 21st century. Doing Good Better is the definitive guide to this exciting new movement."
—Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature