But hyper-rational MacAskill is not above offering life-coach advice from the perspective of one who is not close to being half-way through his. Here he speaks at TEDx to tell school- or college-leavers how they can best manage their lives if they have bleeding-heart tendencies. Taking a gap-year to go South and build huts for Africans is a waste of time and talent! You would do better to do one or more of the following.
- Become an entrepreneur or get up close to one. Entrepreneurs have to be generalists, so they upskill on a broad range of topics. The Beloved lucked into an office-help job with Clive Sinclair as the 8th hire at his ZX80 venture in Cambridge, UK. Two years later she was Customer Service North America in Boston, MA.
- Go into research. The market for researchers is under-supplied and the training is somewhat generic - if you can find out how a gene works you can find out whether compulsory Latin has benefit in primary schools or why dams fail. And you'll be able to discover where is the best place to dispose of your disposable income.
- Go into politics. Especially if you're at Oxbridge and have some rich friends: that cohort has a 1/30 chance of ending up in parliament.
- Upskill yourself. You'll be better off, and so will the poor, if you work for a year as an intern in a consultancy in Washington or Uppsala than if you wield a hammer in Ouagadougou.
- Get a job in Megacorp and climb the corporate ladder. You don't have to put all your earnings into cocaine and Porsches.
But one final thing - take this advice with a pinch of salt. MacAskill accepts, with minor qualification, the idea that Norman "Short Wheat" Borlaug saved