Thoughts and musings of silicon valley’s favourite internet philosopher.
The cult of Naval
The first time I heard of Naval Ravikant, was because of his appearance of the Joe Rogan Experience. I was quite impressed by his overall clarity in thought, and his lucidity in expressing himself - the man is sure charismatic in his own Silicon Valley VC way. Over his celebrated career as an angel investor, he has developed something of a reputation for giving great advice on happiness and entrepreneurship, by the means of his numerous podcast appearances, interviews and his famous “tweetstorms”. This book is a collation of all these thoughts, with excerpts that flesh them out appropriately. The result is this, “The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A guide to wealth and happiness”, which is being given away for free, over at the authors website.
I went in with tempered expectations, mostly because of the subtitle, but I was pleasantly surprised by the contents. Yes, it contains the silicon valley starter pack - stoicism, rational thinking and sapiens, don’t be put off. Some of the ideas here are excellent, even though they may have been expressed elsewhere. The strength of the book is in how direct a lot the ideas here are presented. The books is split into three broad parts. The section on wealth was absolutely excellent, and the sections on Happiness and Philosophy where good, but nothing to write home about.
This was by far my favourite part. I loved reading it, and all the thoughts Naval has around wealth building. The idea of having leverage, and disconnecting your output from your input was something that I found very impressive, because its put so succinctly here.
Give me a lever long enough and I shall move the world.
He also talks about how we must value our times appropriately, and other great tips on building businesses, and being wealthy. For me, this portion was a 10/10, very inspiring, and gave me something to think about.
This part talks about happiness, and how to think of happiness. He talks about what is peace, and how it relates to happiness. A lot of the stuff he talks about isn’t really original content, but it motivates you to seek more. There are some very good points here, with references to buddhism and stoicism sprinkled here and there. I thought this was a good chapter, but there is much better work out there on this topic. This can be a good, accessible jumping off point, he has some great recommendations.
This was the weakest, and the shortest chapter in the book. Again, serves as a good jumping off point into other philosophical texts.
The book ends with Naval’s reading list, which I thought was pretty great. I will surely be picking up stuff from there.
I strongly agree with his stance on thinking from first principles, and have a strong foundation. As a result, a lot of this book gives very good advice on how to get there. I like that at no point this book claims to be a definitive guide on anything, but rather a primer, and next steps on how to achieve something. There is bound to be something here for everyone, and I would definitely recommend this book, if only for the amazing first chapter.