I think it's important to refer back to text and philosophy in the strive towards altruism, but there is something to be said about the knowledge we gain from experience; life itself. I've lived in Costa Rica for the past year, and I think altruism is what leads the locals in their daily lives, and life here is very simple, no frills, back to basics.
I've had to forego the simple luxuries of the first world - fancy cheese, starbucks, vineyards, strip malls, being able to flush toiler paper(!), the list goes on. And farmer's markets here are the norm, and the most economically beneficial(for the buyer and seller) - not some sort of gentrified weekend exhibit to splurge on fancy jam, which is usually the case in a first-world, metropolitan area.
The adjustment, personally, was painful and it still is. I envy the locals for their ability to be so happy, so generous and so open, all of this held up without the backbone of consumerism. In my experience, people who are altruistic by nature - whether that be a derivative of their culture or upbringing, free of the usual burdens of consumerism and wealth-driven objectives, are much happier than those who are part of the contrary.