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*Disclaimer: I am building the learning and memory tool called Thought Saver, which allows you to embed flashcards on the forum! 



You can revise the key takeaways from What We Owe the Future with our new flashcard deck on Thought Saver. Scroll to the end of this post to see the embedded flashcards.


Will MacAskill's new book What We Owe The Future has been out for a few weeks now. I am sure many of you finished it on the first day, some are reaching the last hurdles, or maybe you've been too busy, and you need that extra push to get the book! We have a set of key facts and takeaways from the book so that you can remember the most important parts after you've read it! After all, how often do you read a book and forget all the key ideas? 

Remembering key facts from WWOTF can help you to set a better mental base rate, enabling you to evaluate how important the magnitude of one problem is compared to another. 

Example of better base rates 

Without a base rate, it's hard to understand the size of a problem. For example, it's very hard to comprehend how important the future lives of humanity are (and how much we should care about future humans) unless we know: 

A) how many humans there are on the earth today (8 Billion) and 

B) how many humans lived across the entirety of humanity (100 Billion)

However, knowing both of these facts helps us better understand the problem's order of magnitude.

The team at Thought Saver and I use flashcards to remember the most important things in life, things that we want to recall at the tip of our fingers. We use flashcards when we want to reprogram actions, remember base rates, use a mental model, or put learning into action.

Why spaced repetition for books?

Spaced repetition is one of the most effective ways to remember key ideas! When I read a book, I want to make sure I take away the most important information. We already spend ~6 hours reading a book, but if we don’t revise the material again afterward, we often remember very little! Investing a little bit of extra time in spaced repetition can have high payoffs for you in the future. So instead of just reading WWOTF, we suggest you also revise flashcards about it using a spaced repetition system - you could say that you owe it to your future self. :P


Here is a sneak peek of our Thought Saver flashcards for each chapter of the book. Thought Saver ranks your flashcards with our algorithm based on an "importance" score, so if a flashcard isn't valuable to you, select "never," and you don't need to remember it forever!

Chapter 1: The Case for Longtermism

Chapter 2: You Can Shape the Course of History

Chapter 3: Moral Change

Chapter 4: Value Lock-In

Chapter 5: Extinction

Chapter 6: Collapse

Chapter 7: Stagnation

Chapter 8: Is it Good to Make Happy People?

Chapter 9: Will the Future Be Good or Bad?

Chapter 10: What to Do

Anki Flashcards

Prefer to use Anki? Get the same set of flashcards in the Anki format here.*Note this link won't work for 24 hours as it takes 24 hours to be shareable on Anki Web!* 


Thanks to Will MackAskill’s team for all their help in creating this deck!


  • Is this valuable to you?
  • Would you like to see more key takeaways from books in flashcard format? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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I suggest adding your anki deck to the EA anki deck list!
(I took the liberty of adding your link but didn't feel qualified to fully add an entry - please add it!)

Cool, thanks! Who made this deck in Will’s team?

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