Podcast with Ben Todd covering the key ideas of 80,000 Hours (2h 57m)

by Robert_Wiblin2 min read9th Mar 2020No comments

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I thought I'd cross-post this episode as in it Ben Todd and I talk about many topics that have come up on the EA Forum regularly — difficulty getting jobs, what to think about career capital, how much risk to take, how we're most often misunderstood, and plenty else besides.

If you want to have a bigger impact with your career this is very likely the most useful interview for you that we've released yet.

Listen to the episode, read a full transcript, or see the post on our site.

You can also get the episode by subscribing to our podcast on the world’s most pressing problems and how to solve them: type 80,000 Hours into your podcasting app.


Potentially, due to technology and all the amazing wealth that we find ourselves with, and potentially the moment of history that we’re in, our actions today actually can have these really big effects on the long-term wellbeing of large numbers of people. — Ben Todd

The 80,000 Hours Podcast is about “the world’s most pressing problems and how you can use your career to solve them”, and in this episode we tackle that question in the most direct way possible.

Last year we published a summary of all our key ideas, which links to many of our other articles, and which we are aiming to keep updated as our opinions shift.

All of us added something to it, but the single biggest contributor was our CEO and today's guest, Ben Todd, who founded 80,000 Hours along with Will MacAskill back in 2012.

This key ideas page is the most read on the site. By itself it can teach you a large fraction of the most important things we've discovered since we started investigating high impact careers.

But it's perhaps more accurate to think of it as a mini-book, as it weighs in at over 20,000 words.

Fortunately it's designed to be highly modular and it's easy to work through it over multiple sessions, scanning over the articles it links to on each topic.

Perhaps though, you'd prefer to absorb our most essential ideas in conversation form, in which case this episode is for you.

If you want to have a big impact with your career, and you say you're only going to read one article from us, we recommend you read our key ideas page.

And likewise, if you're only going to listen to one of our podcast episodes, it should be this one. We have fun and set a strong pace, running through:

  • The most common misunderstandings of our advice
  • A high level overview of what 80,000 Hours generally recommends
  • Our key moral positions
  • What are the most pressing problems to work on and why?
  • Which careers effectively contribute to solving these problems?
  • Central aspects of career strategy like how to weigh up career capital, personal fit, and exploration
  • As well as plenty more.

One benefit of this podcast over the article is that we can more easily communicate uncertainty, and dive into the things we're least sure about, or didn’t yet cover within the article.

Note though that our what’s in the article is more precisely stated, our advice is going to keep shifting, and we're aiming to keep the key ideas page current as our thinking evolves over time. This episode was recorded in November 2019, so if you notice a conflict between the page and this episode in the future, go with the page!

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