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  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Short-term, Medium-term, Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:New, Familiar

Solving the world's most important problems naturally requires skills, talent, and experience. Rather than immediately donating or volunteering, it is often better for someone new to effective altruism to start by becoming better educated about its theory and practice. The aspiration to do the most good takes more than just good intentions; there’s a lot of evidence and careful reasoning needed to successfully maximize your impact.

But with seemingly endless things to read on the topic, where should you start?

We recommend starting with our introduction to effective altruism. This article gives an overview of the motivation and thinking behind the idea, and offers links throughout to guide your curiosity.

If you're looking for more depth, we’ve compiled a series of articles that touch on many of the basic concepts, as well as a couple of videos and a few books that offer a lay of the land. If you’re trying to work through which focus area you should prioritize, check out the cause prioritization tool and the promising areas profiles. If you are or would consider using your career to pursue EA goals, 80,000 Hours’ career guide provides lots of information not only about job choice but also the associated EA considerations. For a structured introduction that keeps you accountable, you might prefer the Effective Altruism Coursera course.

Familiar readers may get more value from joining the discussion on the Effective Altruism Forum, where authors from around the community go into depth on important considerations in their domains of relative expertise.

EA community regulars can extend their options by checking out posts on individual EA blogs. (If you fall into this category, you may also want to consider contributing to the conversation yourself as a writer on the EA Forum or a researcher with a related organization.)