The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness

by Eric Jorgenson

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant is a collection of tweets, essays and speeches given by Naval over the last 10 years. The author has curated Naval’s words and threaded them into a unique type of book that reads like an intimate conversation with Naval himself. This book provide some key insights on how to build wealth, develop better judgment, and achieve happiness.

Summary Notes

How Wealth Is Created

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

Wealth creation is not determined by how hard you work. It’s determined by the skills you have and whether you understand how to direct energy in the right way. When you’ve determined the right path, you can then see yourself as a unique product with special skills and knowledge. Once you’ve identified your innate talents, leverage them to generate wealth. 

Most people chase money without realizing that there is a difference between wealth and money. You want to create wealth—not money. Money is simply a way of transferring wealth. It’s an IOU that you get for doing a good job. 

Wealth, however, is the assets that you earn even while you’re asleep. This can be a business where you’ve employed people, a computer program that serves customers via a website, or capital that you’ve invested in appreciating assets like stocks. Thanks to technology, it’s now easier to create value for society and scale your business. However, since technology is ever-changing, you have to be a continuous learner if you want to be at the forefront of creating value for customers. 

Time plays a huge role in creating and growing wealth thanks to the power of compound interest. However, compounding also applies in relationships. Take the time to build trust in your business relationships. If you maintain a good reputation for decades, people will notice and they will want to keep investing in you and your business. But if you’re impatient and engage in shady deals to get rich quick, you’ll ruin your name and nobody will want to work with you. This will negatively affect your ability to create wealth over time.

Actions to take

Develop a Good sense of Judgment

“The number one thing clouding us from being able to see reality is we have preconceived notions of the way it should be”

At a time when technological trends are shifting faster than ever before, most people are still stuck on the belief that hard work matters. But the truth is that your sense of judgment matters way more when it comes to making money. Judgment means understanding the long-term consequences of your actions and then making the best decision possible. Once you’ve identified the best way to solve a problem, you can then apply the necessary effort and leverage. 

But how do you even know which decision is right for you? You have to develop your ability to think clearly. Good judgment has more to do with clarity of thought than intellect. Whereas a smart person focuses on studying and memorizing advanced concepts, a clear thinker focuses on learning the fundamentals. Once you’ve learned the basics of any subject, you won’t have a problem understanding any concept within that subject. You’ll be able to solve any problem from first principles, and you won’t need to blindly follow what some expert is saying. 

Good judgment requires that you set aside your ego and desires and only concentrate on the truth. You have to be honest with yourself and start questioning the dogma that society has been feeding you. If you identify someone who has successfully created a model of success within a field, test their model to see whether it works for you. Read widely to gain as much diverse information as possible before making up your mind on a topic. You can then use the knowledge and experience you’ve gained to create your own set of principles to guide your life trajectory.

Actions to take

Learn To Be Happy

“The three big ones in life are wealth, health, and happiness. We pursue them in that order, but their importance is reverse”

When you’re young, you’re often too busy chasing money and success to be worried about your happiness. You’re willing to do things you don’t like as long as they bring you closer to success.  But as you grow older, you begin to see the value of being happy. Happiness can be defined as a state where nothing is missing from your life. With nothing missing, you have no desire for external things, and thus your mind stops regretting the past or worrying about the future. You focus on the present moment, and this creates a feeling of inner silence and contentment. 

Happiness is not about positive versus negative thinking. It’s about accepting the negative experiences of life so that you can cherish the positive when they occur. Nature and reality is neutral. A rock, tree or animal has no judgments of good or evil. But as a human, it’s your perception of life and what you think it should be that determines your happiness or lack thereof. Therefore, happiness is a choice you can work toward instead of expecting the world to do something to make you happy.

You have to get out of your own head and stop allowing your ego to cloud your reality. You’re just another cog in the wheel of life, so why do you expect the Universe to bend to your will every time? Embrace a state of neutrality where you accept life as it is instead of how you want it to be. You’re here today and can be gone tomorrow, so make the most of your time on this planet and choose to be happy. Take control of what you can in your life but cultivate indifference to things that are beyond your control.

Actions to take

Choose To Save Yourself

“I never met my greatest mentor. I wanted so much to be like him. But his message was the opposite: Be yourself, with passionate intensity”

As social creatures, we’re constantly influencing each other’s decisions. There’s always someone or something that’s telling you what you need to do to achieve success and happiness. But the truth is that you don’t need to do take anyone else’s advice. You should listen to that inner voice in your head and let it guide your choices and actions. Instead of wanting to be like someone else, just be you.

Being a copy of someone else in a competitive world means you’re going to lose every single time. But if you tap into your unique qualities and focus on being yourself, nobody is going to beat you. You can listen and absorb information and life lessons from others but don’t emulate them. Your path may be entirely different. Therefore, your goal is to identify people or projects that need your skills and contribute to them in your own unique way.

To make a meaningful contribution to the world, you have to take care of yourself first. You’re no good to anyone if you’re in poor health. Take time off to nurture yourself and connect to your inner world. This prepares your mind and body to deal with whatever the external world throws at you. Nurturing yourself empowers you to make decisions that are best for your life instead of mindlessly following what everyone else is doing. You no longer feel the urge to go along just to get along. You’re now able to build the life you want from the inside out rather than from the outside in.

Actions to take

The Meaning of Life

“If wisdom could be imparted through words alone, we’d all be done here”

We’re all interested in finding out the meaning and purpose of life. But the truth is that there is no universal meaning to life. As an individual, you have to find a meaning that makes sense to you. It doesn’t matter what someone else says because they can only offer their personal perspective. You have to experience your journey of life and figure out who you are and what you’re meant to do.

One of the things that can help you make sense of your journey is to identify your core values. What are the values that you hold dear and want to live by? Living according to your core values makes life more meaningful because they act as guideposts that help you stay on track. When you live by your values, you’ll be happy. But if you go against your values, then you’ll suffer from guilt, doubt, anxieties and other negative emotions that deprive you of contentment.

At the end of the day, life is about choices, and choices have consequences. Understand the consequences of every choice you make if you truly want to gain wisdom. Live in the present moment and utilize whatever opportunities come your way. The meaning of your life will gradually unfold with time.

Actions to take

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