The introduction to longtermism on this site gives an overview of some ideas associated with longtermism. On this page, we’ve listed some external resources — books, articles, podcasts, and videos — for going further.

Books

The Precipice by Toby Ord (2020)

This path-breaking book is a good place to start. It explores the science and philosophy behind the large-scale risks we face. It puts them in the context of the greater story of humanity: showing how ending these risks is among the most pressing moral issues of our time. And it points the way forward, to the actions and strategies we can take today to safeguard humanity’s future.

For a briefer introduction to the ideas in The Precipice, you can watch this 20-minute presentation, narrated by the author. If you prefer podcasts, we recommend this interview with Toby about why the long-term future of humanity matters more than anything else, and what we should do about it.

The Long View: Essays on Policy, Philanthropy, and the Long-term Future by Natalie Cargill & Tyler M. John (eds.)

Described as “a guidebook for philanthropists, advocates, and policymakers who want to do the most good possible”, this free ebook collects essays “from the pioneers who have developed the intellectual foundations of longtermism, as well as the experts and advocates who are now putting it into practice”. The book contains policy proposals from political philosophers, members of the House of Lords, and the All-party Parliamentary Group for Future Generations; the case for work on biosecurity, artificial intelligence, and climate change from leading experts; and the first ever essay on longtermist cultural change from the former Chief of Cabinet to the Finnish President.

Writing

Go further: click to see writing about long-term thinking

Long-term thinking means imagining projects and processes which could last thousands of years — thinking at the timescale of civilisation. It's a close relative, and a major inspiration, of longtermism.

Talks and Podcasts

Philosophy

The articles below consider philosophical aspects of longtermism in more detail. They are a little more technical than the resources above.

Historical

Many of the central ideas of contemporary longtermism can trace roots to early thinkers and advocates. Below is a small selection of earlier writing pertinent to present-day longtermism.

For an exploration of the history of thinking about human extinction, see:

For select historical quotations about existential risk, see theprecipice.com/quotations.