Last updated: 4th October, 2023
Some EA groups like to hold book clubs. These are usually held over several weeks, with one or two chapters of a book discussed each week. Book clubs can:
- Eencourage group members to read books they might want to read, but otherwise wouldn’t get around to
- Help group members get a deeper understanding than they would by reading alone
- Provide a space for group members to delve deeply into a topic
- Often have more consistent attendance than a similar number of one-off discussion events.
This post on "How to run a high-energy reading group" by Tessa has some suggested formats for reading groups. Other formats are mentioned on our discussion groups page, and discussion facilitation tips are available on our facilitation guide.
CEA is able to provide funding for books. Check out our guide on Getting Books for Members for more information.
1. Recommended Books
Some organisers decide on which books to read by asking group members for suggestions and then voting among the suggestions. You can also suggest a book you would like to organize a book club on for your group.
Before choosing a book, check out a review or two and scan through the book to gauge the level, then advertise your book club accordingly.
Below is a list of books that may be relevant to your group, sorted by subject area. You can also look at the Effective Altruism books list on Goodreads for more ideas.
a. Popular EA books for book clubs
- Doing Good Better by William MacAskill
- EA Estonia’s book group guide has sample questions
- The Precipice by Toby Ord. See here for discussion group guidance.
- EA Virtual Programs has a curriculum with sample questions for this
- What We Owe The Future by William MacAskill
- This is a guide for a 6-week reading group on the book by Aris Richardson from EA UC Berkeley
- The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t by Julia Galef
- The 80,000 Hours book by Benjamin Todd (or their more updated key ideas guide - both are free to download)
- Superforecasting by Philip Tetlock
- Rationality: From AI to Zombies (also known as The Sequences) by Eliezer Yudkowsky (free to download)
- Highlights from The Sequences
- Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky (available online for free)
- Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (Note: Some findings from studies in this book have not held up in replication studies)
- Strangers Drowning: Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Urge to Help by Larissa MacFaquhar
- Moral Uncertainty by William MacAskill, Krister Bykvist, Toby Ord (more technical, free pdf here)
- Ethics into Action by Peter Singer
d. Artificial Intelligence
- Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom (More technical)
- The Alignment Problem: How Can Machines Learn Human Values? by Brian Christian
- Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control by Stuart Russell
- The AI Does Not Hate You by Tom Chivers (good intro to AI safety culture)
- Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark
- The Age of Em by Robin Hanson
- Soonish by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith
e. Global Health and Development
- How to Launch a High-Impact Nonprofit (The Charity Entrepreneurship Handbook) by Joey Savoie, Patrick Stadler, and Antonia Shann
- This book teaches concepts and skills that are useful for starting or working in a high-impact nonprofit (including those outside global health and development).
- The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer (free to download)
- Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo
- Good Economics for Hard Times by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo
f. Animal Welfare
- How to Create a Vegan World: A Pragmatic Approach by Tobias Leenaert
- The End of Factory Farming by Jacy Reese
- Compassion, by the Pound by F. Bailey Norwood and Jayson L. Lusk
- Meathooked by Martha Zaraska
2. Other Resources
- Risto Uuk from EA Estonia's Reading Group Guide for EA Groups
- Tessa Alexanian's How to Run a High-Energy Reading Group