Book of the Week

Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism And A Radical New Way To Make A Difference by William MacAskill. Photo: PA Photo/Guardian Faber Publishing.
Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism And A Radical New Way To Make A Difference by William MacAskill. Photo: PA Photo/Guardian Faber Publishing.

Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism And A Radical New Way To Make A Difference by William MacAskill

The ice bucket challenge, no make-up selfies and Movember are some of the many popular social media campaigns that reveal just how much the British public like to help a good cause. But are we helping effectively?

This is the question posed by Scottish philosopher William MacAskill. He argues that we can - and should - apply critical thinking to decide which charity our money goes to or what we can do to help so it has the most impact, a movement he calls effective altruism. It is the premise of his groundbreaking book Doing Good Better.

It’s very difficult to disagree with him here. Offering a brilliant, smart and refreshing take on the best way to make a difference in the world, MacAskill’s wonderfully written vision will strike a chord with anyone who has ever wanted to help a cause.

The principles of effective altruism and how we can apply it in our everyday lives - whether through donating money, volunteering or choosing careers - is explained well and concisely in a down-to-earth and accessible tone.

It’s clear MacAskill has many experiences to draw from, being co-founder of non-profit groups Giving What We Can and 80,000 Hours, and he makes many insightful points.

Using his own knowledge and numerous case studies, peppered with the odd graphics to illustrate economic points, he makes a solid argument for using our heads over our hearts when it comes to doing good.

This will no doubt be an essential guide for those wanting to make a meaningful contribution to the world.