Recommended reads that are in line with using an evidence-based approach to understand and improve the world.
These books range in topics such as effective altruism, global poverty alleviation, high impact careers, farm animal welfare, artificial intelligence risks and more.
The Life You Can Save
By Peter Singer (2009)
A page turner and a simple read. But also expect to be challenged by the ethical arguments that Singer makes in this book.
The title says it all. There is a life that you can make a difference in and it's within our capacity to help someone. We can all play a part to prevent unnecessary suffering and deaths in this world.
Find out how.
Doing Good Better
By William MacAskill (2015)
Highly recommended for those interested in understanding effective altruism (EA).
By asking certain key questions, we can think differently, try to set aside biases, and use evidence and careful reasoning rather than act on impulse. When we apply the head and the heart to each of our altruistic endeavors, each of us has the power to do an astonishing amount of good.
By Benjamin Todd (2016)
You have about 80,000 hours in your career. Make the right choices, and you can help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, as well as have a more rewarding, interesting life.
Based on research, this guide aims to help you find a career that you enjoy, you’re good at, and that tackles the world’s most pressing problems.
The Most Good You Can Do
By Peter Singer (2015)
Some people have made conscious decisions to prioritize effective giving as they negotiate their career choices, family lives, and relationships with those they love.
It is possible for each of us to find ways of bettering the lives of the global poor—and that doing so often holds substantial personal and psychological rewards for those who chose to give. Find out their stories here.
By Nick Bostrom (2014)
It is unknown whether human-level artificial intelligence will arrive in a matter of years, later this century, or not until future centuries.
Superintelligence asks the questions: what happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life.
Considering the implications might help avert an existential catastrophe for humans.
Effective Altruism Handbook (2nd Ed.)
Edited by Centre for Effective Altruism (2018)
A collection of blog posts and short articles that have been written by people who are engaged in effective altruism (EA).
The main themes are on charity evaluation, career choice and cause selection.
A book from the community for the community.
THE END OF ANIMAL FARMING: How Scientists, Entrepreneurs, and Activists Are Building an Animal-Free Food System
By Jacy Reese (2018)
A bold yet realistic vision of how technology and social change are creating a food system in which we no longer use animals to produce meat, dairy, or eggs.
This book pushes this conversation forward by outlining a strategic roadmap to a humane, ethical, and efficient food system in which slaughterhouses are obsolete—where the tastes of even the most die-hard meat eater are satisfied by innovative food technologies like cultured meats and plant-based protein.
Humanity increasingly treats nonhuman animals, from household pets to orca whales, with respect and kindness, and Reese argues that farmed animals are the next step.
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think.
By Hans Rosling, with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund (2018)
This book offers us a new framework for how to think about the world. The world can be both bad and better.
Instead of simply dividing the world into ‘developed’ and ‘developing’, explore the four income levels offered to help us better understand the world.
The bulk of the book addresses ten instincts that we tend to have — ranging from the fear instinct (we pay more attention to scary things) to the size instinct (standalone numbers often look more impressive) to the gap instinct. With each one, the Roslings offer practical advice about how to overcome our innate biases.
Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
By Steven Pinker (2018)
The values of the Enlightenment are based on reason, science, humanism and progress.
If you follow the headlines, the world in the 21st century appears to be sinking into chaos, hatred, and irrationality. But Pinker provides us with evidence that our lives have become longer, healthier, safer, happier, more peaceful, more stimulating and more prosperous - not just in the West, but worldwide.
With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.
Life 3.0: Being human in the age of artificial intelligence
By Max Tegmark (2017)
How will Artificial Intelligence affect crime, war, justice, jobs, society and our very sense of being human?
The rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more than any other technology.
What sort of future do you want? This book empowers you to join what may be the most important conversation of our time. It doesn’t shy away from the full range of viewpoints or from the most controversial issues—from superintelligence to meaning, consciousness and the ultimate physical limits on life in the cosmos.