53 karmaJoined


The 'Effective Manager' book you mention looks awesome. I'd also very highly recommend this book, focussed on all aspects of general non-profit management: Managing to Change The World, by Alison Green - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Managing-Change-World-Nonprofit-Managers/dp/1118137612 

"In the vast majority of important political decisions I see that the politicians follow the changes in the society - they rarely lead them [...]."

This is a widely-expressed sentiment, but I think it is not true. There are many examples of politicians taking (often momentous) decisions which are out of step with public opinion. E.g:

  • UK politicians abolishing the death penalty in 1965, despite clear public opposition. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32061822)
  • The UK government hitting the 0.7% aid target for many years, despite  opinion polling showing that a majority of the public opposed this 
  • Tony Blair taking the decision to commit British troops to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, despite widespread public opposition (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2003/jan/21/uk.iraq2)
  • (More extremely, and in a very different context, Adolf Hitler abolishing liberal democracy  having won just 33pc of the vote in the November 1932 elections.)

The idea that politicians merely follow broader societal trends and public opinion is not true. They often act counter to these trends. And they often, themselves, help to shape these trends (eg, perhaps, civil partnerships and same-sex marriage in the UK).

There is plenty of space for politicians to take high-stakes decisions based on their own conscience and values - decisions which often lead or even defy  public opinion. For good or ill, politics offers leverage  for impact-minded individuals. 

Thank you for doing this, Jamie and crew. Super interesting, and very practical! And, of course, of use to a much wider audience than only animal-focussed orgs.

One surprising finding from this is that higher salaries seem to be under-powered in terms of attracting and retaining talent. Do you have any comments on this? (NB I haven't drilled down into the detail, am just looking at your summary chart...) Cheers!

More widely, do you or anyone else know of any systematic studies on the extent to which salary levels matter for recruiting and retaining top talent, in general? Maybe it's one of those things where a naive market model doesn't actually reflect how people behave in the real world. I certainly dimly remember reading that people care much more about internal fairness and their salary relative to their peers, rather than the absolute amount.

I agree that this point is worth taking seriously. But isn't the counterfactual simply that the folks are influenced (deliberately, or not) by other sets of ideas/values, and so we might as well make an effort - carefully, thoughtfully, etc - to share 'our' values?

An interesting, but potentially contentious and risky, approach could be to target a small number of high schools whose pupils have historically tended to wield outsized influence on the world. Certainly in the UK, these schools are pretty well-known. Focussing outreach on them would seem, naively, to be very efficient - but also throw up reputational issues in terms of equity and inclusiveness.

I think that this is a very important, and under-thought-about-in-EA, topic. Visual images have *huge* power, and are proven to be able to mobilise participation and money at scale. For example, their use in charity fundraising. Visual images and video footage seem to have been important in igniting the recent BLM movement in the US. The concept of moral shock has been discussed as a potent driver of participation in social movements.

I suppose one risk is that reliance of visual images might bias us towards beings with whom we have greater gut empathy - eg humans, cute/charismatic animals, etc.

I feel like there is a lot more to be said about this broad topic, and potentially a lot more that the EA community could consider doing in terms of optimising the use of visual images in support of its objectives. Thank you for kicking-off a discussion on it.

As an aside...(re conservatives, not libertarians) here is Ben Shapiro saying to Jonathan Safran Foer that he thinks that in 100 years people will look back on eating animals as a bad thing - 33 min: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GU-yTOYQl4

This is an awesome guide - thank you for writing it, Jamie and Animal Advocacy Careers!

Below are some relevant links - though these are mainly focussed on the UK.

UK political party animal groups:




Other UK political parties may have similar sub-groups, too.

I'm not sure whether similar groups exist in other countries. (If not, maybe setting them up could be a high-leverage intervention?)

There's also a UK political party for animals - the Animal Welfare Party: https://www.animalwelfareparty.org/

General 80k blog post on UK political careers - short and sweet:


A careers guide for policy/politics jobs (mainly relevant to the UK):


Applying this logic one stage earlier in the process, one of the key things for EAs who are 15/16/17 to do, in terms of career planning, is to work very hard to try to get into a prestigious University (ie Oxbridge in the UK, Ivy League in the US). Doing so will:

  • help you get a great education
  • surround you with clever, highly-motivated people
  • give you a strong credential which will help you throughout the rest of your career, in terms of getting jobs and maximising your earnings.

It's a peculiarity of the UK education system that in many respects, your *mock A-levels* are plausibly the most high-stakes exams you will ever take, because they influence whether you will get an offer of a place at a top University. Your decisions at age 16/17 can have very profound effects on the rest of your career, and from a lifetime perspective, it's rational to 'frontload' a bunch of effort, focus, and willpower to try to get into a top University.

(It's important to add, of course, that you can enjoy massive impact and success without getting in to one of the most prestigious Universities.)