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"Beautifully written and extremely smart. Doing Good Bettershould be required reading for anyone interested in making the world better."
—Steven Levitt, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and author of Freakonomics
Doing Good Better(2015) by William MacAskill Most of us want to make a difference. We donate our time and money to causes we deem worthy, choose careers we consider meaningful, and buy products we believe make the world a better place. Unfortunately, we often base these decisions on pure emotions rather than facts. As a result, even our best intentions often lead to ineffective and sometimes downright harmful outcomes.
Oxford researcher William MacAskill discovered that much of the potential for doing better was wasted by lack of information, bad data, and our own prejudice. As an antidote, he and his colleagues started effective altruism, a practical, data-driven approach that allows each of us to make a tremendous difference regardless of our resources.
At the core of this philosophy are five key questions that help guide our altruistic decisions: How many people benefit, and by how much?Is this the most effective thing I can do?Is this area neglected?What would have happened otherwise?What are the chances of success, and how good would success be? By applying these questions to real-life scenarios, MacAskill shows how many of our assumptions about doing good are misguided. For instance, he argues one can potentially save more lives by becoming a plastic surgeon rather than a heart surgeon; measuring overhead costs is an inaccurate gauge of a charity's effectiveness; and, it generally doesn't make sense to donate to disaster relief.
MacAskill urges us to think differently, set aside biases, and use evidence and careful reasoning rather than act on impulse. When we do this when we apply the head "and "the heart to each of our altruistic endeavors we find that each of us has the power to do an astonishing amount of good.
"Singer makes a strong case for a simple idea—that each of us has a tremendous opportunity to help others with our abilities, time and money. The Most Good You Can Do is an optimistic and compelling look at the positive impact that giving can have on the world."
—Bill and Melinda Gates, co-chairs of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
The Most Good You Can Do (2015) by Peter Singer Peter Singer's books and ideas have been disturbing our complacency ever since the appearance of Animal Liberation. Now he directs our attention to a new movement in which his own ideas have played a crucial role: effective altruism. Effective altruism is built upon the simple but profound idea that living a fully ethical life involves doing the "most good you can do." Such a life requires an unsentimental view of charitable giving: to be a worthy recipient of our support, an organization must be able to demonstrate that it will do more good with our money or our time than other options open to us.
Singer introduces us to an array of remarkable people who are restructuring their lives in accordance with these ideas, and shows how living altruistically often leads to greater personal fulfillment than living for oneself. The Most Good You Can Do develops the challenges Singer has made, in the New York Times and Washington Post, to those who donate to the arts, and to charities focused on helping our fellow citizens, rather than those for whom we can do the most good.
Effective altruists are extending our knowledge of the possibilities of living less selfishly, and of allowing reason, rather than emotion, to determine how we live. The Most Good You Can Do offers new hope for our ability to tackle the world's most pressing problems.
"Poor Economics is a must-read for anyone who cares about world poverty. It has been years since I read a book that taught me so much. This book represents the best that economics has to offer."
—Steven D. Levitt, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and author of Freakonomics
Poor Economics (2011) by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo Why would a man in Morocco who doesn't have enough to eat buy a television? Why do the poorest people in India spend 7 percent of their food budget on sugar? Does having lots of children actually make you poorer?
This eye-opening book overturns the myths about what it is like to live on very little, revealing the unexpected decisions that millions of people make every day. Looking at some of the most paradoxical aspects of life below the poverty line - why the poor need to borrow in order to save, why incentives that seem effective to us may not be for them, and why, despite being more risk-taking than high financiers, they start businesses but rarely grow them - Banerjee and Duflo offer a new understanding of the surprising way the world really works.
Through their work, Banerjee and Duflo look at some of the most surprising facets of poverty: why they miss out on free life-saving immunizations but pay for drugs that they do not need, and many other puzzling facts about living with less than 99 cents per day. Poor Economics argues that so much of anti-poverty policy has failed over the years because of an inadequate understanding of poverty. The battle against poverty can be won, but it will take patience, careful thinking and a willingness to learn from evidence.
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