The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

Notes that I found to be universal. Portions on Happiness and Philosophy are skipped since I think everyone has their own personal interpretation of them (even thought I thoroughly enjoyed those portions).

How to become rich

Seek wealth, not money or status. Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep.

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

Give society what it wants (now or later), but doesn’t know how to get- at scale.

Pick an industry where you can play long-term games with long-term people.

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

Pick partners with high intelligence, energy and integrity. Don’t partner with cynics and pessimists.

Co-founder

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

Arm yourself with specific knowledge, accountability and leverage.

  • Specific knowledge is knowledge you cannot be trained for. If society can train you, it can train someone else and replace you.
  • 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, when taught, is taught through apprenticeships, not schools.
  • Embrace accountability and take business risks under your name. Society will reward you with responsibility, equity and leverage.
  • Business leverage comes from capital, people and products with no marginal cost of replication. Capital and people are permissioned leverage (someone has to give you money and someone has to follow you). Code and media are permissionless leverage.
  • You should be too busy to “do coffee” while still keeping an uncluttered calendar.
  • Work as hard as you can. Using specific knowledge that you love. Who you work with and what you are working on are > how hard you work.
  • Escape competition through authenticity.
  • Compounding in business relationships, both 1-1 and wide relationships are very important. When you find the right thing to do, when you find the right people to work with, invest deeply.
  • Follow your intellectual curiosity more than whatever is “hot” right now. If your curiosity ever leads you to a place where society eventually wants to go to, you’ll get paid extremely well.
  • You will get rewarded by giving society what it wants but doesn’t know how to get. You want to become the person who delivers it and delivers it at scale.
  • Old leverage - people/ labor. Then money and in the last century - capital/ credit. Currently - products with no margin cost of replication. What is next?
  • You have to be in the top 0-1% (or lesser) of whatever you do.
  • Stay out of things that could cause you to lose all your wealth. Don’t gamble everything in one go. Instead take rationally optimistic bets with big upsides.
  • Demonstrated judgement with high accountability and a clear track record is critical.
  • 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. Set aside an aspirational hourly rate. Your aspirational hourly rate must be absurdly high.
  • Status is an old zero-sum game. Wealth creation is positive-sum game.
  • Spend more time making the big decisions - where you live, who are with and what you do. We spend very little time deciding which relationship to get into. We spend so much time in a job, but we spend so little time deciding which job to get into. Same with the city we live in. Spend one to two years deciding these things.

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

  • Having so much money saved that your passive income covers your burn rate (closest to old definition of retirement and unless your parents are rich, you are looking long into 60s)
  • Driving your burn rate to 0 - become a monk
  • Doing something you love.

In 1000 parallel universes, you want to be wealthy in 999 of them. You don’t want to be wealthy in the fifty of them where you got lucky. So factor luck out of it. 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.

Principles

  • Your real resume is the catalog of all your suffering.
  • “Clear thinker” is a better compliment than “smart”.
  • The more desire I have for something to work out a certain way, the less likely I am to see the truth. What we wish to be true clouds our perception of the truth.
  • Take time a day a week or two to truly think. Empty space.
  • Be an optimistic contrarian. Think from ground up and resist to conformation.
  • Almost all biases are time-saving heuristics.
  • Radical honesty just means I want to be free. Part of being free  means I can say what I think and think what I say.
  • Praise specifically, criticize generally.
  • If you are more right and more rational, you will get non linear returns in your life. Someone who makes decisions right 80% of the time instead of 70% of time will be valued and compensated in the market hundreds of times more.

What mental models are - pointers, addresses or mnemonics to help you remember deep-seated principles where you have underlying experience to back it up. What they are not - insipirational quotes to make a nice poster out of.

  • Inversion
  • Principal-agent
  • Compound interest
  • Black swans
  • If you cannot decide, the answer is no
  • If you are evenly split on a decision, take the one with short-term pain

Reading

  • Read what you love until you love to read. Reading and hour a day puts you in the top 0.001%. It doesn’t matter what you read. Eventually, you will read enough things that it will dramatically improve your life.
  • The number of books read is a vanity metric. There are lot of books out there and there is no way one can read significant % of those in their lifetime. What matters is reading great books. And everyone has their own great books. Read to find yours.
  • No book in the library should scare you. You should be able to take any book down off the shel and read it. If it si too difficult, read them anyway. Then go back and reread them and reread them.
  • Study logic and math. Once you’ve mastered them, you won’t fear any book.
  • To think clearly, understand the basics. If you’re memorizing advanced concepts without being able to re-derive them as needed, you’re lost.

Happiness

  • Fit body, calm mind and a house full of love must be earned, cannot be bought.
  • Happiness and love are very personal- everyone can have their own definitions and interpretations.
  • Maybe happiness is not something you inherit or even choose, but a highly personal skill that can be learned, like nutrition or fitness. Happiness is what’s there when you remove the sense that something is missing in your life.
  • A rational person can find peace by cultivating indifference to things outside of their control. Happiness, love and passion are not things you find- they are the choices you make and a skill you develop. 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.
  • Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want. Be aware and choose your desires wisely.
  • We are everything and nothing. Both. At the same time. We are going to die one day, and none of this is going to matter. So enjoy yourself. Do something positive. Project some love. Laugh a little. Appreicate the moment and do you work.
  • The greatest superpower is the ability to change yourself.

sid


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