The Wisdom of Naval Ravikant


Naval Ravikant is a tech entrepreneur, angel investor, and a modern day philosopher. He’s not a household name; he once lamented that his fans are mainly young male geeks. That’s a shame because his wisdom is universal; transcending age, gender, and predilection.

I first came across Naval in an episode of the Joe Rogan podcast. I was spellbound by the way he articulated his thoughts on life, wealth, and happiness 🤯. Hungry for more, I subsequently consumed Naval’s many tweets, blogs, and podcasts.

How to get rich

Naval is most famous for his tweetstorm, How to Get Rich (without getting lucky). Don’t be fooled by the clickbait-like title; the tweets are timeless principles and mental models on wealth creation. He has since expounded on these succinct tweets in a podcast.

For my own notes, wealth creation can be achieved in three “easy” steps:

Arm yourself with specific knowledge, accountability, and leverage.

You’re not going to get rich renting out your time. You must own equity – a piece of a business – to gain your financial freedom.

You will get rich by giving society what it wants but does not yet know how to get. At scale.

Naval Ravikant

Naval’s principles are by no means a get-rich-quick guide. Far from it. He tempers unreasonable expectations by saying that wealth creation could take decades; most of that time may be spent figuring out what one can uniquely provide.

How to be happy

The end goal of wealth creation is freedom. We have a finite lifespan. An abundance of moolah allows us to control what we do with the only truly limited resource – time. Financial freedom, however, does not guarantee happiness.

The three big ones in life are wealth, health, and happiness. We pursue them in that order, but their importance is reverse.

Naval Ravikant

Naval’s views on happiness lean heavily toward Buddha’s teachings. For him, it’s about the absence of desire, and embracing the present moment. Happiness is attained when the mind stands still; not moving to the past to regret or to the future to plan.

Naval knows fully well that desires are necessary for advancement in life. We need to desire accomplishing something to self-actualise. The trick is to be very picky about what to desire. He advises cultivating one big desire at any given time and ignoring the rest.

Almanack of Naval Ravikant

Naval’s wisdom is scattered across the internet-verse in tweets, blogs, and podcasts. I would revisit them from time-to-time. This is now made much easier with the book, The Almanack of Naval Ravikant (freely available in pdf and Kindle format. A paperback could also be purchased). The book reproduces Naval’s words (mostly) verbatim, and organises them coherently around a topic.

In a homage to Naval’s reading habits, the book doesn’t need to be finished from beginning to end; you can jump to the topics that interest you and extract what you need. The book can be re-read repeatedly; over time, you may interpret the wisdom differently.

Naval’s principles are not new and some are instinctive. But they are well-articulated, and easy to digest and apply. Sometimes, that’s more than enough; a nudge in the right trajectory makes all the difference in life.

What if this life is the paradise we were promised, and we’re just squandering it?

Naval Ravikant

The bottom line: Naval Ravikant’s timeless principles on wealth and happiness is life-enhancing. The Almanack of Naval Ravikant is an invaluable book (made freely available) which collects and organises the wisdom Naval has shared to date.