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#191 Naval Ravikant (A Guide to Wealth and Happiness)
July 13th, 2021 | E191

What I learned from reading The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness by Naval Ravikant and Eric Jorgenson. Read the book online for free here


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Naval has changed my life for the better, and if you approach the following pages like a friendly but highly competent sparring partner, he might just change yours.

Books make for great friends, because the best thinkers of the last few thousand years tell you their nuggets of wisdom.

If you don't know yet what you should work on, the most important thing is to figure it out.

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.

Ignore people playing status games, They gain status by attacking people playing wealth creation games.

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

The internet has massively broadened the possible space of careers, Most people haven't figured this out yet.

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

Arm yourself with specific knowledge, accountability, and leverage.

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.

Specific knowledge is often highly technical or creative. It cannot be outsourced or automated.

Fortunes require leverage.

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

An army of robots is freely available-it's just packed in data centers for heat and space efficiency. Use it.

If you can't code, write books and blogs, record videos and podcasts.

Leverage is a force multiplier for your judgment.

Set and enforce an aspirational personal hourly rate. If fixing a problem will save less than your hourly rate, ignore it. If outsourcing a task will cost less than your hourly rate, outsource it.

Work as hard as you can. Even though who you work with and what you work on are more important than how hard you work.

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

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

When you're finally wealthy, you'll realize it wasn't what you were seeking in the first place. But that is for another day.

Your summary says "Productize yourself"-what does that mean? “Productize" has leverage. “Yourself" has accountability.

Technology democratizes consumption but consolidates production. The best person in the world at anything gets to do it for everyone.

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.

No one can compete with you on being you. Most of life is a search for who and what needs you the most.

If you're not 100 percent into it, somebody else who is 100 percent into it will outperform you. And they won't just outperform you by a little bit-they'll outperform you by a lot because now we’re operating the domain of ideas, compound interest really applies and leverage really applies.

Escape competition through authenticity.

If you are fundamentally building and marketing something that is an extension of who you are, no one can compete with you on that.

The best jobs are neither decreed nor degreed. They are creative expressions of continuous learners in free markets.

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

If you don't own a piece of a business, you don't have a path towards financial freedom.

Find a position of leverage. We live in an age of infinite leverage.

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 newest form of leverage is where all the new fortunes are made. The new generation's fortunes are all made through code or media.

Whenever you can in life, optimize for independence rather than pay.

What you want in life is to be in control of your time.

Demonstrated judgment-credibility around the judgmentis so critical. Warren Buffett wins here because he has massive credibility. He's been highly accountable. He's been right over and over in the public domain. He's built a reputation for very high integrity, so you can trust him. People will throw infinite behind him because of his judgment. Nobody asks leverage him how hard he works. Nobody asks him when he wakes up your or when he goes to sleep. They're like, "Warren, just do thing."

Being at the extreme in your art is very important in the age of leverage.

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.

Your real résumé is just a catalog of all your suffering. If I ask you to describe your real life to yourself, and you look back from your deathbed at the interesting things you've done, it's all going to be around the sacrifices you made, the hard things you did.

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

The really smart thinkers are clear thinkers. They understand the basics at a very, very fundamental level. 

Very smart people tend to be weird since they insist on thinking everything through for themselves.

The more you know, the less you diversify.

Inversion. I don't believe I have the ability to say what is going to work. Rather, I try to eliminate what's not going to work. I think being successful is just about not making mistakes. It's not about having correct judgment. It's about avoiding incorrect judgments.

In the intellectual domain, compound interest rules.

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

What are the most efficient ways to build new mental models? Read a lot—just read.

The genuine love for reading itself, when cultivated, is a superpower. We live in the age of Alexandria, when every book and every piece of knowledge ever written down is a fingertip away. The means of learning are abundant-it's the desire to learn that is scarce.

I probably read one to two hours a day. That puts me in the top .00001 percent. I think that alone accounts for any material success I've had in my life and any intelligence I might have.

There is ancient wisdom in books. If you're talking about an old problem like how to keep your body healthy, how to stay calm and peaceful, what kinds of value systems are good, how you raise a family, and those kinds of things, the older solutions are probably better. Any book that survived for two thousand years has been filtered through many people. The general principles are more likely to be correct. I wanted to get back into reading these sorts of books.

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.

All the real scorecards are internal.

You decide it's important to you. You prioritize it above everything else. You read everything on the topic.

No exceptions—all screen activities linked to less happiness, all non-screen activities linked to more happiness.

Self-discipline is a bridge to a new self-image.

Enjoy yourself. Do something positive. Project some love. Make someone happy. Laugh a little bit. Appreciate the moment. And do your work.

To make an original contribution, you have to be irrationally obsessed with something.

Health, love, and your mission, in that order. Nothing else matters.


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I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested, so my poor wallet suffers.” — Gareth

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