A Guide to Wealth and Happiness
Life gets busy. Has The Almanack of Naval Ravikant been gathering dust on your bookshelf? Instead, pick up the key ideas now.
Eric Jorgenson’s Perspective
Eric Jorgenson is a writer, podcaster, investor, and product strategist. He’s blogged and created online courses for several years. He writes and podcasts about personal leverage, building wealth, and good living on ejorgenson.com these days.
Eric felt inspired to write The Almanack of Naval Ravikant because of the insights he gained from Naval. He decided to collect Naval’s ideas and pass them on to others in a more accessible and organized way.
Naval Ravikant is an Indian-American serial entrepreneur, investor, and former CEO of AngelList. AngelList is a website designed to pair investors with startups. He has also invested early in companies like Uber, Twitter, and Postmates.
As a result, Naval has gained a wealth of experience. He frequently advises on wealth, happiness, and life. This advice has been shared across a range of tweets, interviews, and essays.
Author Eric Jorgenson curated this advice into The Almanack of Naval Ravikant.
Eric broke the book into two main sections: wealth and happiness. Each section’s chapters contain various tweets, comments, and statements from Naval. Eric edited the words to flow well, but he has tried to share the ideas as unchanged as possible.
You don’t have to read the book from beginning to end. Instead, you can flip to specific chapters to examine that particular topic.
StoryShot #1: The Creation of Wealth
According to Naval, wealth is not money. Money is the tool used to transfer wealth.
Instead, wealth is things that can earn for you and be productive, even while you sleep. Wealth is inventions, business ideas, computer programs, or products. People will buy and pay for these, even if you’re not there to hand them over directly.
The crux of his argument is this: you have to work hard to gain wealth, but you have to work hard the right way. You can work really hard at the wrong thing, and you’ll never have a chance of getting rich. That’s where specific knowledge and working in the right direction come into play.
StoryShot #2: Specific Knowledge and Talent
Everyone has talents, knowledge, and skills. To truly build wealth, you need to figure out which talents and skills you can use to your advantage. In particular, you want specific skills that not everyone has and that you can sell in some way or another.
You need to pursue your talents, hobbies, and passions. Learn how to turn them into actionable skills that people will pay for, and you’ll go far. If you turn your skills into a platform, you’re on the fast track towards building wealth!
StoryShot #3: Wealth is a Long-Term Game
You won’t be successful overnight. You have to build that success with compound interest in many ways.
Compound interest in money is how most people think about it, and it can be important. Growing your money through the magic of compound interest on investments is wonderful. Still, it’s not the only thing you should focus on growing over the long term.
You want to grow your character, connections, and reputation over the long term. It compounds over time when you build a connection with someone and treat them right. They’re more likely to help you or work with you because they know you’re someone they can count on.
You need to keep working at whatever you’re doing and understand that the timescales are different. You’re trying to succeed over years and decades, not just in days or weeks.
StoryShot #4: Leverage and Judgment
You need to gain leverage to help you apply your knowledge and talent in a way that helps you build wealth. The book itself is a form of leverage! With it, the author can teach principles to far more people than he would ever manage in a lecture hall.
Media and code are the top ways to use leverage to build wealth in today’s day and age. If you can create code that people want, you can leverage that software program to your advantage. If you create compelling media, you’re building yourself a platform.
The key to leverage is to treat it as a force multiplier. You have to use your mind to create products, systems, and ideas worth more than your simple hours of labor. Find something that you can lever to be worth ten people’s labor, or even a hundred or a thousand!
It’s essential to have good judgment. When you make wise, long, and short-term decisions, your efforts create better results. You need to combine good judgment with well-placed leverage.
Leverage is a tool to multiply your force. But, you have to work hard at wisdom and judgment.
If you apply a lot of force in the wrong direction, you’ll do poorly. In the same way, if you pick the right direction but barely apply any force, you won’t see good results.
StoryShot #5: Enjoy Wealth Creation!
Money is a necessity at a certain level, but you have the freedom to do what you want once you get past that point. You can retire, work, invest, invent or do anything else.
But how do you get there? There are three main ways to enjoy your life and your wealth creation.
First, you can get by on passive income. This means you make enough money to cover your expenses, all without having to work anymore. Although fun, this isn’t realistic for many people.
Second, you can “become a monk” and reduce your spending to as little as possible. For most people, this will not be an enjoyable option at all. You might have some investments, but they won’t pay off for a while.
So, the best option is to find a job that you enjoy doing. As the saying goes, once you find that, you’ll never have to work another day in your life!
Be authentic to yourself and enjoy the journey. Be smart, but don’t obsess over money!
StoryShot #6: Happiness, the Learned Choice
Happiness is a matter of perspective and experience. What works for you may not work for someone else. But there are still some principles that remain the same across the board.
Naval believes that happiness is an absence of desire. It’s an absence of longing for things we don’t or can’t have. When we long for an external thing that we lack, we become unhappy because we don’t have it.
But, we can learn to be happy and focus on the present and more important things.
This can be tough, but learning to be happy is a skill you can develop. If you stop longing for what you don’t have, you start building up your skills at contentment. Then, you can genuinely start being happy.
StoryShot #7: How to Build Happiness
Like many other things, happiness is a skill. You can’t just be happy: you have to work at it and find something that works for you.
Everyone is different, and what makes one person happy may not work for another. Try things out and see what healthy habits make you happy. Once you find those things, start prioritizing them!
Many activities reward you in the short term but sap your happiness over the long term. Screens, caffeine, sugar, and alcohol are some of the ways we please ourselves in the short term. But over time, our brains depend on these things, and we become unhappy as soon as we can’t get them.
Try to find activities that make you happy, and adopt a mindset of building them into habits. Don’t make “happiness” the goal to the point where you’re even more unhappy when you don’t achieve it. Instead, find healthy activities that make you happy and at peace.
StoryShot #8: Caring For Yourself
You need to take care of your health. This isn’t just your body; but your spirit, mind, and family’s health. But how do you do that?
Our modern world encourages so many distractions and unhealthy habits: from how we dress and move, to our activities, and how we eat. You need to make a conscious choice to take care of yourself and follow specific steps to start!
The best place to start is to do something active every day. It doesn’t matter what it is, and it doesn’t matter when you do it. Yes, it will be challenging, but you’ll go a long way if you make it a priority.
Succeeding in life by taking care of yourself involves many hard choices. But if you make the hard choices now in the short term, you’ll find your long-term results will be well worth it.
It may not seem like it at the moment, but eventually, you’ll be glad you pushed through. You’ll thank yourself for eating healthy, exercising, and taking the time to meditate!
Remember, it’s all about the long-term game! This isn’t just about finances or connections. It’s also about things as simple as your health and well-being.
StoryShot #9: Growing and Building Yourself
To truly build and grow yourself, you have to commit to it. You can’t just give yourself a soft “I’ll do it someday” attitude; you have to commit to yourself and others. If you tell people that you’re going to do something to grow, they can help hold you to it.
Building yourself requires habits, which are tough when you can’t see immediate results. You have to be impatient with your actions but patient with your results. You have to build your actions and habits right away but may have to wait for a while for them to come to fruition.
Not only that, but you must do things differently to set yourself above the crowd. For example, many people read books on macroeconomics, but how many read Adam Smith?
To grow yourself, you need to read, but you don’t have to follow society’s rules. Study science, but don’t just read the same books that everyone else does. To truly grow into a unique person who can succeed, forge your own path, and keep working at it your way.
StoryShot #10: The Meaning of Life
According to Naval, there are a few ways to look at the meaning of life. One is to view it through the purposelessness of everything. At the end of time, the universe will decay, and nobody will remember who you were or what you did.
That can be tough to accept, though. The other way to look at it is that the meaning of life is personal. You have to find what matters to you, which becomes the meaning of your life.
Once you find other people to care about, the meaning of life changes. You no longer just care about yourself and what you can do. You care about your friends and family, and you want to ensure that they continue to succeed after you’re gone.
Whatever way you view things, you should live your life according to your values. Build things up over the long term, including your character and investments. And do it all without compromising what makes you a good person.
Naval personally believes that rational Buddhism is an excellent guiding philosophy. That means we should meditate on the moment and live by our values while continuing to grow and improve.
You must take care of yourself to be happy. This includes eating healthy, meditating, and regular exercise. Do these things, and the path to building wealth will be much more pleasant!
Wealth is important, but it isn’t the only key to happiness. You have to focus on building your skills, habits, and everything else beneficial to you. Meditate regularly to improve your mindset, and you’ll eventually succeed.
Building these things takes time, so plan on the long-term game. Treat people well, learn valuable skills, and make sound investments and judgments. You may not see great results in the short term, but your long-term results will be worth it.
Finally, find valuable and worthwhile things for you, and hold on to them. Enjoy the happiness that comes with investing in activities, pursuits, and family. From there, everything else will eventually follow.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was first published on Nov 15, 2021. It was updated on Dec 5, 2021.
Disclaimer: This is an unofficial summary and analysis.
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