Article Author: Eric Jorgenson Created: June 23, 2021 10:46 PM Property: Book-notes-Bino, Books-summaries, Pending Updated: August 7, 2022 9:57 AM

# Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happines

I like to think that if I lost all my money and you dropped me on a random street in any English-speaking country, within five or ten years I’d be wealthy again because it’s just a skillset I’ve developed that anyone can develop.

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

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

### Specific knowledge

Specific knowledge is found by pursuing your genuine curiosity and passion rather than whatever is hot right now.

Building specific knowledge will feel like play to you but will look like work to others.

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.

Code and media are permission less leverage. They’re the leverage behind the newly rich. You can create software and media that works for you while you sleep.

Wealth is the thing you want. Wealth is assets that earn while you sleep. Wealth is the factory, the robots, cranking out things. Wealth is the computer program that’s running at night, serving other customers. Wealth is even money in the bank that is being reinvested into other assets, and into other businesses.

So, technology is the set of things, as Alan Kay said, that don’t quite work yet [correction: Danny Hillis]. Once something works, it’s no longer technology. Society always wants new things. And if you want to be wealthy, you want to figure out which one of those things you can provide for society that it does not yet know how to get but it will want and providing it is natural to you, within your skill set, and within your capabilities.

Specific knowledge cannot be taught, but it can be learned. When I talk about specific knowledge, I mean figure out what you were doing as a kid or teenager almost effortlessly. Something you didn’t even consider a skill, but people around you noticed. Your mother or your best friend growing up would know.

  • “Escape competition through authenticity.” Basically, when you’re competing with people, it’s because you’re copying them. It’s because you’re trying to do the same thing. But every human is different. Don’t copy.*

you go to the library and there’s a book you cannot understand, you have to dig down and say, “What is the foundation required for me to learn this?” Foundations are super important. [74]

being able to convey yourself simply using ordinary English words is far more important than being able to write poetry, having an extensive vocabulary, or speaking seven different foreign languages.

You do need to be deep in something because otherwise you’ll be a mile wide and an inch deep and you won’t get what you want out of life. You can only achieve mastery in one or two things. It’s usually things you’re obsessed about. [74]

“All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.”

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

Elad Gil

But at least when it comes to the goal-oriented life, only about 1 percent of the efforts you made paid off.

I’m not saying don’t do the 99 percent, because it’s very hard to identify what the 1 percent is. What I’m saying is: when you find the 1 percent of your discipline which will not be wasted, which you’ll be able to invest in for the rest of your life and has meaning to you—go all-in and forget about the rest. [10]

Embrace accountability and take business risks under your own name. Society will reward you with responsibility, equity, and leverage.

accountability is a double-edged thing. It allows you to take credit when things go well and to bear the brunt of the failure when things go badly. [78]

It’s ownership versus wage work. If you are paid for renting out your time, even lawyers and doctors, you can make some money, but you’re not going to make the money that gives you financial freedom. You’re not going to have passive income where a business is earning for you while you are on vacation. [10]

I only really want to do things for their own sake. That is one definition of art. Whether it’s business, exercise, romance, friendship, whatever, I think the meaning of life is to do things for their own sake. Ironically, when you do things for their own sake, you create your best work. Even if you’re just trying to make money, you will actually be the most successful.

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 risk in the process. When it is time to move on the opportunity, you can do so with leverage—the maximum leverage possible. [1]

You get rewarded by society for giving it what it wants and doesn’t know how to get elsewhere.

This includes books, media, movies, and code. Code is probably the most powerful form of permissionless leverage. All you need is a computer—you don’t need anyone’s permission. [1] Forget rich versus poor, white-collar versus blue. It’s now leveraged versus un-leveraged.

The most interesting and the most important form of leverage is the idea of products that have no marginal cost of replication.

This was only invented in the last few hundred years. It started with the printing press. It accelerated with broadcast media, and now it’s really blown up with the internet and with coding. Now, you can multiply your efforts without involving other humans and without needing money from other humans.

Coding, writing books, recording podcasts, tweeting, YouTubing—these kinds of things are permissionless.

You’re never going to get rich renting out your time.

Probably the most interesting thing to keep in mind about new forms of leverage is they are permissionless.

If you have specific knowledge, you have accountability and you have leverage; they have to pay you what you’re worth. If they pay you what you’re worth, then you can get your time back—you can be hyper-efficient. You’re not doing meetings for meetings’ sake, you’re not trying to impress other people, you’re not writing things down to make it look like you did work. All you care about is the actual work itself.

What you want in life is to be in control of your time. You want to get into a leveraged job where you control your own time and you’re tracked on the outputs.

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

CEOs are highly paid because of their leverage.

We waste our time with short-term thinking and busywork. Warren Buffett spends a year deciding and a day acting. That act lasts decades.

Thanks to the internet, opportunities are massively abundant. In fact, I have too many ways to make money. I don’t have enough time. I literally have opportunities pouring out of my ears, and I keep running out of time. There are so many ways to create wealth, to create products, to create businesses, and to get paid by society as a byproduct. I just can’t handle them all. [78]

Value your time at an hourly rate, and ruthlessly spend to save time at that rate. You will never be worth more than you think you’re worth.

No one is going to value you more than you value yourself. You just have to set a very high personal hourly rate and you have to stick to it.

Always factor your time into every decision. How much time does it take? It’s going to take you an hour to get across town to get something. If you value yourself at one hundred dollars an hour, that’s basically throwing one hundred dollars out of your pocket. Are you going to do that? [78]

Another way of thinking about something is, if you can outsource something or not do something for less than your hourly rate, outsource it or don’t do it. If you can hire someone to do it for less than your hourly rate, hire them. That even includes things like cooking. You may want to eat your healthy home cooked meals, but if you can outsource it, do that instead. [78]

Wealth creation is an evolutionarily recent positive-sum game. Status is an old zero-sum game. Those attacking wealth creation are often just seeking status.

The problem is, to win at a status game, you have to put somebody else down. That’s why you should avoid status games in your life—they make you into an angry, combative person. You’re always fighting to put other people down, to put yourself and the people you like up.

There are fundamentally two huge games in life that people play. One is the money game. Because money is not going to solve all of your problems, but it’s going to solve all of your money problems. People realize that, so they want to make money.

Spend more time making the big decisions. There are basically three really big decisions you make in your early life: where you live, who you’re with, and what you do.

Advice to a young engineer considering moving to San Francisco: “Do you want to leave your friends behind? Or be the one left behind?”

You have to say no to everything and free up your time so you can solve the important problems. Those three are probably the three biggest ones. [1]

Figure out what you’re good at, and start helping other people with it. Give it away. Pay it forward. Karma works because people are consistent. On a long enough timescale, you will attract what you project. But don’t measure—your patience will run out if you count. [7]

There are almost 7 billion people on this planet. Someday, I hope, there will be almost 7 billion companies.

I would rather be a failed entrepreneur than someone who never tried. Because even a failed entrepreneur has the skill set to make it on their own. [14]

Then you just get tired of games. I would say I’m at the stage where I’m just tired of games. I don’t think there is any end goal or purpose. I’m just living life as I want to. I’m literally just doing it moment to moment.

Any end goal will just lead to another goal, lead to another goal. We just play games in life. When you grow up, you’re playing the school game, or you’re playing the social game. Then you’re playing the money game, and then you’re playing the status game. These games just have longer and longer and longer-lived horizons. At some point, at least I believe, these are all just games. These are games where the outcome really stops mattering once you see through the game.

What you really want is freedom. You want freedom from your money problems, right?

Retirement is when you stop sacrificing today for an imaginary tomorrow. When today is complete, in and of itself, you’re retired.

Well, one way is to have so much money saved that your passive income (without you lifting a finger) covers your burn rate. A second is you just drive your burn rate down to zero—you become a monk. A third is you’re doing something you love. You enjoy it so much, it’s not about the money. So there are multiple ways to retirement.

But if anything, creating businesses and making money are now more of an “art.” [74] Whether in commerce, science, or politics—history remembers the artists.

Art is creativity. Art is anything done for its own sake.

I’m always “working.” It looks like work to others, but it feels like play to me. And that’s how I know no one can compete with me on it. Because I’m just playing, for sixteen hours a day. If others want to compete with me, they’re going to work, and they’re going to lose because they’re not going to do it for sixteen hours a day, seven days a week. [77]

Money is not the root of all evil; there’s nothing evil about it. But the lust for money is bad.

I think the best way to stay away from this constant love of money is to not upgrade your lifestyle as you make money. It’s very easy to keep upgrading your lifestyle as you make money. But if you can hold your lifestyle fixed and hopefully make your money in giant lump sums as opposed to a trickle at a time, you won’t have time to upgrade your lifestyle.

Ways to get lucky: • Hope luck finds you. • Hustle until you stumble into it. • Prepare the mind and be sensitive to chances others miss. • Become the best at what you do. Refine what you do until this is true. Opportunity will seek you

out. Luck becomes your destiny.

Your character and your reputation are things you can build, which will let you take advantage of opportunities other people may characterize as lucky, but you know it wasn’t luck. [78]

“Be a maker who makes something interesting people want. Show your craft, practice your craft, and the right people will eventually find you.” [14]

think you just have to be very careful about doing things you are fundamentally not going to be proud of, because they will damage you. The

Not in some cosmic, karma kind of way, but I believe deep down we all know who we are. You cannot hide anything from yourself. Your own failures are written within your psyche, and they are obvious to you. If you have too many of these moral shortcomings, you will not respect yourself. The worst outcome in this world is not having self-esteem. If you don’t love yourself, who will?

Apply specific knowledge with leverage and eventually, you will get what you deserve.

It takes time—even once you have all of these pieces in place, there is an indeterminate amount of time you have to put in. If you’re counting, you’ll run out of patience before success actually arrives.

People are oddly consistent. Karma is just you, repeating your patterns, virtues, and flaws until you finally get what you deserve. Always pay it forward. And don’t keep count.

Your real résumé is just a catalog of all your suffering. If

Money buys you freedom in the material world. It’s not going to make you happy, it’s not going to solve your health problems, it’s not going to make your family great, it’s not going to make you fit, it’s not going to make you calm. But it will solve a lot of external problems. It’s a reasonable step to go ahead and make money. [10]

Amazing how many people confuse wealth and wisdom.

Judgment is underrated.

In an age of leverage, one correct decision can win everything.

Without hard work, you’ll develop neither judgment nor leverage.

definition of wisdom is knowing the long-term consequences of your actions. Wisdom

I think the smartest people can explain things to a child. If you can’t explain it to a child, then you don’t know it. It’s a common saying and it’s very true.

If you can’t

rederive concepts from the basics as you need them, you’re lost. You’re just memorizing. [4]

You can only make progress when you’re starting with the truth.

The problem isn’t reality. The problem is their desire is colliding with reality and preventing them from seeing the truth, no matter how much you say it.

It’s only after you’re bored you have the great

ideas. It’s never going to be when you’re stressed, or busy, running around or rushed. Make the time. [7]

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

Any belief you took in a package (ex. Democrat, Catholic, American) is suspect and should be re-evaluated from base principles.

Facebook redesigns. Twitter redesigns. Personalities, careers, and teams also need redesigns. There are no permanent solutions in a dynamic system.

Almost all biases are time-saving heuristics. For important decisions, discard memory and identity, and focus on the problem.

“You should never, ever fool anybody, and you are the easiest person to fool.” The moment you tell somebody something dishonest, you’ve lied to yourself. Then you’ll start believing your own lie, which will disconnect you from reality and take you down the wrong road.

you have a criticism of someone, then don’t criticize the person—criticize the general approach or criticize the class of activities. If you have to praise somebody, then always try and find the person who is the best example of what you’re praising and praise the person, specifically. Then people’s egos and identities, which we all have, don’t work against you. They work for you. [4]

The more you know, the less you diversify.

Decision-making is everything.

blog Farnam Street

Mental models are really just compact ways for you to recall your own knowledge. [78]

I think being successful is just about not making mistakes. It’s not about having correct judgment. It’s about avoiding incorrect judgments. [4]

I believe we are fundamentally ignorant and very, very bad at predicting the future. [4]

Microeconomics and game theory are fundamental.

During decision-making, the brain is a memory prediction machine.

When you are the principal, then you are the owner—you care, and you will do a great job. When you are the agent and you are doing it on somebody else’s behalf, you can do a bad job. You just don’t care. You optimize for yourself rather than for the principal’s assets.

microeconomics textbook

Nassim Taleb, who I think is one of the greatest philosopher-scientists of our times.

If you can’t decide, the answer is no.

Simple heuristic: If you’re evenly split on a difficult decision, take the path more painful in the short term.

Your brain is overvaluing the side with the short-term happiness and trying to avoid the one with short-term pain.

So you generally want to lean into things with short-term pain, but long-term gain.

Reading science, math, and philosophy one hour per day will likely put you at the upper echelon of human success within seven years.

Read what you love until you love to read.

There’s no mission here to accomplish. Just read because you enjoy it.

At some deep level, you absorb them, and they become threads in the tapestry of your psyche. They kind of weave in there.

The number of books completed is a vanity metric. As you know more, you leave more books unfinished. Focus on new concepts with predictive power.

If they wrote it to make money, don’t read it.

Read the greats in math, science, and philosophy. Ignore your contemporaries and news. Avoid tribal identification. Put truth above social approval. [11]

What can I do for the next sixty days to become a clearer, more independent thinker?

No book in the library should scare you.

Study logic and math, because once you’ve mastered them, you won’t fear any book.

I have people in my life I consider to be very well-read who aren’t very smart. The reason is because even though they’re very well-read, they read the wrong things in the wrong order. They started out reading a set of false or just weakly true things, and those formed the axioms of the foundation for their worldview. Then, when new things come, they judge the new idea based on a foundation they already built. Your foundation is critical.

Adam Smith, read von Mises, or read Hayek. Start

you want to learn macroeconomics, first read

with the original philosophers of the economy.

To think clearly, understand the basics. If you’re memorizing advanced concepts without being able to re-derive them as needed, you’re lost.

When solving problems: the older the problem, the older the solution.

You know that song you can’t get out of your head? All thoughts work that way. Careful what you read.

A calm mind, a fit body, and a house full of love. These things cannot be bought. They must be earned.

The three big ones in life are wealth, health, and happiness. We pursue them in that order, but their importance is reverse. Learning Happiness Don’t take yourself so seriously. You’re just a monkey with a plan.

Maybe happiness is not something you inherit or even choose, but a highly personal skill that can be learned, like fitness or nutrition.

Happiness is the state when nothing is missing. When nothing is missing, your mind shuts down and stops running into the past or future to regret something or to plan something.

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 ever want to have peace in your life, you have to move beyond good and evil.

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.

The world just reflects your own feelings back at you. Reality is neutral. Reality has no judgments.

Nature has no concept of happiness or unhappiness. Nature follows unbroken mathematical laws and a chain of cause and effect from the Big Bang to now. Everything is perfect exactly the way it is.

Happiness is what’s there when you remove the sense that something is missing in your life.

This is what I mean when I say happiness is a choice. If you believe it’s a choice, you can start working on it. [77]

Our lives are a blink of a firefly in the night.

What it means is every second you have on this planet is very precious, and it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re happy and interpreting everything in the best possible way. [9] We think of ourselves as fixed and the world as malleable, but it’s really we who are malleable and the world is largely fixed.

Happiness, love, and passion…aren’t things you find—they’re choices you make.

A rational person can find peace by cultivating indifference to things outside of their control.

Memory and identity are burdens from the past preventing us from living freely in the present. [3]

We crave experiences that will make us be present,

but the cravings themselves take us from the present moment.

“Enlightenment is the space between your thoughts.”

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.

Looking outside yourself for anything is the fundamental delusion.

I’m addicted to the idea of this external thing bringing me some kind of happiness and joy, and this is completely delusional.

The fundamental delusion: There is something out there that will make me happy and fulfilled forever.

Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.

When you’re young and healthy, you can do more. By doing more, you’re actually taking on more and more desires. You don’t realize this is slowly destroying your happiness. I find younger people are less happy but more healthy. Older people are more happy but less healthy.

Happiness is being satisfied with what you have. Success comes from dissatisfaction. Choose.

To me, the real winners are the ones who step out of the game entirely, who don’t even play the game, who rise above it. Those are the people who have such internal mental and self-control and self-awareness, they need nothing from anybody else.

Jerzy Gregorek—

You can get almost anything you want out of life, as long as it’s one thing and you want it far more than anything else.

I think of happiness as an emergent property of peace. If you’re peaceful inside and out, that will eventually result in happiness.

The irony is the way most of us try to find peace is through war. When you start a business, in a way, you’re going to war.

Peace is happiness at rest, and happiness is peace in motion.

The enemy of peace of mind is expectations drilled into you by society and other people.

Socially, we’re told, “Go work out. Go look good.” That’s a multi-player competitive game. Other

Training yourself to be happy is completely internal. There is no external progress, no external validation. You’re competing against yourself—it is a single-player game.

It’s such a poisonous emotion because, at the end of the day, you’re no better off with jealousy. You’re unhappier, and the person you’re jealous of is still

To be happy being me.

You can increase your happiness over time, and it starts with believing you can do it.

When working, surround yourself with people more successful than you. When playing, surround yourself with people happier than you.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, which is a fantastic introduction to being present, for people who are not religious. He shows you the single-most important thing is to be present and hammers it home over and over again until you get it.

If you can’t see yourself working with someone for life, don’t work with them for a day.

When we get something, we assume the world owes it to us. If you’re present, you’ll realize how many gifts and how much abundance there is around us at all times. That’s all you really need to do. I’m here now, and I have all these incredible things at my disposal. [8]

The most important trick to being happy is to realize happiness is a skill you develop and a choice you make.

Happiness Habits

First, you know it. Then, you understand it. Then, you can explain it. Then, you can feel it. Finally, you are it.

What if this life is the paradise we were promised, and we’re just squandering it?