The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant contains Naval’s philosophy on wealth and happiness. It’s a collection of his views distilled from interviews and tweets available as a free PDF.

Here are some parts that resonated with me:

On happiness:

  • Happiness is there when you remove the sense of something missing in your life.
  • The most important trick to being happy is to realize happiness is a skill you develop and a choice you make.
  • Desire is a contract that you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.
  • Every time you catch yourself desiring something, say “Is it so important to me I’ll be unhappy unless this goes my way?”
  • Happiness is being satisfied with what you have.
  • Happiness, love, and passion aren’t things you find, they’re choices you make.
  • Jealousy is such a poisonous emotion because, at the end of the day, you’re no better off with jealousy. You’re unhappier, and the person you’re jealous of is still successful or good-looking.
  • One day, I realized with all these people I was jealous of, I couldn’t just choose little aspects of their life. I couldn’t say I want his body, I want her money, I want his personality. You have to be that person. If you’re not willing to do a wholesale, 24/7/ 100 percent swap with who that person is, then there is no point in being jealous.
  • Working out every day made me happier.
  • Don’t spend your time making other people happy. Other people being happy is their problem. It’s not your problem.
  • If you don’t love yourself, who will?

On wealth:

  • All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.
  • There are basically three really big decisions you make in your early life: where you live, who you’re with, and what you do.
  • The best way to stay away from this constant love of money is to not upgrade your lifestyle as you make money.
  • If you can’t decide, the answer is no.
November 26, 2020


The Four Agreements

The Four Agreements is a popular book among coaching circles. It talks about four agreements that you need to make with yourself:

  1. Be impeccable with your word: What resonated with me was noticing the power of the language we use and the words we pick, that it can be self-fulfilling if we speak negatively about ourselves. Being impeccable is not going against yourself, not using words against yourself, not judging or blaming yourself. It’s a powerful agreement to make with yourself.
  2. Don’t take anything personally: It’s important to remember that the other person has their own set of beliefs, trauma, mood, things going on in their lives etc. and their actions or reactions are not necessarily because of us.
  3. Don’t make assumptions: Noticing that you’re making an assumption is also very powerful. The easiest way to not make assumptions is to ask questions. For me, the challenging part with this approach is in situations where there is a lack of trust or incentive to lie.
  4. Always do your best: Knowing that you’ve done your best gives you peace of mind regardless of the outcome.

Overall, these are powerful principles, being able to stick to them requires awareness.

April 30, 2020


The Great CEO Within

Matt Mochary is a CEO coach and probably one of those unknown heroes of Silicon Valley. He coached CEOs of several Silicon Valley startups, such as Steve Huffman, Sam Altman and Justin Kan. His book, The Great CEO Within, is on how to run a company as a CEO. The information density is amazing, it’s an excellent reference book with 200 pages of pure practical information. It’s been really refreshing to come across a business book without all the story telling and filler fluff.

I usually have a hard time applying things I’ve read in a book and building new habits, but I’ve been able to apply two individual habits described in the book:

  • Applying a simple version of GTD to my Gmail inbox: having an inbox with multiple sections: unread, to-do and awaiting reply. Details here
  • Scheduling time each morning to wok on your top goal only

I’ve found decision making, conflict resolution, company culture, areas of responsibility and key performance indicator sections informative for my engineering management days. Having run an engineering team at Facebook, a lot of the practices described in the book were very familiar – speaks to how Facebook implemented good management practices in the company.

Overall, if you manage a team or run a company, this book is pure gold!

March 3, 2020


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sarp centel

Sarp is a software developer. He writes about technology, books and software.
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