Naval Ravikant is a well-known Indian-American angel investor in Silicon Valley. He is the founder and former CEO of AngelList, and he has invested in over 200 businesses, including many “unicorns” such as Uber and Twitter.
Eric Jorgenson, the author of the Navalmanack got in touch with Naval by sending out a tweet with the idea for a book. Naval offered to export his entire history of tweets for Eric, which became the raw starting point for the book.
Ideas on various topics
Realization - You have one life
Confucius had a great saying that every man has two lives, and the second starts when he realizes he has just one.
Meaning - The answer to the meaning of life is "because". You get to make up the answer and create your own meaning.
There is no answer. The real answer is ‘because.’ You get to make up your own answer is the beauty. If there was a single answer, we would not be free. We would be trapped…we would all have to live to that answer…luckily there is no answer.
Answers to all the great questions are paradoxes…How do I matter in this infinite universe? On the one hand, you’re separate…every two points are infinitely different…life is a single player game…on the other hand…you’re connected to everything, it’s inseparable.
The answer to that question, ‘Do I matter?’ is ‘I am nothing, and I am everything’…all the great questions…all paradoxes…pursuing them is actually really useful because then it gives you certain intrinsic understanding in your life that brings a level of peace.
You have to do hard things…to create your own meaning in life.
The world just reflects your own feelings back at you. Reality is neutral.
Desire - Pick one desire, and one desire only. The universe will help you get it. Let go of everything else.
Let’s go back to desire…this is old, old Buddhist wisdom…Desire to me is a contract that you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want, and I keep that in front of mind…Pick your one overwhelming desire. It’s okay to suffer over that one.
The universe is rigged in such a way that if you just want one thing and you focus on that, you will get it. But everything else, you got to let go.
Authenticity - Be authentic to escape competition, find what you know how to do better than anybody because you love to do it and it feels like play, & get to “retirement.”
What you want to get everyone to is retirement…Retirement is when you stop sacrificing today for some imaginary tomorrow. When today is complete, in and of itself, you’re retired.
The way to get out of the competition trap is actually to be authentic. The way to retire is actually to find the thing that you know how to do better than anybody. And, you know how to do that better than anybody because you love to do it.
I’m always ‘working.’ It looks like work to them, but it feels like play to me.
School, politics, sports, and games train us to compete against others. True rewards — wealth, knowledge, love, fitness, and equanimity — come from ignoring others and improving ourselves.
Individuality - Modern life is a single player game. Draw your own boundaries from society. Focus on changing yourself and living the life you want others to live.
Most of modern life, all our diseases, are diseases of abundance, not diseases of scarcity.
The way to survive in modern society is to be an ascetic. It is to retreat from society. There’s too much society everywhere you go…The only solution is turn it off.
The ancient struggle used to be the tribal struggle…Modern life, we’re so free, everything has become atomized, we stand alone…The modern struggle as an individual is…drawing your own boundaries, and there’s no one there to help you.
Doctors won’t make you healthy. Nutritionists won’t make you slim. Teachers won’t make you smart. Gurus won’t make you calm. Mentors won’t make you rich. Trainers won’t make you fit. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility. Save yourself.
Solitude - An attainable superpower.
You want to rest your mind. You want to learn how to settle into your mind. Now, I look forward to solitary confinement. You leave me alone for a day, it will be the happiest day I’ve had in awhile. That is a superpower that I think everybody can attain.
Ethics - Approach situations ethically.
Smart partners negotiate fair deals because they know that lopsided deals are fragile and that most value accumulates in long term trust relationships.You can tell a lot about a potential partner by their opening offer.
Envy is an illusion. The part of the person that we envy doesn’t exist without the rest of that person. If we aren’t willing to trade places with them completely - their life, their body, their thoughts - then there is nothing to be envious about.
The selfish reason to be ethical is that it attracts the other ethical people in the network.
Wisdom is the product of experience and honest reflection.
If you're intellectually honest and advocate for a system that controls people, turn over the keys to your enemies for a dry run.
Small deals rely on promises and contracts. Big deals rely on alignment and trust.
Build a reputation that makes other people do deals through you.
Ethics is what you do despite the money. If being ethical were profitable, everyone would do it.
Distrust futurists. More so if they haven't created anything fundamental in their field. Distrust completely if they claim many fields.
Ideas on reading
Read What You Love Until You Love To Read
As a child, Naval fell in love with literature since he was free to read whatever he pleased. He read comic books, mystery novels, and whatever else grabbed his attention. He acquired a passion of reading by reading what he enjoyed.
When I was young nobody forced me on what to read...I was lucky that there was no one around when I was seven years old or six years old saying, ‘You shouldn’t read that. You should read this instead.’
You'll Eventually Begin Reading "Healthy" Books
Many of the books Naval read today would be classified as "brain junk food." But that's OK. He eventually grew weary of reading junk books and switched to “healthy” ones. He began by reading comic books, then mystery novels, then science fiction, and finally math and philosophy literature.
The reality is I just read a lot that, by today’s standards, would be considered mental junk food. Eventually you just get to, like reading, you run out of junk food and then you start eating the healthy food.
Books Are An Investment, Not An Expense
Naval does not believe in saving costs on books. Why? A book for $10 or $20 can potentially improve his life in a significant manner; that's a wonderful value. Even when he was broke, Naval spent money on books.
Even back when I was broke and I had no money. I always spent money on books. I never viewed that as an expense. That’s an investment to me.
Buy Multiple Copies of Amazing Books
If Naval discovers a wonderful book while reading it on his Kindle, he will purchase a physical copy for himself as well as extra copies to give away to friends or guests.
“If I read a book and that I know it’s amazing, I’ll buy multiple copies, partially to give away, partially because I have them lying around the house.”
Spend More Time Reading Great Books
Naval does not want to read every book in the world; instead, he prefers to spend his time revisiting the 100 top books.
I would rather read the best 100 books over and over again until I absorb them rather than read all the books.
Found Naval interesting? The entire book is available in pdf format here or on Eric Jorgenson's site in .epub and .mobi. You can also check out Naval's site and podcasts featuring him by Tim Ferriss, Shane Parrish, and Joe Rogan.