The Psychology of Extreme Altruism

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Some people go to great lengths to help others, even when it comes at a high personal cost: the couple who adopts 20 orphans, the woman who donates a kidney to a stranger, the man who starts a leper colony. New Yorker staff writer Larissa MacFarquhar profiles these extreme "do-gooders" and others like them in her book, "Strangers Drowning." We'll hear about what drives these rare individuals and consider, with MacFarquhar, how much we can and should help others.


Larissa MacFarquhar, staff writer for the New Yorker and author of "Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help"