Book Notes #68: The Almanack of Naval Ravikant - Eric Jorgenson

Book Notes: The Almanack of Naval Ravikant - Eric Jorgenson
Book Notes with the most important highlights and takeaways from the book The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson.


Title: The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness
Author: Eric Jorgenson
Themes: Business, Economy, World, Vision, Health, Happiness
Year: 2020
Publisher: Magrathea Publishing
Pages: 242

Getting rich is not just about luck; happiness is not just a trait we are born with. These aspirations may seem out of reach, but building wealth and being happy are skills we can learn.

"... You’ll never be rich since you’re obviously smart, and someone will always offer you a job that’s just good enough..."

So what are these skills, and how do we learn them? What are the principles that should guide our efforts? What does progress really look like?

Naval Ravikant is an entrepreneur, philosopher, and investor who has captivated the world with his principles for building wealth and creating long-term happiness.

"... People seem to think you can create wealth—make money through work. It’s probably not going to work. There are many reasons for that. Without ownership, your inputs are very closely tied to your outputs. In almost any salaried job, even one paying a lot per hour like a lawyer or a doctor, you’re still putting in the hours, and every hour you get paid. Without ownership, when you’re sleeping, you’re not earning. When you’re retired, you’re not earning. When you’re on vacation, you’re not earning. And you can’t earn nonlinearly...."

"... Think about what product or service society wants but does not yet know how to get. You want to become the person who delivers it ...You are waiting for your moment when something emerges in the world, they need a skill set, and you’re uniquely qualified. You build your brand in the meantime on Twitter, on YouTube, and by giving away free work. You make a name for yourself, and you take some risks in the process. When it is time to move on the opportunity, you can do so with leverage—the maximum leverage possible....."

"... Coding, writing books, recording podcasts, tweeting, YouTubing—these kinds of things are permissionless. You don’t need anyone’s permission to do them, and that’s why they are very egalitarian. They’re great equalizers of leverage. Every great software developer, now has an army of robots working for him at nighttime while he or she sleeps, after they’ve written the code, and it’s cranking away..."

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant is a collection of the Naval's wisdom and experience from the last ten years, shared as a curation of his most insightful interviews and poignant reflections.

This isn't a how-to book or a step-by-step gimmick. Instead, through Naval's own words, you will learn how to walk your own unique path toward a happier, healthier life.

Book Notes: The Almanack of Naval Ravikant - Eric Jorgenson

Naval is known for his innovative ideas and unique perspective on life, business, and success. The book is a collection of his tweets, podcast interviews, and other writings, organized into a framework that covers a wide range of topics, including wealth, happiness, relationships, and more.

The book also includes commentary and analysis from the author, Eric Jorgenson, who provides additional insights and context to help readers understand and apply Naval's ideas in their own lives.

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant has received widespread praise for its insightful and practical wisdom.

It has been described as a "must-read" for anyone seeking to improve their lives and achieve their goals. The book has also been praised for its clear and concise writing style, making it accessible to readers of all levels of experience and expertise.

Overall, The Almanack of Naval Ravikant is a valuable resource for anyone seeking to gain a deeper understanding of entrepreneurship, success, and personal growth.

The List of Recommended Books by Naval:

  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
  • The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley
  • Skin in the Game by Nassim Taleb
  • The Bed of Procrustes by Nassim Taleb
  • Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman
  • The Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe
  • Thinking Physics by Lewis Carroll Epstein
  • The Lessons of History by Will & Ariel Durant
  • The Sovereign Individual by James Davidson and William Rees-Mogg
  • Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charlie Munger
  • Reality Is Not What It Seems by Carlo Rovelli
  • Seven Brief Lessons in Physics by Carlo Rovelli
  • The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch
  • The Compleat Strategist by J.D. Williams
  • The Evolution of Cooperation by Robert Axelrod
  • The Book of Life by Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • Total Freedom: The Essential Krishnamurti by Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
  • The Book of Secrets by Osho
  • The Great Challenge: Exploring the World Within by Osho
  • The Way to Love by Anthony DeMello
  • The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Singer
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  • Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It by Kamal Ravikant
  • How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
  • The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master
  • Striking Thoughts by Bruce Lee
  • The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
  • The Tao of Philosophy by Alan Watts
  • Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
  • Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
  • Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang
  • The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang
  • Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
  • The Last Question by Isaac Asimov

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant covers a wide range of topics and includes a wealth of insights and wisdom from Naval Ravikant. 

Here are some of the key lessons that readers can take away from the book:

 - Focus on building specific skills that are valuable in the marketplace. This can help you create more leverage in your career and increase your earning potential.

 - Develop a daily practice of meditation or mindfulness to improve your mental clarity, reduce stress, and increase your ability to focus.

 - Don't try to compete in crowded, established markets. Instead, focus on creating something new or finding a niche where you can excel and create value.

 - Seek out experiences that stretch you and force you out of your comfort zone. This can help you grow and develop as a person.

 - Build relationships based on mutual respect and shared values. Focus on creating win-win situations where both parties benefit.

 - Don't chase external validation and don't seek approval from others. Instead, focus on your own internal sense of purpose and direction.

 - Practice gratitude and focus on what you have rather than what you lack. This can help you cultivate a more positive and abundant mindset.

 - Invest in yourself by continuously learning, exploring new ideas, and expanding your knowledge and skills.

 - Cultivate a long-term perspective and avoid short-term thinking. This can help you make better decisions and stay focused on your goals.

Seek Wealth, Not Money or Status: According to the Naval, wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep. Money is simply a means of transferring time and wealth, while status is one's place in the social hierarchy. Instead of pursuing money or status, focus on creating wealth through assets such as business, investments, or intellectual property.

Specific Knowledge Is Key: Naval believes that specific knowledge is knowledge that cannot be trained for. If society can train you, it can train someone else and replace you. Therefore, it's important to develop unique skills or expertise that set you apart from others.

Fortunes Require Leverage: Leverage is the key to building fortunes, and business leverage can come from capital, people, and products with no marginal cost of replication. Code and media are two examples of permissionless leverage that can help you create wealth without relying on others.

Escape Competition Through Authenticity: When you try to compete with others, you end up copying them, and this often leads to mediocrity. Instead, focus on being authentic and creating something that is true to yourself. This way, you'll stand out from the competition and create something that is unique.

Learn to Sell and Build: Naval believes that the most important skills for success are the ability to sell and build. Selling is the ability to communicate your ideas effectively and persuade others, while building involves creating something of value. If you can do both, you'll be unstoppable.

Optimize for Independence, Not Pay: While many people focus on earning a high salary, the Naval believes that it's more important to optimize for independence. This means focusing on output rather than input and having the freedom to work on projects that truly matter to you.

Retire When Today Is Complete: Retirement is not about waiting for an imaginary future where you can stop working. Instead, it's about living in the present and finding fulfillment in what you do every day. When you can say that today was complete in and of itself, you can consider yourself retired.

Naval's Rules (2016): 

- Be present above all else
- Desire is suffering
- Anger is hot coal you hold while waiting to throw it at someone else
- Reading (learning) is the ultimate meta-skill 
- All the real benefits in life come from compound interest
- Earn with your mind, not your time
- 99 percent of all effort is wasted
- Total honesty at all times
- Praise specifically, criticize generally
- Truth is that which has predictive power
- Watch every thought (“Why am I having this thought?”)
- All greatness comes from suffering
- Love is given, not received
- Enlightenment is the space between your thoughts
- Mathematics is the language of nature
- Every moment has to be complete in and of itself
- If you can’t see yourself working with someone for life, don’t work with them for a day

Naval's Life Formulas (2008):

- Happiness = Health + Wealth + Good Relationships
- Health = Exercise + Diet + Sleep
- Exercise = High Intensity Resistance Training + Sports + Rest
- Diet = Natural Foods + Intermittent Fasting + Plants
- Sleep = No alarms + 8–9 hours + Circadian rhythms
- Wealth = Income + Wealth * (Return on Investment)
- Income = Accountability + Leverage + Specific Knowledge
- Accountability = Personal Branding + Personal Platform + Taking Risks
- Leverage = Capital + People + Intellectual Property
- Specific Knowledge = something society cannot do yet easily train others
- Return on Investment = “Buy-and-Hold” + Valuation + Margin of Safety

Overall, the book encourages readers to take responsibility for their own lives, pursue their passions, and focus on creating value for themselves and others. 

It offers practical advice and actionable insights that can help readers achieve their goals and live a more fulfilling life.

My Book Highlights:

"... Happiness is being satisfied with what you have..."

"... Wealth is assets that earn while you sleep..."

"... Explain what you learned to someone else. Teaching forces learning..."

"... Memory and identity are burdens from the past preventing us from living freely in the present..."

"... Intentions don’t matter. Actions do. That’s why being ethical is hard..."

"... Play iterated games. All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest..."

"... The three big ones in life are wealth, health, and happiness. We pursue them in that order, but their importance is reversed..."

"... Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” —Buddhist saying..."

"... Specific knowledge is found much more by pursuing your innate talents, your genuine curiosity, and your passion. It’s not by going to school for whatever is the hottest job; it’s not by going into whatever field investors say is the hottest..."

"... The hardest thing is not doing what you want—it’s knowing what you want..."

"... If I say I’m happy, that means I was sad at some point. If I say he’s attractive, then somebody else is unattractive. Every positive thought even has a seed of a negative thought within it and vice versa, which is why a lot of greatness in life comes out of suffering..."

"... If you have nothing in your life, but you have at least one person that loves you unconditionally, it’ll do wonders for your self-esteem..."

"... Earn with your mind, not your time..."

"... Escape competition through authenticity..."

"... A happy person isn’t someone who’s happy all the time. It’s someone who effortlessly interprets events in such a way that they don’t lose their innate peace..."

"... Realize that in modern society, the downside risk is not that large. Even personal bankruptcy can wipe the debts clean in good ecosystems. I’m most familiar with Silicon Valley, but generally, people will forgive failures as long as you were honest and made a high-integrity effort. There’s not really that much to fear in terms of failure, so people should take on a lot more accountability than they do..."

"... The more desire I have for something to work out a certain way, the less likely I am to see the truth..."

"... I have lowered my identity. I have lowered the chattering of my mind. I don’t care about things that don’t really matter. I don’t get involved in politics. I don’t hang around unhappy people. I really value my time on this earth. I read philosophy. I meditate..."

"... If you’re not willing to do a wholesale, 24/7, 100 percent swap with who that person is, then there is no point in being jealous..."

"... The reality is life is a single-player game. You’re born alone. You’re going to die alone. All of your interpretations are alone. All your memories are alone. You’re gone in three generations, and nobody cares. Before you showed up, nobody cared. It’s all single-player..."

"... The most important skill for getting rich is becoming a perpetual learner..."

"... Become the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true..."

"... Study microeconomics, game theory, psychology, persuasion, ethics, mathematics, and computers..."

"... Learn to sell. Learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable..."

"... You will get rich by giving society what it wants but does not yet know how to get. At scale..."

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

"... Seek wealth, not money or status. Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep. Money is how we transfer time and wealth. Status is your place in the social hierarchy..."

"... Getting rich is about knowing what to do, who to do it with, and when to do it..."

In conclusion, "The Almanack of Naval Ravikant" offers a wealth of knowledge and insights on a wide range of topics, distilled from the experience and wisdom of one of the most influential thinkers of our time. 

Through his writings, Naval challenges us to think differently about success, happiness, and personal growth, and provides us with a roadmap for achieving these goals in our own lives. 

Chapters of the Book:


   Understand How Wealth Is Created
   Find and Build Specific Knowledge
   Play Long-Term Games with Long-Term People
   Take on Accountability
   Build or Buy Equity in a Business
   Find a Position of Leverage
   Get Paid for Your Judgment
   Prioritize and Focus
   Find Work That Feels Like Play
   How to Get Lucky
   Be Patient

   How to Think Clearly
   Shed Your Identity to See Reality
   Learn the Skills of Decision-Making
   Collect Mental Models
   Learn to Love to Read


   Happiness Is Learned
   Happiness Is a Choice
   Happiness Requires Presence
   Happiness Requires Peace
   Every Desire Is a Chosen Unhappiness
   Success Does Not Earn Happiness
   Envy Is the Enemy of Happiness
   Happiness Is Built by Habits
   Find Happiness in Acceptance

   Choosing to Be Yourself
   Choosing to Care for Yourself
   Meditation + Mental Strength
   Choosing to Build Yourself
   Choosing to Grow Yourself
   Choosing to Free Yourself

   The Meanings of Life 
   Live by Your Values
   Rational Buddhism
   The Present Is All We Have

We hope that this blog post has provided you with a glimpse into the valuable lessons contained in this book and that you will be inspired to read it and apply these insights to your own life. 

Remember, as Naval himself says, "The purpose of life is to seek happiness, but happiness is found in the pursuit of a worthy goal." 

So, find your worthy goal, pursue it with passion and purpose, and let the wisdom of Naval Ravikant guide you on your journey to success and fulfillment.

Eric Jorgenson is the author of The Almanack of Naval Ravikant. He is a writer, editor, and startup advisor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jorgenson has worked with a number of startups and is the founder of the product development consulting firm Evergreen. Jorgenson has a background in engineering and product development, but he has also studied philosophy and has a strong interest in personal development and entrepreneurship. He has written extensively on these topics and has been featured in a number of publications, including The Wall Street Journal and Inc.

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