Almanack of Naval Ravikant
This book collects and curates Naval's wisdom from Twitter, Podcasts, and Essays over the past decade. The wisdom of Naval Ravikant, created and edited by Eric Jorgenson, with Illustrations by Jack Butcher, and a Foreword by Tim Ferriss.
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.
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.
Pick an industry where you can play long-term games with long-term people.
Don't partner with cynics and pessimists. Their beliefs are self-fulfilling.
Specific knowledge is knowledge you cannot be trained for. If society can train you, it can train someone else and replace you.
Building specific knowledge will feel like play to you but will look work to others.
Embrace accountability, and take business risks under your own name.
Capital means money. To raise money, apply your specific knowledge with accountability and show resulting good judgment.
Labor means people working for you. It's the oldest and most fought-over form of leverage. Labor leverage will impress your parents, but don't waste your life chasing it.
Capital and labor and permissioned leverage. Everyone is chasing capital, but someone has to give it to you. Everyone is trying to lead, but someone has to follow you.
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.
Study microeconomics, game theory, psychology, persuasion, ethics, methematics, and computers.
Reading is faster than listening. Doing is faster than watching.
You should be too busy to "do coffee" while still keeping an uncluttered calendar.
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.
Become the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true.
Apple specific knowledge, with leverage, and eventually you will get what you deserve.
Summary: Productize Yourself.
It is the ability to have credits and debits of other people's time.
So, my definition of wealth is much more businesses and assets that can earn while you sleep.
Society will pay for create things it wants. But society doesn't you know to create those things, because if it did, they wouldn't need you. They would already be stamped out.
Almost everything in your house, in your workplace, and on the street used to be technology at one point in time. There was a time when oil was a technology that made J.D. Rockefeller rich. There was a time when cars were technology that made Henry Ford rich.
Once something works, it's no longer technology. Society always wants new things. And if you want to figure out which one of those thins you can provide for society that it does not you know how to get but it will want and providing it is natural to you, within your skill set, and within your capabilities.
Steve Jobs (and his team, of course) figured out society would want smartphone. A computer in their pocket that had all the phone capability times one hundred and was easy to use. So, they figured out how to build it, and then they figured out how to scale it.
When I talk about specific knowledge, I mean figure out what you were doing as a kid or teenager almost effortlessly.
For example, I love to read, and I love technology. I learn very quickly, and I get bored fast. If I had gone into a profession where I was required to tunnel down for twenty years into the same topic, it wouldn't have worked. I'm in venture investing, which requires me to come up to speed very, very quickly on new technologies (and I'm rewarded for getting bored because new technologies come along). It matches up pretty well with my specific knowledge and skill sets.
Society, business & money are downstream of technology, which is itself downstream of science. Science applied is the engine of humanity.
And I have this ability to absorb data, obsess about it, and break it down — that is a specific skill that I have. I also love tinkering with technology. And all of this stuff feels like play to me, but it looks like work to others.
The internet enables any niche interest, as long as you're the best person at it to scale out.
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.
Now, you have to come up to speed on a new profession within nine months, and it's obsolete four years later. But within those three productive years, you can get very wealthy.
It's much more important today to be able to become an expert in a brand-new field in nine to twelve months than to have studied the "right" thing a long time ago.
You really care about having studied the foundations, so you're not scared of any book. If 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.
When you find the right thing to do, when you find the right people to work with, invest deeply. Sticking with it for decades is really how you make the big returns in your relationships and in your money. So, compound interest is very important.
But at least when it comes to the goal-oriented life, only about 1 percent of the efforts you made paid off.
The people who have the ability to fail in public under their own names actually gain a lot of power.
There were definitely people in the industry who sent me messages through the backchannel like, "what are you doing? You're ending your career. This is stupid."
In the old days, the captain was expected to go down with the ship. If the ship was sinking, then literally the last person to get off was the captain. Accountability does come with real risks, but we're talking about a business context.
Realize that in modern society, the downside risk in 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.
If it entertains you now but will bore you someday, it's a distraction. Keep looking.
You're more likely to have skills society does not you know how to train other people to do. If someone can train other people how to do something, then they can replace you. If they can replace you, then they don't have to pay you a lot.
Labor — I would argue this is the worst form of leverage that you could possibly use. Managing other people is incredibly messy. It requires tremendous leadership skills.
Money — It scales very, very well. If you get good at managing capital, you can manage more and more capital much more easily than you can more and more people.
Forget rich versus poor, white-collar versus blue. It's now leveraged versus un-leveraged.
They don't require somebody else's permission for you to use them or succeed. For labor leverage, somebody has to decide to follow you. For capital leverage, somebody has to give you money to invest or to turn into a product.
Whenever you can in life, optimize for independence rather than pay. If you have independence and you're accountable on your output, as opposed to your input — that's the dream.
Forget 10x programmers. 1,000x programmers really exist, we just don't fully acknowledge it. See John Carmack, Markus Alexej Persson, Satoshi Naksmoto, etc.
For example, a good software engineer, just by writing the right little piece of code and creating the right little application, can literally create half a billion dollars' worth of value for a company. But ten engineers working ten times as hard, just because they choose the wrong model, the wrong product, wrote it the wrong way, or put in the wrong viral loop, have basically wasted their time. Inputs don't match outputs, especially for leveraged workers.
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. If you do something incredible to move the needle on the business, they have to pay you.
Forty hour work weeks are a relic of the Industrial Age. Knowledge workers function like athletes — train and sprint, then rest and reassess.
Learn to sell, learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.
The other side of it is sales. Again, selling has a very broad definition. Selling doesn't necessarily just mean selling to individual customers, but it can mean marketing, it can mean communicating, it can mean recruiting, it can mean raising money, it can mean inspiring people, it could mean doing PR. It's a broad umbrella category.
"Actually, I want to bring the maximum leverage to bear in this market and the maximum specific knowledge." That person would say, "Well, I understand real estate, and I understand everything from basic housing construction, to building properties and selling them, to how real estate markets move and thrive, and I also understand the technology business. I understand how to recruit developers, how to write code, and how to build a good product, and I understand how to raise money from venture capitalists, how to return it, and how all of that works."
But you want to work your way up to try and get higher leverage, more accountability, and specific knowledge. The combination of those over a long period of time with the magic of compound interest will make you wealthy.
Instead, take rationally optimistic bets with bit upsides.
Choosing what kinds of jobs, careers, or fields you get into and what sort of deals you're willing to take from your employer will give you much more free time. Then, you don't have to worry as much about time management. I would love to be paid purely for my judgment, not for any work. I want a robot, capital, or computer to do the work, but I want to be paid for my judgment.
Judgment — especially demonstrated judgment, with high accountability and a clear track record — is critical.
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. Even when I was young, I just decided I was worth a lot more than the market thought I was worth, and I started treating myself that way.
But they're actually playing the other game, which is the status game. They're trying to be high status in the eyes of other people watching by saying, "Well, I don't need money. We don't want money." Status is your ranking in the social hierarchy.
Status is a zero-sum game. It's a very old game. We've been playing it since money tribes. It's hierarchical. Who's number one? Who'e number two? Who's number three? And for number three to move to number two, number two has to move out of that slot. So, status is a zero-sum game.
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 in to an angry, combative person. You're always fighting to put other people down, to put yourself and the people you like up.
There are basically three really big decisions you make in your early life: where you live, who you're with, and what you do.
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. You may get so far ahead you actually become financially free.
I value freedom above everything else.
The last kind of luck is the weirdest, hardest kind, where you build a unique character, a unique brand, a unique mindset, which causes luck to find you.
One of the things I think is important to make money is having a reputation that makes people do deals through you. Remember the example of being a great diver where treasure hunters will come and give you a piece of the treasure for your diving skills.
I have a much more comfortable philosophy: "Be a maker who makes something interesting people wants. Show your craft, practice your craft, and the right people will eventually find you."
Let's get them all rich. Let's get them all fit and healthy. Then, let's get them all happy.
My definition of wisdom is knowing the long-term consequences of you actions. Wisdom applied to external problems is judgment. They're highly linked; knowing the long-term consequences of your actions and then making the right decision to capitalize on that.
"Clear thinker" is a better compliment than "smart."
"Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are" — Buddhist saying
Facebook redesigns. Twitter redesigns. Personalities, careers, and teams also need redesigns. There are no permanent solutions in a dynamic system.
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.
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.
If you find yourself creating a spreadsheet for a decision with a list of yes's and no's, pros and cons, checks and balances, why this is good or bad...forget it. If you cannot decide, the answer is no.
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.
Teaching forces learning.
A calm mind, a fit body, and a house full of love. These things cannot be bought. They must be earned.