Library / Personal Development | Human Psychology

Date of review: January 2021
Book author: Eric Jorgenson
Вook published: 2020

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson (2020)

I first came across about this book through one of the podcasts. I was not initially very interested since I did not know much about Naval Ravikant and I never come across any of his companies, products or other achievements. However, luckily I decided to read it (and I know don't even remember what exactly triggered this). I am very glad I read it and highly recommend it to others.

Personal development and achieving success

The book is about achieving success and personal development but it has quite a large section on meaning of life as well as practical tips. Most of the content is quite unique even though key points are not new at all. It is also very easy and quick to read, so you would not face huge sunk costs even if the book does not live up to your expectations.

Below are some key messages quoted directly from the book:

  • "If you're looking toward the long-term goal of getting wealthy, you should ask yourself, 'Is this authentic to me? Is it myself that I am projecting?' And then, 'Am I scaling with labour or with capital or with code or with media?' This is hard. This why I say it takes decades - I'm not saying it takes decades to execute, but the better part of a decade may be figuring out what you can uniquely provide".

  • "When I talk about specific knowledge, I mean figuring 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".

  • "Escape competition through authenticity. Basically, when you're competing with people, it's because you're copying them. It's because you're trying to do the same thing. But every human is different. Don't copy. If you are building or marketing something that is an extension of who you are, no one can compete with you on that".

  • "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. Forget rich versus poor, white-collar versus blue. It's now leveraged versus un-leveraged".

  • "Probably the most interesting thing to keep in mind about the new forms of leverage is they are permissionless. They don't require somebody else's permission for you to use them or succeed".

"Solve via iteration. Then get paid via repetition. Prioritise and focus".

  • "Whenever you can in life, optimise for independence rather than pay. If you have independence and you're accountable on your output, as opposed to input - that's the dream".

  • "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 the outputs".

  • "If you want to be part of a great tech company, then you need to be able to SELL or BUILD. If you don't do either, learn. Learn to sell, learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable".

  • "Demonstrated judgement - credibility around the judgement - is 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 through infinite leverage because of his judgement. Nobody asks him how hard he works. Nobody asks him when he wakes up or when he goes to sleep. They're like, 'Warren, just do your thing'."

  • "I think business networking is a complete waste of time. And I know there are people and companies popularising this concept because it serves them and their business model well, but the reality is if you're building something interesting, you will always have more people who will want to know you. Trying to build business relationships well in advance of doing business is a complete waste if time".

  • "…if someone is using lots of fancy words and a lot of big concepts, they probably don't know what they're talking about. I think the smartest people can explain things to a child. If you can't explain it to a child, you don't know it".

"If you cannot decide, the answer is no. And the reason is, modern society is full of options".

  • "Of course, I still ended up doing stupid things like arguing with the electrician or returning the broken speaker, but I shouldn't have, and I did a lot less than any of my friends would. I would make a theatrical show out of throwing something in the trash pile or giving it to Salvation Army rather than trying to return it or handing something to people rather than trying to fix it".

  • "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 into an angry, combative person. You're always fighting to put other people down, to put yourself and the people you like up".

  • "An old boss once warned: 'You'll never be rich since you're obviously smart, and someone will always offer you a job that's just good enough'."

  • "Retirement is when you stop sacrificing today for an imaginary tomorrow. When today is complete, in and of itself, you're retired".

  • "For someone who is early in their career (and maybe even later), the single most important thing about a company is the alumni network you're going to build. This about who you will work with and what those people are going on to do".

Ways to get lucky:

- Hope luck finds you.

- Hustle people 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."

"Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want".

  • "If I say I'm happy, that means I was sad at some point. If I say he's attractive, then somebody else is unattractive. Every positive through even has a seed of a negative thought within it and vice versa, which is why a lot of greatness in life comes out of suffering".

  • "To me, happiness is not about positive thoughts. It's not about negative thoughts. It's about the absence of desire, especially the absence of desire for external things. The fewer desires I can have, the more I can accept the current state of things, the less my mind is moving, because the mind really exists in motion toward the future or the past".

  • "Everything is perfect exactly the way it is. It is only in our particular minds we are unhappy or not happy, and things are perfect or imperfect because of what we desire. The world just reflects your own feelings back at you. Reality is neutral. Reality has no judgement. To a tree, there is no concept of right or wrong, good or bad. You're born, you have a whole set of sensory experiences and stimulations, and then you die. How you choose to interpret them is up to you - you have that choice".

  • "When you're young, you have time. You have health, but you have no money. When you're middle-aged, you have money and you have health, but you have no time. When you're old, you have money and you have time, but you have no health. So the trifecta is trying to get all three at once. By the time people realise they have enough money, they're lost their time and their health".

"The greatest superpower is the ability to change yourself".

  • "Buffett has a great example when he asks if you want to be the world's best lover and known as the worst, or the world's worst lover and known as the best? [paraphrased] in reference to an inner or external scorecard. All the scorecards are external".

  • "We evolved for scarcity but live in abundance. There's a constant struggle to say no when your genes always say yes".

  • "Your goal in life is to find the people, business, project, or art that needs you the most. There is something out there just for you. What you don't want to do is build on what other people are doing. You're never going to be them. You'll never be good at being somebody else. To make an original contribution, you have to be irrationally obsessed with something".

  • "What I find is 90 percent of thoughts I have are fear-based. The other 10% may be desire-based".

"Once you've truly controlled your own fate, for better or for worse, you'll never let anyone else tell you what to do. A taste of freedom can make you unemployable".

  • "The mistakes were obvious only in hindsight through one exercise, which is asking yourself: when you're thirty, what advice would you give your own twenty-year-old self? And when you are forty, what advice would you give your thirty-year-old self?"

  • "Be aware there are no 'adults'. Everyone makes it up as they go along. You have to find your own path, picking, choosing, and discarding as you see fit. Figure it out yourself, and do it".

  • "Courage isn't charging into a machine gun nest. Courage is not caring what other people think".
  • "There is actually nothing but this moment. No one has ever gone back in time, and no one has ever been able to successfully predict the future in any way that matters. Literally, the only thing that exists is this exact point where you are in space at the exact time you happen to be here".

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