Almanack of Naval Ravikant

Eric Jorgenson

Book in 3 Sentences

  1. In order to gain wealth, give society new things that it does not know how to get yet. Provided its within your capabilities and natural for you to accomplish, take the risk with your name and reap the rewards.
  2. Avoid following whatever is making money right now, explore your genuine curiosity and don't force yourself to fit in with the other monkeys. Doing it for social approval (or FOMO) is not where returns are made in life, its being out of the pack and thinking things through for yourself.
  3. To be happy in life, acknowledge that happiness is just like any other muscle that needs to be trained. Accept your current state, instead of desiring a change in your external environment. The less you desire for things that will only add positives, the less you will think "oh I'll be happy when I get this thing."

Impressions

Naval is an incredibly wise man, and I think more people should listen to what he has to say. He grew up with a family from India who had moved to the US with all their money, resulting in a not so wealthy background. But he amassed large amounts of money through building startups and investing. The book is about how he has lived his life up until now and everything hes learnt from being happy, creating wealth and just building relationships. Overall, Naval has broadened my constantly improving perspective on wealth and living a happy life.

He really emphasises on the power of compounding in everything which I agree with. If you want to live a "successful" life then build good habits (if you want to learn how to build habits I highly recommend reading Atomic Habits) and just take care of yourself above everything else. Make hard choices in the short term in order to live an easy life in the long term. A lot of people know this, but the issue is that they continue to live comfortable lives and digitisation has made this even worse for people since everything has become a dopamine supplement.

It technically isn't a written book, but instead a curated set of wisdom Naval has said on Twitter, Podcasts and Essays over the past decade. The person who created and pieced the entire book together is Eric Jorgenson, who I think has done an amazing job highlighting the key points of Naval's work. Due to that, another great thing about the book is that its free! If you have a Kindle, download the .MOBI format from the books website and email it to your Kindle. Its as simple as that. If you don't have a Kindle tablet, you can read the book on your phone through the same process but on the Kindle mobile app. Obviously, the paperback edition will cost you money and can be purchased on Amazon.

Who Should Read It?

If you have never read a book in your life, I think this would be a great way to lay that foundation for yourself in making reading a habit. It still shocks me that people think reading is boring, which I would have agreed with a year ago, but sadly people just want to hop on stereotypes and give their opinion on topics they have a lack of knowledge in.

I don't want to rant too much here but I'll probably make an article soon about the next generation of innovators. I'm well aware of the amazing projects young people are building. Take a look at the young kids from developing countries who would be on route to a successful career, if they were in a developed country instead. Unfortunately we fail to pay attention to them and give these kids in low economic backgrounds a platform to grow. But nah lets see what the kids on Tiktok are doing! Enough of that, back to the notes (I don't want to sound unlikable, I'm just trying to speak on my thoughts which tend to be true).

Anyways, young people who are getting started in their life should read this book as it teaches you some lessons in order to "succeed" (I use the word success in quotes as I kind of find the word a bit cringe to say, since people glamorise it so much like it means anything).

How It Impacted Me

  • I've started to realise that I need to think more about myself and make my happiness a priority, instead of doing it for others.
  • Your family will be the only people who are there for you no matter what, stop forcing yourself to be friends with people who will only need you for a favour.
  • Took meditating more seriously, I learnt that meditation isn't something that only monks are supposed to do. I thought I had to sit in a professional position but now I simply do it whenever (usually in the mornings) I want and it feels really good afterwards.
  • Learnt that I should pick friends or business partners that are high in intelligence, energy and integrity, not someone who fails to sleep and result in looking like a Zombie in mornings (bit random I know).
  • I can leverage my ability to code and write, these skills are behind the newly rich. I can build software and write about the books I read which hopefully some day will work for me in my sleep.
  • Money will not make me any happier in the long term, I have everything I need and having access to my family, the internet and building meaningful projects all for free is where I find joy.
  • Money will 100% without a doubt remove a set of problems in my life that get in the way of my happiness, but buying external items in order to add positives is a recipe for disaster.
  • Others my age calling me weird is generally a good thing, but in my current state I avoid interacting with people that I don't find my values aligning with. Plus the kids my age are really mean and have a lack of curiosity to step outside their comfort zone. I also read something similar to this before in a post by Patrick Collison (talented co-founder of Stripe alongside his brother): "Above all else, don't make the mistake of judging your success based on your current peer group. By all means make friends but being weird as a teenager is generally good."

Some Quotes

You’re not going to get rich renting out your time. You must own equity—a piece of a business—to gain your financial freedom.

If you can’t decide, the answer is no. If I’m faced with a difficult choice, such as: Should I marry this person? Should I take this job? Should I buy this house? Should I move to this city? Should I go into business with this person? If you cannot decide, the answer is no. And the reason is, modern society is full of options. There are tons and tons of options. We live on a planet of seven billion people, and we are connected to everybody on the internet. There are hundreds of thousands of careers available to you. There are so many choices.

To me, happiness is not about positive thoughts. It’s not about negative thoughts. It’s about the absence of desire, especially the absence of desire for external things. The fewer desires I can have, the more I can accept the current state of things, the less my mind is moving, because the mind really exists in motion toward the future or the past. The more present I am, the happier and more content I will be. If I latch onto a feeling, if I say, “Oh, I’m happy now,” and I want to stay happy, then I’m going to drop out of that happiness. Now, suddenly, the mind is moving. It’s trying to attach to something. It’s trying to create a permanent situation out of a temporary situation.

When you’re young, you have time. You have health, but you have no money. When you’re middle-aged, you have money and you have health, but you have no time. When you’re old, you have money and you have time, but you have no health. So the trifecta is trying to get all three at once. By the time people realize they have enough money, they’ve lost their time and their health.

Playing video games will make you happier in the short run—and I used to be an avid gamer—but in the long run, it could ruin your happiness. You’re being fed dopamine and having dopamine withdrawn from you in these little uncontrollable ways.

The greatest superpower is the ability to change yourself.

How do you define wisdom? Understanding the long-term consequences of your actions.