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The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

by Eric Jorgenson

23

Key Ideas

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Productise Yourself

The path to success is to find a way to automate your uniqueness. "Productise" is about leverage and "Yourself" is about accountability.

If you’re looking toward getting wealthy, you should ask yourself:

  • “Is this authentic to me? Is it myself that I am projecting?”
  • And then .. “Am I productising it? Am I scaling it? Am I scaling with labor or with capital or with code or with media?”

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Specific Knowledge

Specific knowledge cannot be taught, but it can be learned. It’s about what makes you special. Like the things you were effortlessly doing that made people notice you. No one can compete with you on being you. Specific knowledge is found by pursuing your genuine curiosity and passion rather than whatever is hot right now.

Most of life is a search for who and what needs you the most.

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Jobs of the Future and Infinite Learning

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. You have to know how to learn anything you want to learn.

It’s much more important today to be able to become an expert in a brand-new field in 9 to 12 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.

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Intellectual Curiosity

Do things for their own sake. Whether it’s business, exercise, romance, friendship the meaning of life is to do things for their own sake.

Anything worth doing comes from trying to overcome boredom. Because you would be doing it for its own sake. Much more important than whatever is “hot” right now.

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Build or Buy Equity in a Business

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

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.

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.

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3 Positions of Leverage

3 Positions of Leverage

Leverage is a force multiplier for your judgment. 3 options:

  • Labor: making other humans working for you. It is the oldest form of leverage, and actually not a great one in the modern world. Because managing other people is incredibly messy.
  • Money: every time you make a decision, you multiply it with money. It’s how wealth was created in the last century.
  • Products with no marginal cost of replication: 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.

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Retirement & Lifestyle

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

  • Have so much money saved that your passive income covers your burn rate.
  • Drive your burn rate down to zero - become a monk.
  • Do something you love. You enjoy it so much, it’s not about the money.

And the best way to stay away from this constant love of money is to not upgrade your lifestyle as you make money. 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.

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4 types of luck

  • Hope luck finds you: fortune, fate, etc
  • Work for luck to find you: persistence, hard work, running around creating opportunities. Become the best at what you do. Refine what you do until this is true. Opportunity will seek you out.
  • You Spot luck: If you are very skilled in a field, you will notice when a lucky break happens in your field, and other people who aren’t attuned to it won’t notice. So, you become sensitive to luck.
  • Luck becomes your Destiny: you build a unique character, a unique brand, a unique mindset, which causes luck to find you.

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2 Definitions for Wisdom

2 Definitions for Wisdom
  • Wisdom is knowing the long-term consequences of your 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 capitalise on that.
  • Wisdom is the discarding of vices and the return to virtue, by way of knowledge.

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naval ravikant

"First, you know it.

Then, you understand it.

Then, you can explain it.

Then, you can feel it.

Finally, you are it."

naval ravikant

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Truth

Truth

You can only make progress when you’re starting with the truth. The hard thing is seeing the truth. Suffering is the moment when we can no longer deny reality.

Outside of suffering, you have to get your ego out of the way because your ego doesn’t want to face the truth. The smaller you can make your ego, the less conditioned you can make your reactions, the less desires you can have about the outcome you want, the easier it will be to see the reality.

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Richard Feynman

"I never ask if “I like it” or “I don’t like it.” I think “this is what it is” or “this is what it isn’t.”"

Richard Feynman

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Classical Virtues

Classical Virtues

Virtues are trained heuristics that automate decision making. You cannot solve every problem in life as if it is the first time it’s thrown at you.

The classical virtues are all decision-making heuristics to make one optimise for the long term rather than for the short term.

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Principal-Agent Problem

Principal-Agent Problem

Julius Caesar famously said, “If you want it done, then go. And if not, then send.” What he meant was, if you want it done right, then you have to go yourself and do it. 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.

The smaller the team, the more everyone feels like a principal. The less you feel like an agent, the better the job you’re going to do. The more closely you can tie someone’s compensation to the exact value they’re creating, the more you turn them into a principal, and the less you turn them into an agent. Unfortunately the media and modern society spend a lot of time brainwashing you about needing an agent, an agent being important, and the agent being knowledgeable.

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If you can’t decide, the answer is no

If you can’t decide, the answer is no

Go with options that excite you, rather than finding reasons for rationalising tasks that don’t. Trust your intuition.

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.

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Learning Happiness

Learning Happiness

Happiness is really a default state. Happiness is there when you remove the sense of something missing in your life. 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.

It is cultivated it with a lot of techniques. It is not something you inherit or even choose, but a highly personal skill that can be learned, like fitness or nutrition. The answer that works for me is going to be nonsense to you, and vice versa. Whatever happiness means to me, it means something different to you. For some people, it’s a flow state. For some people, it’s satisfaction. For some people, it’s a feeling of contentment.

It’s all trial and error.

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naval ravikant

"Don’t take yourself so seriously.

You’re just a monkey with a plan."

naval ravikant

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Desires

Desires

Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want. We go about desiring things all day long and then wonder why we’re unhappy. Anticipation for our vices pulls us into the future. Eliminating vices makes it easier to be present.

Eliminating our vices is easier than expecting the world to deliver them to us. 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.

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

You can convert peace into happiness anytime you want. But peace is what you want most of the time. If you’re a peaceful person, anything you do will be a happy activity.

Today, the way we think you get peace is by resolving all your external problems. But there are unlimited external problems. The only way to actually get peace on the inside is by giving up this idea of problems.

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Naval’s Choiceless Awareness

Naval’s Choiceless Awareness

“As you’re going about your daily business (hopefully, there’s some nature) and you’re not talking to anybody else, you practice learning to accept the moment you’re in without making judgments. You don’t think, “Oh, there’s a homeless guy over there, better cross the street” or look at someone running by and say, “He’s out of shape, and I’m in better shape than him.” If I saw a guy with a bad hair day, I would at first think “Haha, he has a bad hair day.” Well, why am I laughing at him to make me feel better about myself? And why am I trying to make me feel better about my own hair? Because I’m losing my hair, and I’m afraid it’s going to go away.

You don’t make any decisions. You don’t judge anything. You just accept everything.

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Internal Monologue

90 percent of thoughts are fear-based. The other 10 percent are desire-based.

Try to keep an eye on my internal monologue. It would be like running tour brain in “debugging mode”.

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The Brain as an Operating System

The Brain as an Operating System

Buddhists look at your brain, your consciousness, as a multilayered mechanism. There’s a core-base, kernel-level OS running. Then, there are applications running on top.

Always go back to the awareness level of OS, which is always calm, always peaceful, and generally happy and content. Try to stay in awareness mode and not activate the monkey mind, which is always worried, frightened, and anxious. it serves a purpose, but try not to activate the monkey mind until you need it.

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The Meaning of Life

What is the meaning and purpose of life?

  • Answer 1: It’s personal. You have to find your own meaning. You have to find it for yourself, so the important part is not the answer, it’s the question. You just have to sit there and dig with the question. It might take you years or decades.
  • Answer 2: There is no meaning to life. “It’s like writing on water or building houses of sand.” The reality is you’ve been dead for the history of the Universe, 10 billion years or more. You will be dead for the next 70 billion years or so, until the heat death of the Universe. Anything you do will fade. It will disappear. There’s no meaning. You have to create your own meaning.
  • Answer 3: In physics, the arrow of time comes from entropy, which means disorder in the Universe only goes up, which means concentrated free energy only goes down. Humans are locally reversing entropy. Because we have action. In the process, we globally accelerate entropy until the heat death of the Universe. In that death, there’s no concentrated energy, and everything is at the same energy level. Therefore, we’re all one thing, essentially indistinguishable.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

How you can invest in yourself

How you can invest in yourself

The foundation for every personal pursuit in life is to invest in yourself. It can take years. How you can do it:

  • Learn to build something. If you can create something valuable w...

Income generation

Once you have ideas, you want to put your ideas to work. If you do that, you can start creating value. When we create value, we generate income.

During the pandemic for example, most restaurant owners had to focus on other ideas to generate income. Building wealth is not easy. We need a constant supply of ideas.

Asset investing

It is anything that will increase your wealth without personal labor.

  • Businesses. This is a broad asset class. You can buy dividend-stocks on the market, and then the companies will pay you a share of the profit. You can start your own business. You can buy into other private businesses.
  • Bonds. When you invest in bonds, you collect interest just like your bank is collecting on a mortgage.
  • Books. A good book will generate cash for a long time.

Assets that don't generate cash, but might increase in value.

  • Land. A piece of land generates cash when you rent or lease it.
  • Collectibles such as art or watches.

2 more ideas

Stress + Rest = Growth

You need to push to the outer limits of your current ability, and then follow that hard work with appropriate recovery time.

This is how you grow your mind and get better at any skill....

Focus on the Process

The best athletes and entrepreneurs aren’t focused on being the best; they’re focused on constant self-improvement.

Concentrating on the process is best for both performance and mental health. It lifts off your shoulders a huge burden, so you can concentrate on the things you can control.

Stay Humble

Knowledge is always evolving and advancing — if you want to evolve and advance with it, you need to keep an open mind.

And to keep an open mind, leave your ego at the door. 

Success And Buying Too Many Books

Many of us buy lots of books that go unread and causes us guilt, but that’s a habit that many successful people have they believe they are better off for it.

For those who actually put in the...

“I maybe start half the books I get, and I probably finish a third of the books I start. And that works out to finishing 1–2 books per week.” 

“I maybe start half the books I get, and I probably finish a third of the books I start. And that works out to finishing 1–2 books per week.” 

View Books As An Experiment

It costs you money and time, but it may pay for itself by changing your life for the better. It’s an experiment. And the more “smart” experiments you perform, the more likely you are to find a breakthrough experiment that changes everything.

Inherent in being a good experimenter is being OK with the losses. Therefore, remember that every time you purchase a book that turns out to be a dud, you are just one step closer to a book that will change your life.