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

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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