80,000 Hours is compiling anonymous advice from people whose work we respect — here are the first 4 entries

by 80000_Hours 15d27th Nov 20191 min readNo comments

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Earlier this year 80,000 Hours posted a set of anonymous career advice from someone who wasn’t able to go on the record with their opinions.

It was well received, so we thought we’d try a second round, this time interviewing a larger number of people we think have had impressive careers so far, and offering to publish their answers without attribution.

To date we've released 6 entries, and there are many yet to come:

  1. “Is there any career advice you'd be hesitant to give if it were going to be attributed to you?”
  2. “How have you seen talented people fail in their work?”
  3. “What’s the thing people most overrate in their career?”
  4. “If you were 18 again, what would you do differently this time around? And other personal career reflections.”
  5. How risk averse should talented young people be?
  6. Among people trying to improve the world, what are the bad habits you see most often?

It seems like a lot of successful people have interesting thoughts that they’d rather not share with their names attached, on sensitive and mundane topics alike, and for a variety of reasons. For example, they might be reluctant to share personal opinions if some readers would interpret them as “officially” representing their organizations.

The other main goal is to showcase a diversity of opinions on these topics. This collection includes advice that members of the 80,000 Hours team disagree with (sometimes strongly). But we think our readers need to keep in mind that reasonable people can disagree on many of these difficult questions.

We chose these interviewees because we admire their work. Many (but not all) share our views on the importance of the long-term future, and some work on problems we think are particularly important.

As always, we don’t think you should ever put much weight on any single piece of advice. The views of 80,000 Hours, and of our interviewees, will often turn out to be mistaken.

Let us know your reaction and what questions you might like to have included should we do another round of interviews in future.

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