Naval Ravikant is an Indian-American entrepreneur and investor. A Silicon Valley legend and a self-made multimillionaire, he’s considered amongst the most successful investors today. He’s an angel investor in numerous companies such as Twitter, Uber and hundreds of others. Some consider him to be a modern-day philosopher. While that might be debatable, what’s evident is that he’s a keen observer of the world with astute insights.
Naval was born in Delhi, India, and moved to the US when he was 9 years old. He grew up in a single-parent household; he and his brother were brought up by their mother. As a teenager, he spent a lot of time reading; something he encourages everyone to take up as a habit. Naval studied Computer Engineering at Dartmouth, worked a couple of jobs before finally ‘tricking’ himself into starting his own company.
During his teenage years, Naval ‘got really good at was looking at businesses and figuring out the point of maximum leverage to actually create wealth and capture some of that created wealth’. These principles found their way into a tweetstorm he did in 2018 on ‘getting rich without getting lucky’. This caught a lot of attention globally. A series of podcasts he appeared on including the ones with Joe Rogan, Tim Ferris and Shane Parishhave allowed people a peek into his mind.
This ‘almanack’ is unlike most books. It is a compilation by Eric Jorgenson of ‘Naval’s wisdom’ from his tweets, podcasts, essays, interviews etc. Since the content has been curated from what is available online, the e-book is available as a free download or for online reading. As it is a collection of thoughts and insights, readers are invited to engage with it that way. Eric’s efforts to research and organise Naval’s insights into various categories makes it easy for readers. You can choose to read it sequentially or navigate to any chapter or section in the book to read and reflect on the ideas presented. Be advised, this is by no means a how-to book with step-by-step instructions, but rather serves as interesting food for thought.
The content of the book is broadly structured into two parts - Wealth and Happiness. However, he talks about a lot more than just the two. The ideas and suggestions presented are relevant to readers from all walks and stages of life. In the section on wealth, the book talks about Naval’s definition of wealth and how it’s different from money, as well as the thinking and skills one ought to develop in order to create wealth.
The book also features ideas on Happiness: that it’s a skill like any other that can be cultivated.
‘Maybe happiness is not something you inherit or even choose, but a highly personal skill that can be learned, like fitness or nutrition’
In all honesty, Naval attributes the origin of a lot of ideas around happiness, peace, meditation etc. to the sources from which he came across them. However, one can appreciate that the ideas themselves are universal and can be found in other texts or echoed by other saints and masters throughout history. The idea here is to use the book as a workbook rather than a textbook. Pick up an idea and reflect. Run with it, test it out in your life and see if it makes sense. If it’s not directly applicable, observe others around you to see whether it holds up. You might find some ideas more trivial than others. On the other hand, some ideas might send you into a spiral of deep thought. And a select few might just hit you smack in the face with a light-bulb moment. Read, ruminate and apply on repeat is the way to go!