The Almanack of Naval Ravikant Book Review and Summary Notes

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My Rating: 8/10 Find it on Amazon

My Bottom Line Thoughts

A really good book on basic life principles about the topics of building wealth and finding personal happiness and freedom.

I’d recommend this book to any person who wants to learn the truth about the basic wealth and freedom principles in a no-nonsense smart manner.

Summary Notes


Building Wealth

Making money is not a thing you do, it’s a skill you learn

  • Not really about hard work, hard work matters, but hard work without knowing what to do is useless
  • You should not grind at a lot of hard work until you know what to work on
  • Getting rich is about knowing what to do, who to do it with, and when to do it
  • If you absorb the below principles and work hard over ten years you’ll get what you want

How to get rich (without getting lucky)

  1. Seek wealth not money or status. Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep. Money is how we transfer time and wealth. Status is your place in social hierarchy
  2. Understand ethical wealth creation is possible. If you secretly despise wealth, it will elude you.
  3. Ignore people playing status games. They gain status by attacking people playing wealth creation games.
  4. You’re not going to get rich renting out your time. You must own equity-a piece of a business-to gain financial freedom.
  5. You will get rich by giving society what it wants but does not yet know how to get. At scale.
  6. Pick an industry where you can play long term games with long term people
  7. The internet has massively broadened the possible space of careers. Most people haven’t figured this out yet.
  8. Play iterated games. All returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.
  9. Pick business partners with high intelligence, energy, and integrity
  10. Don’t partner with cynics and pessimists. Their beliefs are self fulfilling
  11. Learn to sell. Learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.
  12. Arm yourself with specific knowledge, accountability, and leverage
  13. Specific knowledge is knowledge you cannot be trained for. If society can train you, it can train someone else and replace you
  14. Specific knowledge is found by pursing your genuine curiosity and passion rather than whatever is hot right now
  15. Building specific knowledge will feel like play to you but will look like work to others
  16. When specific knowledge is taught, it’s through apprenticeships, not schools
  17. Specific knowledge is often highly technical or creative. It cannot be outsourced or automated
  18. Embrace accountability and take business risks under your name. Society will reward you with responsibility, equity, and leverage
  19. Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand and I will move the earth
  20. Fortunes require leverage. Business leverage comes from capital, people, and products with no marginal cost of replication (code and media)
  21. Capital means money. To raise money, apply specific knowledge with accountability and show resulting good judgement
  22. Labor means people working for you. It’s the oldest and most fought over form of leverage. Labor leverage will impress your parents, but don’t waste your life chasing it
  23. Capital and labor are permission leverage. Everyone is chasing capital, but someone has to give it to you. Everyone is trying to lead, but someone has to follow you.
  24. Code and media are permissionless leverage. They’re the leverage behind the newly rich. You can create software and media that works for you while you sleep.
  25. An army of robots is freely available-it’s just packed in data centers for heat and space efficiency. Use it
  26. If you can’t code, write books and blogs, record videos and podcasts
  27. Leverage is a force multiplier for your judgement
  28. Judgement requires experience but can be built faster by learning foundational skills
  29. There is no skill called business. Avoid business magazines and business classes.
  30. Study microeconomics, game theory, psychology, persuasion, ethics, math, and computers
  31. Reading is faster than listening. Doing is faster than watching
  32. You should be too busy to do coffee while still keeping an uncluttered calendar
  33. Set and enforce an aspirational personal hourly rate. If fixing a problem will save less than your hourly rate, ignore it. If outsourcing a task will cost less than your hourly rate, outsource it.
  34. Work as hard as you can. Even though who you work with and what you work on are more important than how hard you work.
  35. Become the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true.
  36. There are no get rich quick schemes. Those are just someone else getting rich off you.
  37. Apply specific knowledge, with leverage, and eventually you will get what you deserve.
  38. When you’re finally wealthy, you’ll realize it wasn’t what you were seeking in the first place.
  39. Productize yourself
  40. Great people have great outcomes, be patient

Building Judgement

“There’s no shortcut to smart”

  • Hard work is really overrated. Judgement and thinking is underrated
  • Definition of wisdom is knowing the long term consequences of your actions. Wisdom applied to external problems is judgement. Knowing the long term consequences of your actions and then making the right decision to capitalize on it
  • In the age of leverage, one correct decision can win everything
  • Picking the direction your headed in for every decision is far, far more important than how much force you apply
  • Pick the right direction to start walking in then start walking
  • Clear thinker is better than smart
  • Real knowledge is intrinsic and built from the ground up. You have to learn basics before details
  • When making decisions you have to deal with reality. By not having a strong sense of self or ego in the decision will help
  • What we wish to be true clouds our perception of what is true. Suffering is the moment when we can no longer deny reality
  • Very smart people tend to be weird since they insist on thinking everything through for themselves
  • Optimistic contrarians are the rarest breed
  • Our egos can cloud our thinking and reality. Shed your identity to see reality.
  • Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you are
  • Use habits and programming for routine tasks and escape conditions for decision making
  • Almost all biases are time-saving heuristics. For important decisions, discard memory and identity, and focus on the problem and your innate feelings without trying to label them based on your memory/identity
  • The more you know the less you diversify
  • Collect mental models
    • evolution
    • inversion
    • economics
    • principle agent problem
    • compound interest
    • basic math
    • black swans
    • falsifiability
    • If you can’t decide answer is no
    • Take the path more painful in short term if you’re split on decision
    • Read and love to learn
  • Read science, math, and philosophy, for one hour per day which will likely put you at the upper echelon of human success in 7 years
  • Read what interests you
  • If they wrote it to make money don’t read it
  • You know the song you can’t get out of your head? All thoughts work that way. Careful what you read.


  • Maybe happiness is not something you inherit or even choose, but a highly personal skill that can be learned, like fitness or nutrition
  • Happiness is different for each person
  • Happiness is the state when nothing is missing. When nothing is missing, your mind shuts down and stops running  into the past or future to regret something or plan something. You see the world as God sees it, bright, calm, loving, inspiring, and are flowing in the present without thinking about what you don’t have or what affected you.
  • Every positive thought holds a negative thought in contrast or is duality and polarity at the core
  • A lot of greatness in life comes from suffering. You have to view the negative before you can aspire and appreciate the positive.
  • The absence of desire and the acceptance of the current state is fundamental
  • You have to move beyond good and evil or good and bad….nature has no concept of good, evil, happy, unhappy
  • Everything is perfect the way it is….it is only in our minds we are unhappy or not happy and things are perfect or imperfect because of what we desire
  • When you’re happy and your mind is clean you want to just be with people, live the moment, have fun in the moment, and not talk about the past, future, or what external things are going on
  • There are no external forces affecting your emotions-as much as it may feel that way……they are all triggered and driven from the inside and your past programming which can be rewired over time if you have awareness of them
  • We think of ourselves as fixed and the world as malleable, but it’s really we who are malleable and the world is largely fixed…….we don’t control the world or external forces but we can change and have control over ourselves
  • You can find peace by cultivating indifference to things outside of your control…..trusting
  • Happiness is a choice
  • Focus on internal purpose and happiness not externally influenced purpose (or what other people expect or want you to be)
  • Every desire is a chosen unhappiness ……looking outside yourself for anything is the fundamental delusion
  • We are meant to do things while we’re here… should do what you are meant to do….not what society or other people want you to do
  • The problem with getting good at a game, especially one with nice rewards, is you continue playing it long after you should have outgrown it. Survival and replication drive put us on the work treadmill. Hedonic adaptation keeps us there. The trick is knowing when to jump off and play instead.
  • Real successes are those who step outside the game. Winning or losing does not matter to them and they do things for the purpose or passion. These people are the ones with such internal mental and self control and self awareness they need nothing from anybody else. They are at peace, healthy, and whether they make more money or less it has no impact on the internal state.
  • The enemy of peace of mind is expectations drilled into you by society and other people
  • Perhaps one reason why yoga and meditation are hard for some people to sustain is they have no extrinsic value or societal value. They are single player personal games.
  • Replacing thoughtless bad habits with good ones slowly will make you happier
  • If you can’t see yourself working with someone for life, don’t work with them for a day
  • Doctors won’t make you healthy, teachers wont make you smart, mentors wont make you rich, trainers wont make you fit. Ultimately you have to take responsibility for yourself
  • Be yourself, with passionate intensity
  • Meditation is charging and resting the mind
  • Time spent undistracted and alone, in self-examination, journaling, meditation, resolves the unresolved and takes us from mentally fat to fit
  • Meditation helps you look at things from a different lens outside your own ego mind lens to see reality more clear
  • Meditation is turning of society and listening to yourself and it only works when done for its own sake
    • hiking is walking meditation
    • journaling is writing meditation
    • praying is gratitude meditation
    • showering is accidental meditation
    • sitting quietly is direct meditation
  • If there’s something you want to do later, do it now, there is no later
  • Most things people read these days is designed for social approval, stay away from that and do your own learning based on your. genuine curiosity
  • The smartest and most successful people start out as losers
  • Be exactly who you are, holding back means staying in bad relationships and bad jobs for years instead of minutes
  • Courage is not caring what other people think
  • Anger is its own punishment. An angry person trying to push your head below water is drowning at the same time
  • Inspiration is perishable, act on it immediately

Naval’s Favorite Books

  •  “The best books are the ones you will personally devour”
  • “I always spent money on books and didn’t view it as an expense but an investment”

Non Fiction:

  • The beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch
  • Sapiens by Yuval Harari
  • The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley
  • Skin in the Game by Nassim Taleb
  • Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman
  • Thing Explainer: Complicated stuff in simple words by Randall Munroe
  • Thinking Physics by Lewis Carroll
  • The Lessons of History by Will Durant
  • The Sovereign Individual
  • Poor Charlies Almanack by Charlie Munger

Philosophy and Spirituality:

  • Jed McKenna
  • Kapil Gupta
  • The Book of Life by Krishnamurti
  • Total Freedom by Krishnamurti
  • Siddartha by Herman Hesse
  • Osho
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  • The Tao of Seneca
  • How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
  • Striking Thoughts by Bruce Lee
  • The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Science Fiction:

  • Ficciones by Jorge Borges
  • Stories of Your Life and Other by Ted Chiang
  • Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
  • The Last Question by Isaac Asimov
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Josh is a writer and entrepreneur who runs a small digital content publishing business. His main interests are in topics related to developing personal and financial freedom. When not working he enjoys reading, yoga, surfing, being outdoors, meditating, exploring, and hanging with friends.