The Life You Can Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty

The Life You Can Save How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty An explosive manifesto on the responsibilities of the developed West in the face of unchecked global poverty

  • Title: The Life You Can Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty
  • Author: Peter Singer
  • ISBN: 9780330504706
  • Page: 282
  • Format: ebook
  • An explosive manifesto on the responsibilities of the developed West in the face of unchecked global poverty

    One thought on “The Life You Can Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty”

    1. I chose to read Singer's book because I've often wanted to do more for the world's poor, but I want to do so in an informed way and see to it that my money is going to be used in a meaningful way that does not have politically or religiously motivated strings attached. I've tried to research charities before, but quickly became frustrated with the the lack of solid evidence as to their efficacy that even the most well-known charities couldn't (or wouldn't) provide. So I was already sold on the i [...]

    2. You are walking past a shallow pond and you see a small child has fallen in. No-one else is around. The child is in obvious distress and will drown without your immediate help. You are however, wearing a gorgeous set of clothes you have lusted over for months and have just managed to purchase. You are also running late for work. Do you wade in to help the child, ruining your clothes and being late for work, or do you walk on by?This is the thought-experiment with which Peter Singer, a Professor [...]

    3. This book underscores why Peter Singer is the most influential philosopher living today. He takes his utilitarianism very seriously, and the implications of this philosophy, if followed, would radically change our world for the better. In this book, Singer lays out the case for why those of us in affluent nations should be giving to charity to help the poor worldwide. What is actually most surprising to me is the final section in which he lays out the numbers: if the richest 10% of those in the [...]

    4. Although this book provides a heart-felt argument on why you should donate 5-10% of your total income to the world's poorest people, it is sensationalized writing at best and lacks the depth of analysis on:1. Why the global poor are poor2. What organizations are currently doing3. What organizations lack the capability to do4. What goes wrong with in NGOs 5. Where your money will go if you do donateAs a student of international development I will be the first to tell you that if you are donating [...]

    5. The World Bank defines extreme poverty as not having enough income to meet the most basic human needs for adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, sanitation, health care, and education. Many people are familiar with the statistic that 1 billion people are living on less than one dollar per day. That was the World Bank’s poverty line until 2008, when better data on international price comparisons enabled it to make a more accurate calculation of the amount people need to meet their basic needs [...]

    6. I am not part of the target audience for this book, and neither, I suspect, are you. I'll come to why laterI do like the way Singer approaches his books - he starts out by telling you where you're going to end up, and then proceeds to take you to your destination in a clear and concise manner, dealing with likely objections before they arise as he goes - but reading this I thought for a while that we were heading squarely for a two-star rating, partly because of that target audience problem I me [...]

    7. I'm not sure what I expected out of this book. Probably an articulate, super-strong inspiration to give money to charityd instruction on how and where to give it so that my meager offerings would do the most "good." But instead I just felt guilty and shamed after reading the first few chapters, and frustrated after skimming the rest. That's actually how Singer wants you to feel, believes everyone should feel--that it's a basic measure of humanity to give a significant portion of your disposable [...]

    8. This most recent work by my favorite philosopher is something of an expanded and up to date version of the ideas expressed in his seminal 1972 essay "Famine, Affluence, and Morality". The idea being, people in wealthy countries give pitifully small amounts of money to those in abject poverty in the third world - people who are so poor that their lives are in jeopardy - and thus they should give much more generously. Singer employs the familiar "Pond" thought experiment in adducing his argument, [...]

    9. A very utilitarian view of charity. If you can do something to help out others and save lives, you must. Those who live in the first world can, efficient charities can do good, therefore one must donate. He even suggests percentile values based on your income. Those with more can afford to give away more. Some statistical analysis is necessary to make sure that the methods you donate to and the charity itself are worth your money. Singer may be controversial for other reasons, but this book make [...]

    10. This was the book I needed to read after my trip to Ecuador. Raises difficult ethical questions and prompts one to pay attention of the effectiveness of their donations. "I recommend that instead of worrying about how much you would have to do in order to live a fully ethical life, you do something that is significantly more than you have been doing so far. Then see how that feels. You may find it more rewarding than you imagined possible."

    11. A very quick read and a compelling argument. Singer argues that middle-to-upper-class people in developed countries (and upper class people in developing countries) have a moral obligation to give significantly more than we do to help the poorest people in the developing world. Although it is easy (and fair) to argue over exactly how much should be required of us, Singer pretty convincingly argues that, using any reasonable standard, the number should be much higher than it currently is. Singer' [...]

    12. A summary: "You spent money to read this book and you probably drink soda or water occasionally, so you're murdering children. Now I'm going to throw a million statistics in your face to show you that I'm right and you're living your life wrong. Here's how much you need to donate. Do it or you're a bad person (did I mention you murder children?).The end."Really don't understand why this got so many positive reviews when the entire book was literally demanding people donate more money. I think ev [...]

    13. This is perhaps Singer's simplest book, in that he adresses a much narrower subject than he frequently tackles, but in doing so, her creates his most persuasive work (amongst those I've read), and the one with the broadest appeal. This book covers the moral and ethical imperative to donate to charity, in particular those charities helping the poorest in the world.The book starts with a few simple examples, such as finding a child drowning in a pond or stuck on railroad tracks and briefly discuss [...]

    14. This is a wonderful book that can change your life and make you feel at last that you can do something about the tragedies we see on TV all the time. In a nutshell, Singer asks us why if we would not hesitate to jump into a pond to save the life of a drowning child, we do not have the same impulse to save the lives of children who are dying of preventable disease and malnutrition in developing countries. He says that if we are choosing to spend money on bottled water, for example, when tap water [...]

    15. A book about charity and at the end, how much one should then give (taking into account how much one earns and life circumstances like mortgages and loans etc.). This is how the book goes:- Common objections and answers to them (some objections occur later on in the book)- Why we don't give more, and what prompts us to give (and give more) here is also a point made that having only altruistic reasons (and no self-interest) is not a bad thing to admit. Self-interest being there is not a bad thing [...]

    16. His argument - that it would be unethical to avoid giving and helping if we have te means to do it- is ok. I agree that we should always do the best we can. However, I wonder if we -the people, the 99%- should be given such big responsibility as to save the poorest people in the world. I don't believe that charity would be the most effective way and I was expecting that he would give the big piture, like why some countries are poorer and how governments fail to help them.

    17. I read this after I saw the author interviewed on the Stephen Colbert Report. Singer, an ethicist and philosopher offers compelling arguments and humbling challenges for changing our lifestyles in very reasonable ways that could have a tremendous impact upon the poorest of the poor in the world.

    18. Wonderful, wonderful book in so many ways.Peter Singer draws on a wealth of experience and information, and takes a mature, evaluative look at the gap between rich and poor.He summarises basic statistics regarding this disparity (earning power, standards of living, extent of charitable giving, in different parts of the world), but this is not the main focus of the book. (I recommend The World Food Problem: Tackling the Causes of Undernutrition in the Third World, for that.)Essentially, it asks: [...]

    19. I bought this book because I was early for a doctor's appointment and wanted something to pass the time. Clearly I'm not poverty stricken, financially or physically, but possibly intellectually as I'm finding it hard to formulate a response to the arguments in the book.Peter Singer starts the book by describing an event where one man selflessly rescues another man who has fallen onto train tracks, a real event where both men were safe after the train passed over them. Singer then goes on to outl [...]

    20. An excellent, accessible presentation of a distressingly unheeded argument."Do you have a bottle of water or a can of soda on the table beside you as you read this book? If you are paying for something to drink when safe drinking water comes out of the tap, you have money to spend on things you don't really need." (pg. xi)"South Asia is still the region with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty, a total of 600 million, including 455 million in India." (pg. 7)"Fashion designer D [...]

    21. Super valuable book, one I will probably end up recommending during a conversation on the ethics of giving to those in need, as my brother did for me. It's not always easy to read, for two primary reasons; middle bit gets into improving aid, which isn't a simple task; if you're not already a naturally and spontaneously generous giver, with established habits of giving, this book is providing good arguments to assist in re-wiring and forming new behaviours of giving compassionately and rationally [...]

    22. I anticipate that I will be ruminating about what Singer says in this book for a long time. He so clearly explains how and why we should give that it is hard to read this book and not adjust some of the priorities we have in life. Singer's mandate that we should all give to the poor until giving any more would put us in almost as bad a situation as the poor themselves seems idealistic, unrealistic, and utopian. But Singer acknowledges that impression, and instead seeks to encourage any small act [...]

    23. A straightforward argument for why we can all give a little more of our money and time to eradicate global poverty. Definitely recommended - and it also lends itself to some "social reading." I plan on starting a "pledge to give more" list in the front cover of my copy and then passing it onto a friend to read and pass on again, etc.

    24. I DARE YOU TO READ THIS BOOK! It will make you uncomfortable. It will challenge any claims you make that you are already generous. It might even make you mad. But you should still read it because it will change you in good ways. Dylan and I come from book-people, and are book-people ourselves. There are more books in our parents' homes than in many rural libraries, I am sured I am grateful for that! One of my favorite Christmas treats is the pile of books that Hal and JeNeal wrap up each year. S [...]

    25. The author had an incredibly pretentious attitude which made it difficult to read the book. I'm sure that everyone agrees that giving money to help the poorest of the world is a worthy enterprise and we should all be doing more to help, but he also simplifies a lot of arguments. He makes it seem like if you are doing a lot of other charitable works, but NOT sending money to Oxfam or UNICEF, you are a horrible person who is just letting people die. Additionally, if you are a rich person who made [...]

    26. Years ago, I'd read an article by Peter Singer in the New York Times Magazine about poverty, and I'd been struck at how much he demanded people do in order to act ethically in a world where people (and children in particular) are dying from preventable causes. This was an old article -- a web search suggests he wrote another in 2008 on the same theme -- that posed a hypothetical question about whether one should flip the switch to prevent a racing train from crushing a child, if doing so would e [...]

    27. It's Peter Singer, so there's an intense emotional appeal, and guilt in this case, but the logic just isn't there. His main example for motivating us to save the poor of the world is based on a straw man (Ok, a straw toddler). Sure, we'd help the toddler who fell in a creek. Does that require us to save millions of starving toddlers? No, because the premise (one toddler) doesn't match the conclusion (millions of 'em). Assuming we are working towards what to do about millions of starving toddlers [...]

    28. I feel bad giving this only three stars, because Peter Singer is my idol. And when I read the article it's based on in the NY Times, I was deeply affected by it. It prompted Jason and I to decide to increase our donations from 1% to 5% of our income once we pay off our student loans this year. But I don't think the book adds that much to the article, except length. Certainly not clarity. I was looking forward to a discussion of the most effective ways to improve the lives of the world's poor, an [...]

    29. This book has a lot of misdirected energy. For the majority of the book, the author makes the philosophical argument that as citizens of wealthy nations, we have the ethical responsibility to live ascetically and give all of our disposable income to charity. He then proceeds to explain our resistance to that idea as a function of "human nature", but comes off sounding like his knowledge of human nature is derived from the analysis of clinical studies more than from interactions with actual human [...]

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