This is probably one of the best books I read this year. Full of practical advice for the times we are living.
Naval Ravinkant is a Silicon Valley immigrant entrepreneur who started from nothing and built many companies that made him millions.
Today he leads Angelist.co, one of the most visited portals for startup-related information, hiring, news, and much more.
The book was not directly written by Naval but is more a compilation of Naval’s tweets and interviews done by Eric Jorgenson.
The writing is really well organized, and you can read whatever section you like or give a fuck to read.
Naval’s advice ranges from building wealth, building judgment, learning how to be happy, saving yourself, and tidbits about philosophy.
I didn’t mention that the book is entirely free if you want to download it online. If you want the paperback version, you can buy it on Amazon.
With more than 1.3 million followers, Naval’s Twitter account is one of the most popular on the social network.
A couple of years ago, he decided to create a Twitter thread, or a tweetstorm, about How to Get Rich Without Being Lucky.
Probably that was one of the threads that had more retweets in history. It was an instant hit and in its own right.
With tidbits from his own experience, Naval distilled the recipe to build wealth and be successful. An instant masterpiece.
His main advice revolves around the idea that making money is not something you do but a skill you learn. You have to know what to do, who to do it, and when to do it. This way is something totally learnable.
The advice that resonated the most with me in this chapter is that one that says you will get rich by giving society what it wants but does not know how to get.
And you have to do that at scale, taking responsibilities, leveraging your strengths and interests, and playing long-term games with other people.
If you do that consistently, you will get rich.
Naval argues that you have to pursue specific knowledge. That’s the knowledge that society cannot get and hence is valuable. This knowledge can only be acquired if you have a genuine curiosity about some topic and you acquire it because it is your passion.
Code and media what Naval calls permissionless leverage. You don’t need anyone’s approval to code or to write, and they have no marginal cost of replication.
Another thing that I like about this chapter is that Naval recommends studying microeconomics, game theory, psychology, persuasion, ethics, mathematics, and computers. Paradoxically you don’t have to study business to get rich.
I think that even the primary goal of the chapter is to give you advice related to building wealth; at the same time, Naval offers his opinion that having money is only good if it gives you freedom.
When you are finally wealthy, you won’t be happier; you will have solved your money problems. That’s all.
What is judgment, right? In this section, Naval gives advice on how to acquire knowledge and be a rational person.
He says that the main thing that prevents us from seeing reality as it is are our preconceived notions of the way reality should be. This is such a profound phrase, and its implications are significant for how we behave.
Then there’s the section on reading. In my opinion, this is the best part of the book, where he distills his approach to reading and knowledge acquisition.
He mentions a phrase in this section that is simply wise: “Read what you love until you love to read.” It’s simple, but it creates the correct way for approaching reading.
There are many books to read and so much content that even if you spend your whole life reading for every second, you would only be able to read far less than 0.1% of all the books published since the 50s.
If we are swimming in an ocean of superabundant information, once you decide that a book is not worth reading anymore, you have to ditch it immediately, don’t lose any more time.
Start reading something else; there’s plenty of content you can switch to.
When you do find some book that you like, you have to focus on concepts with predictive power, hunt for ideas that can help you comprehend the world around you better.
Naval is reading 10 to 20 books all the time with no obligation of finishing either of them.
This section is, you guessed it, about happiness. There’s a LOT of good advice in this section, but most of it has to do with the basic principle that happiness is a skill you learn, like any other skill.
The definition of happiness for Naval is when you remove the sense that something is missing in your life and you live totally in the present moment, not regretting about the past, not worrying about the future.
What I definitely appreciate of this part is how Naval seems to make a lot of emphasis on lowering our identity and lowering the chatter, the internal monologue in our minds.
You are not your thoughts. If you can realize that, the utter insignificance of the self, you will be much happier.
At the end of the day, you have to realize that all happiness is internal.
When Naval talks about saving yourself is still related to happiness and thinking, and having clear priorities in life.
In this section, he puts a lot of emphasis on you being you. You have to recognize the unique characteristics of being you; nobody is going to beat you at being you. That’s why you have to find the project, relationship, or people that really need that specific combination of being you.
Another essential point Naval makes in the chapter is that it would be good to practice choice-less awareness without judging anything. You just accept what’s coming into your mind.
All the problems of men are generated by the inability of humans to stay quiet in a room without doing anything for an hour.
That’s precisely what Naval recommends doing. Be quiet an hour a day, just being aware of what’s happening inside and outside your mind. Don’t try to change anything.
People are constantly chasing trills, flow states, we want to get out of our heads. Out of that voice in our heads, the overdeveloped sense of self.
Naval advises not to spend time trying to make other people happy; that’s their problem, not yours. Just focus yourself on being happy, and the rest will follow.
In general, this chapter’s advice goes around the idea that you have to be aware of your internal monologue. Your mind should be a servant and a tool, not the master.
Navel calls this continuous internal chatter the monkey mind; don’t let it control you. Just by being aware of it during the day, you will have won an important battle.
In this last part of the book, Naval talks about his philosophy and how he approaches the meaning of life and the problem of existence.
Naval’s view is that after we die, anything we have done will fade, will disappear just like anything on the planet will disappear.
According to Naval, life after death is very much like life before we were born. Do you remember that? Exactly to Naval’s point.
What a great way of expressing our fleeting moment in time.
Another exciting thing about Naval is that he wants to be around people where he can be honest, where he doesn’t need to watch what he says. Having to think what he says disconnects his thinking and creates a thread in his mind that means he is no longer in the moment.
Going back to death and the meaning of life, naval concludes:
I don’t remember what I said two minutes ago. At best, the past is some fictional little memory tape in my head. As far as I’m concerned, my past is dead; it’s gone. All death really means is that there are no more future moments.Naval Ravikant
What a great book; as I mentioned above is one of the bests I read this year and probably in the last few years as well.
The density of practical ideas per page written is probably one of the highest in all the books I have ever read.
With the illustrations from Jack Butcher from Visualize Value, this masterpiece is an absolute must for everyone interested in life philosophy, wealth, and how to live a meaningful life.