Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgensen
- I take Naval seriously because he:
- Questions nearly everything
- Can think from first principles
- Tests things well
- Is good at not fooling himself
- Changes his mind regularly
- Laughs a lot
- Thinks holistically
- Thinks long-term
- And…doesn’t take himself too goddamn seriously
- Specific knowledge is found much more by pursuing your
innate talents, your genuine curiosity, and your passion. It’s
not by going to school for whatever is the hottest job; it’s not
by going into whatever field investors say is the hottest.
- 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
- Knowing how to be persuasive when speaking is far more
important than being an expert digital marketer or click optimizer. Foundations are key. It’s much better to be at 9/10 or
10/10 on foundations than to try and get super deep into things.
- 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.
- 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. [
- Realize that in modern society, the downside risk is 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.
There’s not really that much to fear in terms of failure, and
so people should take on a lot more accountability than they
- Ownership is really important. Everybody who really makes money at some point owns a piece
of a product, a business, or some IP. That can be through stock
options if you work at a tech company. That’s a fine way to start.
But usually, the real wealth is created by starting your own
companies or even by investing. In an investment firm, they’re
buying equity. These are the routes to wealth. It doesn’t come
through the hours. 
- You get rewarded by society for giving it what it wants and
doesn’t know how to get elsewhere. A lot of people think you
can go to school and study for how to make money, but the
reality is, there’s no skill called “business.” 
Think about what product or service society wants but does
not yet know how to get. You want to become the person who
delivers it and delivers it at scale. That is really the challenge
of how to make money.
- The final form of leverage is brand new—the most democratic
form. It is: “products with no marginal cost of replication.”
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. 
- 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 @ID_AA_Carmack,
@notch, Satoshi Nakomoto, etc.
- You start as a salaried employee. 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
- Advice to a young engineer considering moving to San
Francisco: “Do you want to leave your friends behind? Or be
the one left behind?”
- 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.
- If you’re not getting promoted through the ranks, it gets
a lot harder to catch up later in life. It’s good to be in a smaller
company early because there’s less of an infrastructure to prevent early promotion.
- I think business networking is a complete waste of time.
- Be a maker who makes something interesting people want. Show your craft, practice your craft, and the right people will eventually find you
- The really smart thinkers are clear thinkers. They understand
the basics at a very, very fundamental level. I would rather
understand the basics really well than memorize all kinds of
complicated concepts I can’t stitch together and can’t rederive
from the basics. If you can’t rederive concepts from the basics
as you need them, you’re lost. You’re just memorizing.
- It’s actually really important to have empty space. If you don’t
have a day or two every week in your calendar where you’re
not always in meetings, and you’re not always busy, then you’re
not going to be able to think.
You’re not going to be able to have good ideas for your business. You’re not going to be able to make good judgments. I also encourage taking at least one day a week (preferably two,
because if you budget two, you’ll end up with one) where you
just have time to think.
- Cynicism is easy. Mimicry is easy. Optimistic contrarians are the rarest breed.
- Mental models are really just compact ways for you to recall your own knowledge.
- The best mental models I have found came through evolution,
game theory, and Charlie Munger. Charlie Munger is Warren
Buffett’s partner. Very good investor. He has tons and tons of
great mental models. Author and trader Nassim Taleb has
great mental models. Benjamin Franklin had great mental
models. I basically load my head full of mental models.
- 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
- 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.
- Reading science, math, and philosophy one hour per day will
likely put you at the upper echelon of human success within
- If you’re trying to learn how to drive a car or fly a plane, you
should read something written in the modern age because
this problem was created in the modern age and the solution
is great in the modern age.
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.
- The three big ones in life are wealth, health, and happiness.
We pursue them in that order, but their importance is reverse.
- Happiness to me is mainly not suffering, not desiring, not thinking too much about the future or the past, really embracing the present moment and the reality of what is, and the way it is.
- A rational person can find peace by cultivating indifference
to things outside of their control.
- The mind is just as malleable as the body. We spend so much
time and effort trying to change the external world, other
people, and our own bodies—all while accepting ourselves
the way we were programmed in our youths.
- Survival and replication drive put us on the work treadmill.
Hedonic adaptation keeps us there. The trick is knowing
when to jump off and play instead.
- Hedonic adaptation is more powerful for man-made things
(cars, houses, clothes, money) than for natural things (food,
sex, exercise). 
- No exceptions—all screen activities linked to less happiness,
all non-screen activities linked to more happiness. 
- A personal metric: how much of the day is spent doing things
out of obligation rather than out of interest?
- CHANGING HABITS:
- Pick one thing. Cultivate a desire. Visualize it.
- Plan a sustainable path.
- Identify needs, triggers, and substitutes.
- Tell your friends.
- Track meticulously.
- Self-discipline is a bridge to a new self-image.
- Bake in the new self-image. It’s who you are—now.
- In any situation in life, you always have three choices: you can
change it, you can accept it, or you can leave it.
- To make an original contribution, you have to be irrationally
obsessed with something.
- Meditation isn’t hard. All you have to do is sit there and do
nothing. Just sit down. Close your eyes and say, “I’m just going
to give myself a break for an hour. This is my hour off from life.
This is the hour I’m not going to do anything.
- When you really want to change, you just change. But most of
us don’t really want to change—we don’t want to go through
the pain just yet. At least recognize it, be aware of it, and give
yourself a smaller change you can actually carry out.
- Impatience with actions, patience with results.
- Grind and sweat, toil and bleed, face the abyss. It’s all part
of becoming an overnight success.
- Anyone who has known me for a long time knows my defining
characteristic is a combination of being very impatient and
willful. I don’t like to wait. I hate wasting time. I’m very famous
for being rude at parties, events, dinners, where the moment I
figure out it’s a waste of my time, I leave immediately.
- People who live far below their means enjoy a freedom that
people busy upgrading their lifestyles can’t fathom.
- A taste of freedom can make you unemployable.
- How do you define wisdom? Understanding the long-term consequences of your actions.
- If you eat, invest, and think according to what the “news”
advocates, you’ll end up nutritionally, financially, and