The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

Making money is not a thing you do—it’s a skill you learn.

  • 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.

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

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

  • Pick business partners with high intelligence, energy, and, above all, integrity.

  • Don’t partner with cynics and pessimists. Their beliefs are self-fulfilling.

  • Learn to sell. Learn to build. 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.

  • When specific knowledge is taught, it’s through apprenticeships, not schools.

  • Embrace accountability, and take business risks under your own name. Society will reward you with responsibility, equity, and leverage.

“Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I will move the earth.” —Archimedes

  • 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.

  • If you can’t code, write books and blogs, record videos and podcasts.

  • Reading is faster than listening. Doing is faster than watching.

  • Work as hard as you can. Even though who you work with and what you work on are more important than how hard you work.

  • Become the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true.

  • Money is how we transfer wealth. Money is social credits. It is the ability to have credits and debits of other people’s time.

  • Wealth is the thing you want. Wealth is assets that earn while you sleep. Wealth is the factory, the robots, cranking out things. Wealth is the computer program that’s running at night, serving other customers. Wealth is even money in the bank that is being reinvested into other assets, and into other businesses.

  • Specific knowledge cannot be taught, but it can be learned.

  • No one can compete with you on being you.

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

  • If you’re not already good at it or if you’re not really into it, maybe it’s not your thing—focus on the thing that you are really into.

  • The internet has massively broadened the possible space of careers. Most people haven’t figured this out yet.

  • You can only achieve mastery in one or two things. It’s usually things you’re obsessed about.

  • Intentions don’t matter. Actions do. That’s why being ethical is hard.

  • Embrace accountability and take business risks under your own name. Society will reward you with responsibility, equity, and leverage.

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

  • If it entertains you now but will bore you someday, it’s a distraction. Keep looking.

  • The less you want something, the less you’re thinking about it, the less you’re obsessing over it, the more you’re going to do it in a natural way. The more you’re going to do it for yourself. You’re going to do it in a way you’re good at, and you’re going to stick with it. The people around you will see the quality of your work is higher.

  • If they can train you to do it, then eventually they will train a computer to do it.

  • Now, the problem is becoming good at whatever “it” is. It moves around from generation to generation, but a lot of it happens to be in technology.

  • You’re never going to get rich renting out your time.

We waste our time with short-term thinking and busywork. Warren Buffett spends a year deciding and a day acting. That act lasts decades.

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.

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

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.

The winners of any game are the people who are so addicted they continue playing even as the marginal utility from winning declines.

Become the best at what you do. Refine what you do until this is true. Opportunity will seek you out. Luck becomes your destiny.

Everybody wants to get rich immediately, but the world is an efficient place; immediate doesn’t work. You do have to put in the time. You do have to put in the hours, and so I think you have to put yourself in the position with the specific knowledge, with accountability, with leverage, with the authentic skill set you have, to be the best in the world at what you do.

  • You don’t get rich by spending your time to save money. You get rich by saving your time to make money.

  • My definition of 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 capitalize on that.

  • 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 only after you’re bored you have the great ideas. It’s never going to be when you’re stressed, or busy, running around or rushed. Make the time.

  • 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.

  • 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 judgments.

Read what you love until you love to read.

Reading a book isn’t a race—the better the book, the more slowly it should be absorbed.

If they wrote it to make money, don’t read it.

Don’t take yourself so seriously. You’re just a monkey with a plan.

Maybe happiness is not something you inherit or even choose, but a highly personal skill that can be learned, like fitness or nutrition.

  • 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 something or to plan something.

  • 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.

If you ever want to have peace in your life, you have to move beyond good and evil.

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.

Happiness, love, and passion…aren’t things you find—they’re choices you make.

  • I just don’t believe in anything from my past. Anything. No memories. No regrets. No people. No trips. Nothing. A lot of our unhappiness comes from comparing things from the past to the present.

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.

The fundamental delusion: There is something out there that will make me happy and fulfilled forever.

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

  • 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 realize they have enough money, they’ve lost their time and their health.

Happiness is being satisfied with what you have. Success comes from dissatisfaction. Choose.

  • Confucius says you have two lives, and the second one begins when you realize you only have one.

You can get almost anything you want out of life, as long as it’s one thing and you want it far more than anything else.

  • 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.

The enemy of peace of mind is expectations drilled into you by society and other people.

  • The reality is life is a single-player game. You’re born alone. You’re going to die alone. All of your interpretations are alone. All your memories are alone. You’re gone in three generations, and nobody cares. Before you showed up, nobody cared. It’s all single player.

  • It’s such a poisonous emotion because, at the end of the day, you’re no better off with jealousy. You’re unhappier, and the person you’re jealous of is still successful or good-looking or whatever they are.

When working, surround yourself with people more successful than you. When playing, surround yourself with people happier than you.

  • At the end of the day, you are a combination of your habits and the people who you spend the most time with.

  • The most important trick to being happy is to realize happiness is a skill you develop and a choice you make. You choose to be happy, and then you work at it. It’s just like building muscles. It’s just like losing weight. It’s just like succeeding at your job. It’s just like learning calculus.

  • The world just reflects your own feelings back at you.

First, you know it. Then, you understand it. Then, you can explain it. Then, you can feel it. Finally, you are it.

To make an original contribution, you have to be irrationally obsessed with something.

  • Most fit and healthy people focus much more on what they eat than how much. Quality control is easier than (and leads to) quantity control.

World’s simplest diet: The more processed the food, the less one should consume.

The harder the workout, the easier the day.

  • The best workout for you is one you’re excited enough to do every day.

“Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.”

  • Life-hack: When in bed, meditate. Either you will have a deep meditation or fall asleep. Victory either way.

The greatest superpower is the ability to change yourself.

If there’s something you want to do later, do it now. There is no “later.”

The hardest thing is not doing what you want—it’s knowing what you want.

  • Value your time. It is all you have. It’s more important than your money. It’s more important than your friends. It is more important than anything. Your time is all you have. Do not waste your time.

Before you can lie to another, you must first lie to yourself.

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