|Digital List Price:||$15.99|
|Print List Price:||$16.00|
Save $7.17 (45%)
The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Matthew Lloyd Davies is a veteran actor, audiobook narrator, and director. Throughout his acting career, he has made regular appearances with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal National Theatre, in the West End, on international tours, and in award-winning television shows and films. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"We need thinkers such as Singer to test our intuitions. . . . The encouraging message is that we do have the resources to be better. . . . This requires foremost that we believe in the goodness of others. So reading these powerful new books on the existence of altruism could be the first step to making the world a nicer place."—Stephen Cave, Financial Times
"Singer's book is bold, fresh, inspired, reasoned, optimistic. Read it and grow your brain."—Walter M. Bortz II, MD, Huffington Post Blog
"In The Most Good You Can Do, Singer lays out a rationale for effective altruism - and a provocative defense of a movement he hopes will spread . . . Singer opens up worthwhile conversations (and practical applications) related to ethical ideals."—Glenn C. Altschuler, Philadelphia Inquirer
"In a world getting ever wealthier and more unequal, a book about effective altruism is overdue. What can you be doing— realistically, practically, today—to make the world a better place? No one has thought harder about this question than Peter Singer, and he answers it with his characteristic clarity and persuasiveness."—Elie Hassenfeld and Holden Kamofsky Co-Founders and Co-Executive Directors of the Open Philanthropy Project
"Peter Singer is one of the most important thinkers of our time, and this is his most important book. Through the stories of those in the nascent effective altruism movement, he provides clear guidance on what it means to live an ethical life in the face of the world’s many problems. From charity to career choice to consumerism, this book will revolutionize how you think about doing good."—Will MacAskill, author of Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism and How You Can Make a Difference
"Provocative and important. . . .The Most GoodYou Can Do is a delight to read—Singer is a deep thinker and a wonderfully clear writer, moving smoothly from careful philosophical analyses to vivid stories of extraordinary lives. And even if you are not persuaded that effective altruism is the way to become a better—and happier—person, you will find yourself deeply unsettled by Singer’s provocative claims about poverty, climate change, animals, art, rationality, and much else."—Paul Bloom, author of Just Babies
"From the time of his 1972 paper “Famine, Affluence, and Morality,” Peter Singer has argued that we should be giving more to alleviate global suffering than we usually do. In this new book, Singer introduces us to people who are giving much more and are having fun doing it, and shows us just how easy it is to make a positive difference in the world."—Lori Gruen, author of Ethics and Animals: An Introduction
"Read Peter Singer at your own peril. His arguments about animal welfare and vegetarianism have moved millions to change their lives. The Most GoodYou Can Do will challenge you to consider how your donations, career choices, and everyday life decisions can maximize good in the world."—Rob Reich, Stanford University
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B00VQPLZX4
- Publisher : Yale University Press (April 7, 2015)
- Publication date : April 7, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 606 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 228 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #462,561 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Although he never comes out and says it, Mr. Singer's book is based on the assumption that saving as many lives as possible is "the most good you can do", even if at the end of the day having too many people on the planet leads to diminished happiness and suffering, or subjects these people to even greater suffering in the future. He argues that doing this is more important than any other cause. However, by focusing charitable resources on ensuring no one dies, he ignores the very real perils that an exploding population will have on our planet and our societies in the not-too-distant future, namely lack of food and water resources (and consequent famines), conflict over those limited resources, climate change, etc. etc. All of that, in my mind, will lead to much greater suffering around the world for everyone. Why would we want that? In a way, I liken his approach to trying to fix a gaping laceration with some band aids. For a few minutes you might feel like you've fixed the problem, it won't be long before you're back at it again.
While I certainly am not advocating that we don't have a moral obligation to help our fellow humans (we do), I personally think a much wiser and ultimately more impactful approach to giving, and one my husband and I have put into practice in our own lives, is a focus on educating women and girls to help REDUCE the world population and improve living conditions for those who exist. And there is a lot of data that supports this. When we empower women and girls, they have fewer children, the children they do have are healthier and better educated (and suffer less!), and their communities are stronger and less prone to conflict. The NYT columnist Nick Kristoff brought our attention to The Fistula Foundation as one such organization doing truly incredible things for women. There are many others out there.
This book’s premise can be summarized as follows: Giving matters, but what matters most is giving to organizations that work directly toward saving lives. Therefore, while you might have a genuine interest in the arts, in fitness, in education, and in other areas, you should refrain from giving to art museums, outdoor playgrounds, and private school foundations. You should instead focus your efforts on world hunger, disease prevention, and the like. This will help save the most lives and, until the world has significantly reduced the number of premature deaths, these live- saving charities represent the most good we can do and they should rank at the top of our charitable giving list.
Digesting what this book is all about left me with mixed feelings. I get what the book is trying to say and I must admit, I did learn about several unknown charities and charitable advisory services that do, indeed, work to save thousands of lives each year- organizations that, until I read this book, I didn’t know existed. But I have a hard time necessarily accepting this narrowed focus on giving. One could easily raise the argument, for example, that investing in education will lead to a better life for all in the long run. I do agree that there are some causes that are more about making us feel good than anything and certainly should rank lower on the list. But I’m not willing to rearrange my charitable giving to include only those non- profits that are involved in immediate saving of lives.
There were other, more specific aspects of this book that stand out in my memory. At the top of the list are the examples the book provides of certain individuals who are truly dedicated to the charitable giving cause. Some of the individuals and couples mentioned in the book give 30, 40, even 50 percent or more of their money to charities. This level of giving is, of course, unrealistic for most people. But it is inspiring to know that there are people out there who are this committed to giving back. I was also intrigued by the book’s last chapter, where the topic of human extinction is discussed. This took me by surprise but it makes sense that this topic get included since there is always that chance, however small, that humans could be destroyed by nuclear war, a massive asteroid, etc and that we should consider investing time and research to prevent some of these things from happening, whenever practical.
I have been giving to charitable causes for a long time and will always include giving as part of my monthly financial outlay. The Most Good You Can Do is a good enough book overall and worthy of a look if you’re interested in hearing about giving from a different perspective. I don’t necessarily think the book’s premise is the best, but I found enough good reading and good ideas overall to give this book a small recommendation.
Even if I hadn't, though, I think I'd have found this book compelling. The first ten or so chapters are uniformly excellent: My favorite pages were those telling the stories of dozens of people (from tech CEOs to low-income graduate students) who live extraordinarily generous lives. Singer also gives a more fluid introduction to the concepts behind effective altruism than you'd find by just reading blog posts or newspaper articles written by a variety of authors. He uses very little technical philosophy and a lot of plain language -- I finished the book in a couple of hours, and enjoyed every minute.
Why only four stars? Near the end of the book, Singer begins to explore some of the in-depth causes that certain effective altruists support. These chapters were interesting to me, but they're also filled with numbers and speculative calculation and feel "colder" than the rest of the book -- they won't appeal to everyone. Still, this is an excellent book overall, and I'd recommend it to effective altruists and non-EAs alike.
(If you've never heard of effective altruism, you may want to watch Peter Singer's TED talk on the subject before buying this book. The TED talk is free, it takes fifteen minutes to watch, and it's changed the lives of many people I know.)