All of Joseph Lemien's Comments + Replies

The case of the missing cause prioritisation research

my upcoming report with CSER on this topic

Would it be possible for you to share a link to this, or at least the name of the report so that I can find it?

7weeatquince1d
https://www.cser.ac.uk/media/uploads/files/Risk_Management_in_the_UK_Final1.pdf [https://www.cser.ac.uk/media/uploads/files/Risk_Management_in_the_UK_Final1.pdf] See also other related work: * https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/wyHjpcCxuqFzzRgtX/a-practical-guide-to-long-term-planning-and-suggestions-for [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/wyHjpcCxuqFzzRgtX/a-practical-guide-to-long-term-planning-and-suggestions-for] * https://www.longtermresilience.org/futureproof [https://www.longtermresilience.org/futureproof] (P31-42) * https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/znaZXBY59Ln9SLrne/how-to-think-about-an-uncertain-future-lessons-from-other [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/znaZXBY59Ln9SLrne/how-to-think-about-an-uncertain-future-lessons-from-other] (old)
How I torched my biggest career opportunity so far

Thanks for sharing this.

While people in EA seem to like the narrative of "take big bets" and "small possibility of a huge success is worth it," I really like to read about people reflecting on things that didn't go their way (either for reasons within their control or for reasons outside of their control).

I want to encourage this (sharing of failures) to become more of a norm.

The AI Messiah

I am commenting here and upvoting this specifically because you wrote "I appreciate the pushback." I really like seeing people disagree while being friendly/civil, and I want to encourage us to do even more of that. I like how you are exploring and elaborating ideas while being polite and respectful.

Brief Presentation and Considerations for an EA Common Application

Strongly agree. When I've done hiring in the past I would have loved to look at a resume book or some other consolidated standardized database of interested applicants, especially if I am able to filter on relevant criteria (time zone, earliest start date, EA work experience, did Intro Fellowship, etc.)

As a job hunter, the dream is to submit your resume or fill out your information to a single website, and then get contacted by multiple organizations that might be a good fit.

I strongly support this project.

Notes From a Pledger

N=1, so have your salt shaker ready!

I am commenting to say that I really like this phrase. It feels much more clever/witty than the more generic variants, and it made reading your article a bit more enjoyable. :)

dy's Shortform

You agree that the salaries roughly track skill level though? 

Roughly speaking, I think so.

dy's Shortform

I have a bad feeling about funding researchers in the most expensive places in the world and calculating their salaries based on what they could earn at Google, minus a discount. 

Agreed. I don't have a particularly clear or solid argument against it; at this point just a sort of yucky feeling when someone claims that the best possible use of money is to give it to someone as a really big salary to motivate them to leave their other really big salary role.

4Gavin19d
You agree that the salaries roughly track skill level though? I actually share the ugh, but it seems way more important to maximise the competence we're bringing to the problem than to minimise bad optics. (I'm responding to "Agreed", which implies endorsement of the yucky feeling. Ignore if not endorsed)
Kyle Lucchese's Shortform

I am most interested in exploring Buddhism and/or general mindfulness and EA

Do you mean Buddhism as a religious practice, or more of a secular buddhism? I see a lot of overlaps between secular Buddhism and stoicism (stoicism as described by Massimo Pigliucci, not stoicism in the sense of feels no emotions).

I'd be happy to bounce ideas around with you about Buddhism and EA.

Lizka's Shortform

I really liked this. It was simply, but a smooth read and quite enjoyable. I'd  be happy to see more of this type of content.

Lis_B's Shortform

While I agree with you in principle, I think that the reality is that it is tough to keep this idea in mind, primarily because we judge people based on the results/achievements, rather than on the effectiveness of what they achieved based on what they had.

Simple toy example: the person who started with $100 and ends up with $500 gets much more praise than the person who starts with $5 and ends up with $100.

1Lis_B19d
That’s a good point – others will no doubt measure your success by your absolute impact which will depend on your initial abilities/resources. My post was more meant to address the guilt and distress I suspect many disabled EAs feel, which I think is unfounded.
Joseph Lemien's Shortform

Would anyone find it interesting/useful for me to share a forum post about hiring, recruiting, and general personnel selection? I have some experience running hiring for small companies, and I have been recently reading a lot of academic papers from the Journal of Personnel Psychology regarding the research of most effective hiring practices. I'm thinking of creating a sequence about hiring, or maybe about HR and managing people more broadly.

1ryan_duplock17d
Yes! I think people on both sides of the table (employers & prospective employees) would find your insight useful! Recruitment is a big deal and is an area of much uncertainty for people. After all, most people are not regularly going through the process. It might help to quell some apprehension.
1Yitz18d
Please do! I'd absolutely love to read that :)
Tools/methods for finding most pivotal unjournal-worthy research

I've recently discovered Connected Papers, and while it doesn't address all of your questions, it might be helpful for finding EA-linked authors and papers. Here is an example of the web of connections for What Should We Agree on about the Repugnant Conclusion.

What moral philosophies besides utilitarianism are compatible with effective altruism?

Here is my rambling answer to your question.

I like virtue ethics, and I see it as compatible. I think that EA would be a slightly better movement is the level of utilitarianism was reduced by 5% and the level of virtue ethics was increased by 5%. My rough thoughts are that while I am influenced by various ethical ideas/schools of thought, I tend to be slightly less of a utilitarian and slightly more of a virtue ethicist than the EA-aligned people I see (which is admittedly a very small and non-representative sample).

I view "being a good person" not merely ... (read more)

Organizations prioritising neat signals of EA alignment might systematically miss good candidates

I'm glad you posted this. Although my situation differs from your in many ways, it is similar in that I do not have many of the signals of EA alignment, and I also have experience in operations management. I've considered writing something similar, but I think that anything I say on this issue would have a perception of "this is person is bitter/frustrated because they aren't getting a job they want."

2evanprice1mo
Thanks for your feedback, indeed I was concerned that I would be perceived as bitter and I hope I mitigated that by explicitly stating the opposite, which is true. I'm fortunate to have the time to commit to volunteering and integration into the movement, and if I don't find a workable place for myself I have a previous career to go back to, so really the intention really just is to inform and discuss.
How should people spend money to be more productive?

Two large monitors. I'm not familiar with the research, but I vaguely recall reading something about a relationship between the "real estate" and productivity. I know that I feel so much better with enough monitor space to have 2+ programs open simultaneously, and it makes it much easer to refer to 2+ documents without opening/closing different programs.

NEW ALTRUISTIC UNIVERSITY FOR AFRICA

It is possible for a person to build a successful organization from scratch; it is a very rare thing. The base rate of being a "Steve Jobs" is quite low, approximately one in 7 billion.

Don't forget to give credit where credit it due. The source of most of the text here is an HBR article from 2012: https://hbr.org/2012/04/the-real-leadership-lessons-of-steve-jobs

1Brainy1mo
Yeah, thank you. Inspiration takes most part.
Free-spending EA might be a big problem for optics and epistemics

I don't have anything smart or worthwhile to comment, but I want to say that I am glad you wrote this.

I'm quite uncomfortable with the idea that the best use of money is to give it to inexperienced young people from wealthy families who went to expensive schools. Helping privileged people get access to more privileged doesn't rank high on my personal list of cause areas, and I'm glad that someone is speaking out against this trend.

3A_lark1mo
I’m uncomfortable with this too, but more comfortable than I used to be. Privileged people have a lot of power/leverage in the world. That leverage can be squandered, used for selfish means, or used for good. If we think EAs have uniquely good ideas for identifying and solving neglected, pressing global problems, I want people with lots of leverage to learn from EA. The counterfactual is they use their leverage to do less altruistic or less effective things. I am willing to put money toward avoiding that.
NEW ALTRUISTIC UNIVERSITY FOR AFRICA

According to your LinkedIn you completed your Bachelor's Degree in 2017, and you have been CEO of a company since 2017. Because it is astonishingly rare for a fresh graduate to have the required skills to be an effective CEO, I'm guessing that you are CEO and founder of your own little company. Thus, I'd want to know what qualifications/skills/background make you competent to found and run a university.

The fact that you describe it as "in Africa" rather than as in any particular country gives me a bit of a negative feeling, but I'm not exactly sure why.

Thi... (read more)

1Brainy1mo
Thank you Jay. I have founded a refugee secondary school this year from scratch with 32 students and by the end this next year we'll have more than 200. On same space we'll start the University courses. The team that complements me has experience in working with State and private education projects like design and technology curriculums, starting new schools in USA and around the world. Together we're developing a global curriculum (education)-2030. We're still developing the curriculum and programs this year. We've got curriculum, program and advisory board committees meeting monthly. We need to develop these details before implementation. Steve Jobs cofounded Apple in his parents’ garage in 1976, without a degree, was ousted in 1985, returned to rescue it from near bankruptcy in 1997, and by the time he died, in October 2011, had built it into the world’s most valuable company. Along the way he helped to transform seven industries: personal computing, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, retail stores, and digital publishing. Near the end of his life, Jobs was visited at home by Larry Page, who was about to resume control of Google, the company he had cofounded. Even though their companies were feuding, Jobs was willing to give some advice. “The main thing I stressed was focus,” he recalled. Figure out what Google wants to be when it grows up, he told Page. “It’s now all over the map. What are the five products you want to focus on? Get rid of the rest, because they’re dragging you down. They’re turning you into Microsoft. They’re causing you to turn out products that are adequate but not great.” Page followed the advice. In January 2012 he told employees to focus on just a few priorities, such as Android and Google+, and to make them “beautiful,” the way Jobs would have done. My point is I want to focus and then we'll have great results.
Career Suggestion: Earning to Skill

A couple of thoughts in response.

First: yes, I strongly agree that the E world would be a better place if young EAs gained some maturity and general professional skills before trying to change the world.

Second: My guess is that the companies who are competent and at which young EAs would learn valuable skills has a lot of overlap with the list of companies who are large/famous/well-paying.

Third: The rough impression I have is that it is very uncommon to be able to identify how good of a working environment a particular role will be before you are actually ... (read more)

3Linch1mo
I think Ruby is implicitly saying to prefer successful-seeming startups to big companies.
EA on r/Place: An Art Project Post-mortem

Although my own opinion is that securing a piece of r/Place isn't a worthwhile use of time, I think that this serves really well as a training exercise.

An opportunity arises, we have not prepared for it and we didn't have a plan of action ready. It requires internal collaboration as well as a certain amount of external communication. There is no clear leader, because the opportunity is not within a particular team/organization/company. Learning how to collaborate and manage a project like this seems like a valuable skill. Much in the same way that militari... (read more)

Open Thread: Spring 2022

I had a conversation with my partner yesterday about how we want to do good better, but at the same time nobody can do 100% and taking care of yourself is important. She described to me a concept that is a simple but important change from how I have understood EA, and I'd like to share it. While I normally thought of doing good better as

devoting more resources toward highly impact efforts

what she described was

using whatever amount of resources you are going to use for good and making sure those resources are having the greatest impact.

This isn't a ... (read more)

3Bary Levi1mo
For me, knowing my giving is effective makes me more confident to give more. Before learning about EA I never considered donating 10% of my income because I never thought it will be so helpful, and I saw charity as something I was sometimes obliged to donate small amounts to.
2Guy Raveh2mo
I look at it this way: EA is about maximising the total amount of good you do over your lifetime. If you can do lots of good right now but it will tear you down - you may not be more impactful overall by doing it.
Underinvestment at the top: what I discovered coaching a dozen EA leaders

Thanks for such a detailed response. I'll be thinking and processing all of this for a while. Great food for thought.

Underinvestment at the top: what I discovered coaching a dozen EA leaders

Tee, I really enjoyed this. I have a gut feeling that lines up with a lot of the points you described, which I will roughly summarize as "giving people in these situations coaching can vastly improve the 'how much stress I endure to how much I accomplish' ratio." Especially given the specific cultural habits/perspectives of EAs, I think that having many of us push a bit more for these kind of "support services" would be valuable.

I've been thinking about getting more EA-aligned coaches, and I was wondering if you could you describe how you got trained/certified as a coach, and if you would recommend that particular training program.

4SebastianSchmidt1mo
If I were to add a gross simplification of an alternative strategy (that I've used over the past 2 years) 1. Experiment with different coaches and find a coach whose theory of change, style, and approach you like. 2. Become an "apprentice" of that coach by getting regular coaching from him/her while reverse engineering/deliberately practice that coaching method. 3. Get your first coachees and use the simple versions you've acquired this far to incrementally build your own coaching "style". #LearnByDoing 1. Crucially, get good at requesting feedback from your coachees to grow. 4. Find peers and mentors with whom you can have many conversations to reflect on and improve your coaching. Hero version: Move together with other coaches. 5. Follow situational inspiration (i.e., use the challenges and questions you encounter from your individual coaching practice to seek out models, skills, and additional mentors) 6. Build your map of the coaching landscape and experiment with an at least moderately promising coaching course.
9Tee2mo
Heartened to see that you enjoyed it! And great prompts/questions. Lovely to hear that this post could go some way in nudging you toward coaching. I have lots of thoughts on how to find a coach that might turn into another post, but some about getting the vibe right and trialing with more than one coach I mention here [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/aGTuQjvHrFqhgSuxZ/underinvestment-at-the-top-what-i-discovered-coaching-a#Anticipated_Questions__objections_and_inquiries] in this post. Hope it helps There’s a lot to say about how coaching can improve the metabolization of stressors. In many cases, I’m pairing remedial efforts (working through emotional fallout and imprints) with methods that often have the effect of building more flexibility into the client’s ways of making sense and interpreting things. We’re also proactively aiming for a more elegant way of being and acting that causes less emotional shear (ie psychological toll) in local contexts. This can be approached and achieved in many ways as you might imagine. IMO it’s always a different set of moves, methods and timing for each person. On recommending a coaching program – I’d almost never recommend a specific program offhand. My probably unsatisfying (though very on-brand) answer is that the way you pursue coaching skill and credentialing is mediated through what kind of coach you want to be, how you think the world works, and what you believe the path looks like to get there. (e.g. “I want to make a career change. How do I make a career change? Learn a new skill well enough to earn a living. How do I do that? Get a degree in a different field of study. That way, I’ll know what to do and people will take me seriously if I have gone through a course/get a degree”. This isn’t necessarily incorrect, but it’s a line of reasoning that will result in a particular sequence of specific actions) The subject of how to develop skill and how to think about credentialing in this ‘industry’ also super inte
Announcing Impact Island: A New EA Reality TV Show

"Of course, all participants are expected to be polyamorous."

So on point. If I was a coffee drinker, I would have spit it out laughing at this sentence.

Operations is really demanding

That helpful, thanks for providing the context. No need to dig through old documents; I think I have a rough idea of it now.

Operations is really demanding

"structured interviews on the work environment"

I'd be interested in hearing more about this. Any links or documents that you could share to point me in the right direction?

2Markus Amalthea Magnuson2mo
I can't think of any specific links or such but I can tell you more: I may not go so far as to say it's the norm in Sweden, but it's definitely common to have an annual "utvecklingssamtal" (personal development discussion) and it's often combined with salary negotiations. Personally, I think these two discussions should be separate. Good organisations use this opportunity to gather a lot more knowledge than what is related to performance. In particular, it can be a way to have an open-ended discussion about the work environment and what improvements can be made. For example, improvements in the physical environment (it's too cold, too dark, chairs and desks are annoying etc.) or improvements in mental environment (Monday meetings are too long, people ping on Slack too often, my colleague is always late for meetings etc.) Usually, you would fill out some form with prepared questions beforehand and try to standardise this to use over several years to get a sense of improvements made, i.e. asking the exact same questions every year and to everyone. In other words, combine an open-ended part with a very structured part. If it would help you a lot more than the above, I could probably dig up some old such documents from previous employers, although I would have to paraphrase them rather than share them directly due to privacy and/or intellectual property reasons.
Operations is really demanding

"when operations work goes well, people take it for granted; when there’s a mistake, it’s obvious and everyone is annoyed"

I don't have much to contribute with this comment, other than to emphasize the often understated importance of the above concept. Similar to plumbing or bank transfers or internet access or any of a dozen other examples, maintaining a system and preventing mistakes is often ignored/neglected when people think of valuable work.

Social rewards in EA

"the short-term impact of the expansion of PA roles may be a greater number of women in junior roles, my expectation is that the longer-term impact will be a greater number of women in senior roles or as founders of projects"

Is the norm in EA that personal assistants tend to be women?

2Chris Leong2mo
I don't have stats, but I'm assuming this is what Cristina meant by "typical gender dynamics"
Social rewards in EA

As a comment on this, my perspective is that operations is usually not sexy/fun/exciting when done properly. Different roles naturally have different levels public attention. People who publish well-received books or blogs, who start well-reputed organizations, are the voices on podcasts, and who give speeches at EAG and TEDx events get more public recognition. A part of it is luck, a part is marketing/PR (edit: I don't want to ignore hard work and effort; that often plays a role also).

A somewhat related issue is that there seems to be a perception in EA t... (read more)

6Charles He2mo
This comment was so good. The ending paragraph is amazing: I really like how this points out the incentives where high functionality can be punished. It seems heroic to setup a new org that fights COVID-19 across many continents, you can get press in the NYT, Vox, whatever. Yet, another person who tracked down the first patients or caused a city to be locked down in the first few days might be far more effective, but despite this pay a high price for this behavior (e.g. many false positives; uncertainty is high). It can be extremely costly and punishing to anticipate future events and act to prevent them. By its nature the people who are best at this, are often not understood. Maybe increasing literacy of the issues, as well as institutional competence and capacity can help.
Milan Griffes on EA blindspots

I agree. I would love to have even just a sentence or two explaining what each of these critiques is, possibly with links to more in-depth explanations.

How be productive before your baby turns one

I liked a lot about this post. I don't really have important comments/critiques; just general reactions. My general intent with this comment is "this is really nice. I enjoyed reading this. I'd like to see a bit more of this type of content."

I view the overall tone of this piece as roughly "there are lot's of things that I don't do in the standard/proper way (dishes, cooking, laundry) and it works well for me. Don't force yourself to follow somebody else's playbook if it doesn't work for you." I like that a lot. I think that many people (myself included) s... (read more)

We need 40,000h or maybe even 20,000h

Seconded. I am surprised that in EA so much attention is paid and resources are devoted to people with relatively little life experience and professional experience. I often find myself a bit confused when I see someone in EA who is a COO or a VP or a director or a senior manager and who also has 0-3 years of work experience.

I'm in my 30s and I feel it is hard to get involved in EA other than "earn to give" because the career paths tend to either A) involve taking an entry level position in an EA hub city (such as Boston or San Francisco) or B) involve having a bachelor's degree in a particular field.

2martyna3mo
I hear you. We all struggle. Young people have it so much harder to enter the job market after graduation., it makes sense to me still, 80k makes sense. But it just shouldn't stop there. I have the same observations for A) and B). I'm a self-taught UX designer, my masters only loosely correspond to what I do. It's intimidating to see offers for senior positions asking for 7-8 years of experience in the field, while UX studies have only begun to appear in Unis in Poland like maybe a decade ago...
The Case for Rare Chinese Tofus

I apologize for asking such a simple question, but what is "rare tofu?" I'm aware that tofu is generally processed soy beans (and sometimes refers to a "tofu-like solid"), but what do you mean by rare tofu? Do you literally just mean types of tofu that are uncommon and hard to find?

7George Stiffman3mo
This is a fair question! I should have added more explanation to the post. TLDR: tofu is like chicken. Just as you would never cook chicken feet like chicken breast, so too do different tofus have vastly different uses, forms, and production methods. In particular, a few varieties that are "rare" or uncommon on China (and mostly absent elsewhere) seem particularly well suited to western cooking styles. I think of these like "chicken breasts," whereas common tofus have about as much western appeal as "chicken feet." If you're curious, I can shoot you a more in-depth explanation from our book. Just shoot me your email. A list of Chinese tofus [https://georgestiffman.medium.com/a-complete-list-of-chinas-27-tofus-7274f764d24] (link) What is tofu? In its simplest form, tofu is bean curd. Think of this like soymilk cheese. Drop something sour or minerally into fresh, hot soymilk and its proteins will coagulate, or bind together, into soft, pillowy curds. These curds can be left as is – to coalesce into silken tofu – or spooned into a mold and pressed into soft tofu, firm tofu, pressed tofu, or tofu sheets. In China, firm and pressed tofu are often smoked, salted, dehydrated, or fermented – which chemically transforms them into several other distinct varieties. Not all tofu is bean curd, however. Some varieties are made from soy protein, rather than whole beans (like spongy tofu or qianyedoufu 千页豆腐). Others are harvested atop steaming soymilk, as a luxurious and creamy film (see yuba or youdoupi 油豆皮). While some Americans might scoff at calling these varieties “tofu,” they would be lonely in China. In the birthplace and mecca of tofu cooking, most everyone treats curded and non-curded soy products as one large category. Beyond soy-based tofu, there are several non-soy varieties. These include starch-gelled tofus – made from rice, almonds, peanuts, chickpeas, oat chestnuts, hemp, and sesame – as well as a few protein gels – from eggs, pig’s blood, and milk. In terms
Slightly advanced decision theory 102: Four reasons not to be a (naive) utility maximizer

Of the many posts I've read on the forum during the past few years, this is one of the posts I have enjoyed the most. Thank you for writing this and sharing it.

1kirchner.jan4mo
Thank you so much for your kind words <3 I'm happy you enjoyed the post!
EA needs a hiring agency and Nonlinear will fund you to start one

Great initiative. I was thinking of the value of an EA hiring agency just a few days ago. If I was located in my home country without the need for a visa I would take action on this. :)

Does anything like a "resume book" exist in EA?

Regarding using something like an "EA group" on LinkedIn, I like that concept. I think that might be a better idea for a MVP than a Google Sheet. Thanks for mentioning it. I'll let the idea percolate for a while.

Regarding several orgs to agreeing to handle their hiring through a single system, my first thought about hiring was actually somewhat related: having a centralized hiring/recruiting team for multiple large EA orgs. This way, rather than organization A, B, C, and D all employing a recruiter, getting a subscription to a applicant sourcing service, l... (read more)

Has anything in the EA global health sphere changed since the critiques of "randomista development" 1-2 years ago?

I'll add one small comment regarding this. I think that the claim that "resources devoted toward economic development tends to do more good than resources toward small-scale health interventions" makes sense. On three different occasions when I've mentioned randomized control trials as a great way for creating new knowledge, I've had EAs refer me to this article as if this article was a critique of RCTs. Thus, I suspect that multiple people have misinterpreted the aim of the article, and are mentally categorizing it as "a critique of RCTs" rather than as "a critique of small scale interventions as less effective than economic growth."

The most important century and the representativeness of EA

I would love to see intro-to-EA materials that are more applicable for people living outside of high income countries.

I'm not sure if it would make sense to A) make the current intro-to-EA materials less targeted (and therefore more inclusive), B) have a parallel set of intro-to-EA materials that is for developing countries or for non-high income countries, or C) for various regions/countries to have their own intro-to-EA materials.

I lean towards A, but I think that it would be a massive undertaking. Maybe a good first step would be to take a sin... (read more)

Announcing the Open Philanthropy Undergraduate Scholarship

Strongly agree. In the USA it wouldn't be considered too abnormal for a child to tell a parent that he/she is applying for a scholarship for college and needs family income information. But because this scholarship is targeted at people from other cultures we should take those US-centric (or perhaps UK-centric) assumptions.

Perhaps a drop-down menu in which an applicant could select from various ranges might be a better shop: "To the best of your knowledge, what was your households total annual income for the previous calendar year: 0-10k, 10k-30k, 31k to 50k..."

Announcing the Open Philanthropy Undergraduate Scholarship

That's good. I'm glad that they thought of this. I can't imagine the difficulties in attempting to apply for a US university (and visa) as a non-US citizen without documentation of funding.

Announcing the Open Philanthropy Undergraduate Scholarship

Agreed. There are top-ranked universities in other countries. Additionally, $X might allow 5 students to attend a good university, or 1 student to attend a great university. I'd suggest learning toward a more "diversified" model in which more students receive funding (a larger number of "bets" are taken).

Announcing the Open Philanthropy Undergraduate Scholarship

I strongly agree. My impression (not based on research, but merely on unfounded hypothesizing) is that either an non-US applicant must have a finances arranged for a US university prior to applying. I would recommend providing the approval of the scholarship in advance of being admitted to the school. This way the applicant could apply and honestly list his/her method of funding the degree. The funds would be released only after the applicant is admitted to the school.

5BrianTan9mo
I believe OpenPhil plans on providing the scholarship decision before being admitted to the school for those applying to the listed U.S. universities, based on this line:
Books on authoritarianism, Russia, China, NK, democratic backsliding, etc.?

I'm fairly focused on China (studied China in university, speak Mandarin, live in China, read about 50 books on/about China during the past 10 years).

While there are plenty of books that can give you a general feel or a broad understanding of some trends in society (Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, China in Ten Words, China's Millennials: The Want Generation), and there are a few books regarding specific parts of the government/policy (The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers, Out of Mao's Shadow: The Stru... (read more)

2MichaelA1y
Thanks for these recommendations and comments! In case the following info is useful to other readers: * Age of Ambition [https://www.audible.com.au/pd/Age-of-Ambition-Audiobook/B018HA136Y], China in Ten Words [https://www.audible.com.au/pd/China-in-Ten-Words-Audiobook/B00FLXV51E], The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers [https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Party-Audiobook/154141571X], and Out of Mao's Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China [https://www.audible.com/pd/Out-of-Maos-Shadow-Audiobook/B002V0A73W] are available as audiobooks * It seems that China's Millennials, Wealth and Power, and When A Billion Chinese Jump aren't The Party sounds quite relevant to my interests, so I expect I'll read that in the coming months, and maybe later Out of Mao's Shadow and/or China in Ten Words. I already read Age of Ambition and found it interesting. And yes, unfortunately I can only read and speak English.
80,000 Hours one-on-one team plans, plus projects we’d like to see

I'd like to second the opinion that it is a bit of a turn off that the resources go toward people who already have resources. I understand that "justice" and "equality of opportunity" aren't core EA concerns, and I also realize that giving an hour of time to a person at an elite university who has received lots of educational benefits in life very well may have a higher ROI than giving an hour of time to a "normal" person (I'm using normal here to indicate a person who grew up in a family with a more median income, and who went to a less outlier school).

Un... (read more)

Yale EA’s Fellowship Application Scores were not Predictive of Eventual Engagement

I have done a decent amount of HR work focused on hiring over the past several years, as well as a lot of reading regarding how to do hiring well. While recruiting for a fellowship isn't completely identical to hiring an employee, there are enough of similarities to justify learning.

I can't say I am surprised that a "hiring" process like the one described here failed to properly filter/select best fit candidates. Finding the right people for for a job (or in this case a fellowship) can be really difficult. Not difficult in a way that requires for time or e... (read more)

The Folly of "EAs Should"

I'm glad that you mentioned EA being young. I am in my 30s and fairly new to reading about EA, having just started to read books and forum posts within the past month or two. The youth is very surprising to me, and it is something I've been thinking about for the past few days. This isn't a well thought out thesis, but I will share my rough thoughts:

First, if a middle aged person sees a community of a bunch of 20 somethings, he/she will likely conclude "this isn't meant for me" and walk away (even if the 20 somethings are friendly). Thus, potential collabo... (read more)

As someone in their late 30s with kids often identified as one of the "older" EAs, I strongly agree with this.

And to quote Monty Python: "I'm thirty seven - I'm not old!"

How You Can Counterfactually Send Millions of Dollars to EA Charities

Thanks for sharing this. I that info about good financial practices are being shared here. I have two questions that you might be able to answer.

First, what specific options are available? As an individual I can open a high yield savings account with Ally (or I can  refer to NerdWallet for a list of other high yield savings accounts). But If I am running an NGO I can't legally use accounts intended for individuals, right? Could you provide a list of options?

Second, these ideas are fairly limited to cash held in USD in the United States, right? For org... (read more)

2Brendon_Wong1y
Thanks for commenting! Exactly, in most jurisdictions, NGOs must create savings accounts meant for organizations. In the United States, those accounts would be called business savings accounts. In the U.K., those accounts would be called charity savings accounts, but some business savings accounts might work depending on the terms and conditions. For the U.S., here's a link to some examples of business savings account (online sources may be somewhat biased in choosing recommendations due to affiliate links, although this source seems decent): https://www.magnifymoney.com/blog/best-of/best-business-savings-accounts625269146/ [https://www.magnifymoney.com/blog/best-of/best-business-savings-accounts625269146/] The ideas expressed here are applicable to any country that has accounts or investment options available that pay more interest than the default accounts in use by most people/organizations. This likely holds true for most/all countries that have an established financial system. In terms of offering recommendations, it would depend on the currency and country in question. The Flagstone option I mentioned in earlier comments works for GBP, EUR, and USD (they may be limited to UK-based clients, I don't recall off the top of my head). Feel free to mention specifics in a follow-up comment or email us at support@antigravityinvestments.com. I've historically researched the US, UK, and Canada, but I'll see what we can do if there's another country in question! For countries that have less established financial systems, I agree, they may be unable to find a suitable alternative in their base currency that pays a high rate of interest, or be unwilling to take on currency risk and currency conversion costs by opening an international account likely denominated in another currency. Besides opening an international account in USD, for instance at StoneCastle, an organization could also open an account at a brokerage firm that supports international clients like Intera
How You Can Counterfactually Send Millions of Dollars to EA Charities

Thanks for sharing this. I that info about good financial practices are being shared here. I have two questions that you might be able to answer.

First, what specific options are available? As an individual I can open a high yield savings account with Ally (or I can  refer to NerdWallet for a list of other high yield savings accounts). But If I am running an NGO I can't legally use accounts intended for individuals, right? Could you provide a list of options?

Second, these ideas are fairly limited to cash held in USD in the United States, right? For org... (read more)