Naval Ravikant, a highly successful entrepreneur and investor, wasn’t someone familiar to me when I began to read The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness by Eric Jorgenson. I chose it based on the 17,000 plus Goodreads reviews and, thanks to the free online version, began reading it within minutes of my introduction.
The Almanack is a collection of interviews, tweet storms, and other materials sourced and strung together by the author to create a single destination of all Naval Ravikant’s advice and philosophy as it relates to business and happiness. By the end, I came to learn a great deal about Naval’s mentality and approach. However, contrary to popular consensus, I actually found myself misaligned, with a good percentage of Naval’s writings. Despite how much I truly wanted to enjoy this book, it felt more like a reading assignment than anything else.
Nonetheless, while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book to everyone, there are certain parts of it that did resonate with me. I acknowledge that a few years down the line, should I read it again, The Almanack will carry more weight than it does now (who am I to dismiss someone who has created a successful, happy life?).
Here are the business 10 quotes from Naval Ravikant that stuck with me the most:
- “You will get rich by giving society what it wants but does not yet know how to get. At scale.”
- “All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.”
He brings up the term “specific knowledge” quite a bit, so I’ve condensed it into a single quote.
- “Specific knowledge is knowledge you cannot be trained for. If society can train you, it can train someone else and replace you…..Building specific knowledge will feel like play to you but will look like work to others….If you have specific knowledge, you have accountability and you have leverage….Apply specific knowledge with leverage and eventually, you will get what you deserve.”
- “Become the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true.”
- “Most of life is a search for who and what needs you the most.”
- “Without ownership, your inputs are very closely tied to your outputs.”
- “Judgment—especially demonstrated judgment, with high accountability and a clear track record—is critical.”
- “We waste our time with short-term thinking and busywork. Warren Buffett spends a year deciding and a day acting. That act lasts decades.”
- “Figure out what you’re good at, and start helping other people with it. Give it away. Pay it forward. Karma works because people are consistent. On a long enough timescale, you will attract what you project.”
- “The best way to stay away from this constant love of money is to not upgrade your lifestyle as you make money.”
Naval makes a very good point about the correlation between wealth and happiness, and that is the Buddha. The Buddha, the symbol enlightenment, was a prince before he gave up his possessions. Meaning, there is value in wealth but only to a point where you do not compromise personal happiness.
Here are 10 happiness quotes from Naval Ravikant that stuck with me the most:
- “Happiness is what’s there when you remove the sense that something is missing in your life.”
- “The smartest people can explain things to a child. If you can’t explain it to a child, then you don’t know it.”
- “The number one thing clouding us from being able to see reality is we have preconceived notions of the way it should be.”
- “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.”
- “If you could just sit for thirty minutes and be happy, you are successful.”
- “When- ever the word “should” creeps up in your mind, it’s guilt or social programming. Doing something because you “should” basically means you don’t actually want to do it.”
- “If you’re not willing to do a wholesale, 24/7, 100 percent swap with who that person is, then there is no point in being jealous.”
- “First, you know it. Then, you understand it. Then, you can explain it. Then, you can feel it. Finally, you are it.”
- “You can change it, you can accept it, or you can leave it.”
- “Impatience with actions, patience with results.”