The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson and Naval Ravikant


🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. Happiness and wealth creation are skills that can be learned.
  2. Skills are the result of the habits you put in place - meticulously cultivate your habits and play long-term games → results are inevitable.
  3. The quickest shortcut to happiness is acceptance of the world around you, living in the present moment, and controlling your desires.

🎨 Impressions

Naval's ideas have shaped my thinking and mental models more than anything else I've come across in the past 6 years. Not only has his thinking challenged my belief systems and world-view, but his tactical advice has directly increased my daily happiness and peace.

Naval has changed my life trajectory and has made me more aware, curious, and a better decision maker. If there was one book (or set of ideas) that I could recommend to most people - it would be this one.

How I Discovered It

From following Naval, Tim Ferriss, and Nat Eliason I was aware that this book was being compiled - and from all of the positive reviews/tweets from people who had read it.

Who Should Read It?

Anyone who is interested in becoming happier or wealthier. It sounds trite, but I believe most people, regardless of their position in life, would benefit from reading this book.

This book fundamentally challenges the daily struggles that many people view as unchangeable in their lives. Unhappiness, anxiety, jealously, desire, money - all of these themes are broken down in a logical way with accompanying mental models to improve your happiness.

In particular, I think people who are dissatisfied from the corporate rat race (especially in America) would benefit from reading this. Specifically, people in their late 20's who have experienced the perils of adult responsibilities and life's pressures.

☘️ How the Book Changed Me

How my life / behavior / thoughts / ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.

  • Peace of Mind: For most of my life, I was either ruminating about the past, or trying to optimize for the future. I always had a voice in my head, my "monkey mind," and I could never turn it off. Through Naval, I realized that my mental anguish was not doing me any favors, it contributed to my unhappiness and took me away from the present moment. I started realizing when I had the monkey mind going and was able to slowly step back from it - which increased my peace of mind.
  • Career Path: Naval's treatise on wealth creation was probably the single most important impetus for me starting my self-employment journey. Naval instilled in me the idea that you cannot get rich by renting out your time and that you must own equity to gain financial freedom. I was able to confirm this through experience, and it fundamentally shifted my professional trajectory. I now try to optimize my professional career towards building assets and applying leverage.
  • Life Priorities: Naval's ideas on priorities have shifted my values in life. Specifically optimizing  for my own health: my physical health, my mental health, and my spiritual health. If I am not healthy, I'm of no help to others.
  • The Importance of Reading: Reading is probably the single greatest way that you can improve your life and freedom. Naval's ideas around how to read removed a lot of the obstacles for me which allowed me to fall in love with reading. Since discovering Naval, I've been consistently reading for the past 6 years. I attribute almost all of my growth, personal and professional, to my reading habit.
  • The Importance of Who You Surround Yourself With: I know that the people you choose to be around, and therefore influenced by (in real-life or online), have a profound impact on your perspective on life. I've become more comfortable with rooting out people that do not contribute positively to my life and investing in relationships that do.

✍️ My Top 3 Quotes

  • "A calm mind, a fit body, and a house full of love. These things cannot be bought. They must be earned."
  • "Learn to sell. Learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable."
  • "Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want."

📒 Summary, Highlights, + Notes

Steve Note on Highlights: I know I damn-near highlighted the whole book - it's that good.

Getting rich is about knowing what to do, who to do it with, and when to do it.

Location: 202

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 the social hierarchy.

Location: 213

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.

Location: 218

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

Location: 220

Play iterated games. All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.

Location: 225

Learn to sell. Learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.

Location: 230

Specific knowledge is found by pursuing your genuine curiosity and passion rather than whatever is hot right now.

Location: 234

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.

Location: 251

Study microeconomics, game theory, psychology, persuasion, ethics, mathematics, and computers.

Location: 260

Become the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true.

Location: 268

I’m not saying it takes decades to execute, but the better part of a decade may be figuring out what you can uniquely provide. [10]

Location: 280

Sales skills are a form of specific knowledge.

Location: 303

No one can compete with you on being you.

Location: 319

Specific knowledge is found much more by pursuing your innate talents, your genuine curiosity, and your passion. It’s not by going to school for whatever is the hottest job; it’s not by going into whatever field investors say is the hottest.

I think about the times when I get excited to solve a problem. Like how to set up a system or how data could work together

Location: 342

The most important skill for getting rich is becoming a perpetual learner.

Location: 358

But things change fast now. Now, you have to come up to speed on a new profession within nine months, and it’s obsolete four years later. But within those three productive years, you can get very wealthy.

Location: 360

If you have a sterling reputation and you keep building it for decades upon decades, people will notice. Your reputation will literally end up being thousands or tens of thousands of times more valuable than somebody else who was very talented but is not keeping the compound interest in reputation going.

Location: 379

when you find the 1 percent of your discipline which will not be wasted, which you’ll be able to invest in for the rest of your life and has meaning to you—go all-in and forget about the rest. [10]

Location: 407

Clear accountability is important. Without accountability, you don’t have incentives. Without accountability, you can’t build credibility. But you take risks. You risk failure. You risk humiliation. You risk failure under your own name.

Location: 416

It’s ownership versus wage work. If you are paid for renting out your time, even lawyers and doctors, you can make some money, but you’re not going to make the money that gives you financial freedom. You’re not going to have passive income where a business is earning for you while you are on vacation. [10]

Location: 436

Essentially, you’re working for somebody else, and that person is taking on the risk and has the accountability, the intellectual property, and the brand.

Location: 445

Owning equity in a company basically means you own the upside.

Location: 448

If you don’t own equity in a business, your odds of making money are very slim.

Location: 449

only really want to do things for their own sake. That is one definition of art. Whether it’s business, exercise, romance, friendship, whatever, I think the meaning of life is to do things for their own sake.

Location: 461

The less you want something, the less you’re thinking about it, the less you’re obsessing over it, the more you’re going to do it in a natural way. The more you’re going to do it for yourself. You’re going to do it in a way you’re good at, and you’re going to stick with it. The people around you will see the quality of your work is higher. [1]

Location: 467

You are waiting for your moment when something emerges in the world, they need a skill set, and you’re uniquely qualified. You build your brand in the meantime on Twitter, on YouTube, and by giving away free work. You make a name for yourself, and you take some risk in the process. When it is time to move on the opportunity, you can do so with leverage—the maximum leverage possible. [1]

Location: 480

The final form of leverage is brand new—the most democratic form. It is: “products with no marginal cost of replication.” This includes books, media, movies, and code. Code is probably the most powerful form of permissionless leverage. All you need is a computer—you don’t need anyone’s permission. [1]

Location: 494

Probably the most interesting thing to keep in mind about new forms of leverage is they are permissionless. They don’t require somebody else’s permission for you to use them or succeed. For labor leverage, somebody has to decide to follow you. For capital leverage, somebody has to give you money to invest or to turn into a product.

Location: 508

Whenever you can in life, optimize for independence rather than pay. If you have independence and you’re accountable on your output, as opposed to your input—that’s the dream. [10]

Location: 514

For example, a good software engineer, just by writing the right little piece of code and creating the right little application, can literally create half a billion dollars’ worth of value for a company. But ten engineers working ten times as hard, just because they choose the wrong model, the wrong product, wrote it the wrong way, or put in the wrong viral loop, have basically wasted their time. Inputs don’t match outputs, especially for leveraged workers.

For me I think my intersection is solving real problems using systems - applying my systems mindset to a real problem that exists for business owners. Thats my sweet spot.

Location: 523

If you have specific knowledge, you have accountability and you have leverage; they have to pay you what you’re worth. If they pay you what you’re worth, then you can get your time back—you can be hyper-efficient.

Location: 529

All you care about is the actual work itself.

Location: 532

Forty hour work weeks are a relic of the Industrial Age. Knowledge workers function like athletes—train and sprint, then rest and reassess.

Location: 535

No one is going to value you more than you value yourself. You just have to set a very high personal hourly rate and you have to stick to it. Even when I was young, I just decided I was worth a lot more than the market thought I was worth, and I started treating myself that way.

Location: 626

My hourly rate, I used to say to myself over and over, is $5,000 an hour. Today when I look back, really it was about $1,000 an hour.

Location: 633

If you get into a relative mindset, you’re always going to hate people who do better than you, you’re always going to be jealous or envious of them.

Location: 649

Be optimistic, be positive. It’s important. Optimists actually do better in the long run. [10]

Location: 654

Status is a zero-sum game. It’s a very old game. We’ve been playing it since monkey tribes. It’s hierarchical.

Location: 664

The problem is, to win at a status game, you have to put somebody else down. That’s why you should avoid status games in your life—they

Location: 669

What is the most important thing to do for younger people starting out? Spend more time making the big decisions. There are basically three really big decisions you make in your early life: where you live, who you’re with, and what you do.

Location: 675

What are one or two steps you’d take to surround yourself with successful people? Figure out what you’re good at, and start helping other people with it. Give it away. Pay it forward.

Location: 685

I would rather be a failed entrepreneur than someone who never tried. Because even a failed entrepreneur has the skill set to make it on their own. [14]

Location: 702

What you really want is freedom. You want freedom from your money problems, right? I think that’s okay. Once you can solve your money problems, either by lowering your lifestyle or by making enough money, you want to retire. Not retirement at sixty-five years old, sitting in a nursing home collecting a check retirement—it’s a different definition.

Location: 713

Retirement is when you stop sacrificing today for an imaginary tomorrow. When today is complete, in and of itself, you’re retired.

Location: 716

Apply some leverage and put your name on it. You take the risks, but you gain the rewards, have ownership and equity in what you’re doing, and just crank it up. [77]

Location: 723

Lusting for money is bad for us because it is a bottomless pit. It will always occupy your mind. If you love money, and you make it, there’s never enough. There is never enough because the desire is turned on and doesn’t turn off at some number. It’s a fallacy to think it turns off at some number.

Location: 745

I think the best way to stay away from this constant love of money is to not upgrade your lifestyle as you make money.

Location: 750

if you can hold your lifestyle fixed and hopefully make your money in giant lump sums as opposed to a trickle at a time, you won’t have time to upgrade your lifestyle. You may get so far ahead you actually become financially free.

Location: 751

I value freedom above everything else. All kinds of freedom: freedom to do what I want, freedom from things I don’t want to do, freedom from my own emotions or things that may disturb my peace. For me, freedom is my number one value.

Location: 753

For someone who is early in their career (and maybe even later), the single most important thing about a company is the alumni network you’re going to build. Think about who you will work with and what those people are going on to do. [76]

Location: 770


Location: 790

“In a long-term game, it seems that everybody is making each other rich. And in a short-term game, it seems like everybody is making themselves rich.”

This is really important when thinking about partnerships or clients - choose the ones who you want to play long term games with.

Location: 805

“The closer you want to get to me, the better your values have to be.” [4]

Location: 826

The most common bad advice I hear is: “You’re too young.” Most of history was built by young people. They just got credit when they were older. The only way to truly learn something is by doing it. Yes, listen to guidance. But don’t wait. [3]

Location: 838

People are oddly consistent. Karma is just you, repeating your patterns, virtues, and flaws until you finally get what you deserve. Always pay it forward. And don’t keep count.

Location: 841

Your real résumé is just a catalog of all your suffering. If I ask you to describe your real life to yourself, and you look back from your deathbed at the interesting things you’ve done, it’s all going to be around the sacrifices you made, the hard things you did.

Location: 844

What making money will do is solve your money problems. It will remove a set of things that could get in the way of being happy, but it is not going to make you happy.

Location: 852

The direction you’re heading in matters more than how fast you move, especially with leverage. Picking the direction you’re heading in for every decision is far, far more important than how much force you apply. Just pick the right direction to start walking in, and start walking. [1]

Location: 880

The really smart thinkers are clear thinkers. They understand the basics at a very, very fundamental level.

Location: 890

If you can’t rederive concepts from the basics as you need them, you’re lost. You’re just memorizing. [4]

Add this to the post about first principles

Location: 892

You can only make progress when you’re starting with the truth.

Location: 904

To see the truth, you have to get your ego out of the way because your ego doesn’t want to face the truth. The smaller you can make your ego, the less conditioned you can make your reactions, the less desires you can have about the outcome you want, the easier it will be to see the reality.

Location: 905

The more desire I have for something to work out a certain way, the less likely I am to see the truth. Especially in business, if something isn’t going well, I try to acknowledge it publicly and I try to acknowledge it publicly in front of my co-founders and friends and co-workers. Then, I’m not hiding it from anybody else. If I’m not hiding it from anybody, I’m not going to delude myself from what’s actually going on. [4]

Location: 914

It’s actually really important to have empty space. If you don’t have a day or two every week in your calendar where you’re not always in meetings, and you’re not always busy, then you’re not going to be able to think.

Location: 918

It’s only after you’re bored you have the great ideas. It’s never going to be when you’re stressed, or busy, running around or rushed. Make the time. [7]

Location: 922

Very smart people tend to be weird since they insist on thinking everything through for themselves.

Location: 925

Optimistic contrarians are the rarest breed.

Location: 928

Any belief you took in a package (ex. Democrat, Catholic, American) is suspect and should be re-evaluated from base principles.

How by traveling and living in different countries allowed me to reexamine a lot of my ego and what my identity is. Like what it means to be an american, why i care about certain things, what i value?

Location: 941

Facebook redesigns. Twitter redesigns. Personalities, careers, and teams also need redesigns. There are no permanent solutions in a dynamic system.

Location: 953

Almost all biases are time-saving heuristics. For important decisions, discard memory and identity, and focus on the problem.

Location: 959

I would combine radical honesty with an old rule Warren Buffett has, which is praise specifically, criticize generally.

Location: 967

Mental models are really just compact ways for you to recall your own knowledge. [78]

Location: 993

To me, the principal-agent problem is the single most fundamental problem in microeconomics.

Location: 1009

if you want it done right, then you have to go yourself and do it. When you are the principal, then you are the owner—you care, and you will do a great job. When you are the agent and you are doing it on somebody else’s behalf, you can do a bad job. You just don’t care. You optimize for yourself rather than for the principal’s assets.

Location: 1012

The more closely you can tie someone’s compensation to the exact value they’re creating, the more you turn them into a principal, and the less you turn them into an agent. [12]

Location: 1016

In the intellectual domain, compound interest rules.

Location: 1025

If you cannot decide, the answer is no. And the reason is, modern society is full of options. There are tons and tons of options. We live on a planet of seven billion people, and we are connected to everybody on the internet. There are hundreds of thousands of careers available to you. There are so many choices.

Location: 1045

Simple heuristic: If you’re evenly split on a difficult decision, take the path more painful in the short term.

Location: 1055

So you generally want to lean into things with short-term pain, but long-term gain.

Location: 1068

Read a lot—just read. [2]

Location: 1070

Reading science, math, and philosophy one hour per day will likely put you at the upper echelon of human success within seven years.

Location: 1071

The means of learning are abundant—it’s the desire to learn that is scarce. [3]

Location: 1075

Read what you love until you love to read.

Location: 1083

“I don’t want to read everything. I just want to read the 100 great books over and over again.”

Location: 1086

It’s really more about identifying the great books for you because different books speak to different people. Then, you can really absorb those.

Location: 1087

“As long as I have a book in my hand, I don’t feel like I’m wasting time.” —Charlie Munger

Location: 1102

The number of books completed is a vanity metric. As you know more, you leave more books unfinished. Focus on new concepts with predictive power.

Location: 1113

What practices do you follow to internalize/organize information from reading books? Explain what you learned to someone else. Teaching forces learning.

Location: 1120

It’s not about “educated” vs. “uneducated.” It’s about “likes to read” and “doesn’t like to read.”

Location: 1121

If you start with the originals as your foundations, then you have enough of a worldview and understanding that you won’t fear any book. Then you can just learn. If you’re a perpetual learning machine, you will never be out of options for how to make money. You can always see what’s coming up in society, what the value is, where the demand is, and you can learn to come up to speed. [74]

Location: 1149

we’re also taught from a young age to finish your books. Books are sacred—when you go to school and you’re assigned to read a book, you have to finish the book. Over time, we forget how to read books. Everyone I know is stuck on some book.

Location: 1158

If the book is getting a little boring, I’ll skip ahead. Sometimes, I start reading a book in the middle because some paragraph caught my eye. I’ll just continue from there, and I feel no obligation whatsoever to finish the book. All of a sudden, books are back into my reading library. That’s great, because there is ancient wisdom in books. [6]

Location: 1169

A calm mind, a fit body, and a house full of love. These things cannot be bought. They must be earned.

Location: 1180

To me, happiness is not about positive thoughts. It’s not about negative thoughts. It’s about the absence of desire, especially the absence of desire for external things. The fewer desires I can have, the more I can accept the current state of things, the less my mind is moving, because the mind really exists in motion toward the future or the past. The more present I am, the happier and more content I will be.

Location: 1212

This is what I mean when I say happiness is a choice. If you believe it’s a choice, you can start working on it. [77]

Location: 1225

Happiness is what’s there when you remove the sense that something is missing in your life.

Location: 1232

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.

Location: 1240

Yeah. But it’s amazing how little it helps. [laughs] You can be a long-time meditator, but if someone says the wrong thing in the wrong way, you go back to your ego-driven self. It’s almost like you’re lifting one-pound weights, but then somebody drops a huge barbell with a stack of plates on your head.

Location: 1242

A rational person can find peace by cultivating indifference to things outside of their control.

Location: 1248

Happiness is a choice you make and a skill you develop.

Location: 1257

Memory and identity are burdens from the past preventing us from living freely in the present. [3]

Location: 1260

At any given time, when you’re walking down the streets, a very small percentage of your brain is focused on the present. The rest is planning the future or regretting the past. This keeps you from having an incredible experience. It’s keeping you from seeing the beauty in everything and for being grateful for where you are. You can literally destroy your happiness if you spend all of your time living in delusions of the future. [4]

Location: 1261

We crave experiences that will make us be present, but the cravings themselves take us from the present moment.

Location: 1265

“Enlightenment is the space between your thoughts.” It means enlightenment isn’t something you achieve after thirty years sitting on a mountaintop. It’s something you can achieve moment to moment, and you can be enlightened to a certain percent every single day. [5]

Location: 1269

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

Location: 1271

How I combat anxiety: I don’t try and fight it, I just notice I’m anxious because of all these thoughts. I try to figure out, “Would I rather be having this thought right now, or would I rather have my peace?” Because as long as I have my thoughts, I can’t have my peace.

Location: 1285

A happy person isn’t someone who’s happy all the time. It’s someone who effortlessly interprets events in such a way that they don’t lose their innate peace.

Location: 1288

I think the most common mistake for humanity is believing you’re going to be made happy because of some external circumstance.

Location: 1291

The mistake over and over and over is to say, “Oh, I’ll be happy when I get that thing,” whatever it is. That is the fundamental mistake we all make, 24/7, all day long. [4]

Location: 1302

The fundamental delusion: There is something out there that will make me happy and fulfilled forever.

Location: 1304

Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.

Location: 1305

I try not to have more than one big desire in my life at any given time, and I also recognize it as the axis of my suffering. I realize the area where I’ve chosen to be unhappy. [5]

Location: 1307

When you’re young, you have time. You have health, but you have no money. When you’re middle-aged, you have money and you have health, but you have no time. When you’re old, you have money and you have time, but you have no health. So the trifecta is trying to get all three at once.

Location: 1313

Happiness is being satisfied with what you have. Success comes from dissatisfaction. Choose.

Location: 1317

Confucius says you have two lives, and the second one begins when you realize you only have one.

Location: 1318

The problem with getting good at a game, especially one with big 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.

Location: 1329

To me, the real winners are the ones who step out of the game entirely, who don’t even play the game, who rise above it. Those are the people who have such internal mental and self-control and self-awareness, they need nothing from anybody else.

Location: 1338

There’s a line from Blaise Pascal I read. Basically, it says: “All of man’s troubles arise because he cannot sit in a room quietly by himself.” If you could just sit for thirty minutes and be happy, you are successful. That is a very powerful place to be, but very few of us get there. [6]

Location: 1344

In reality, peace is not a guarantee. It’s always flowing. It’s always changing. You want to learn the core skill set of flowing with life and accepting it in most cases. [8]

Location: 1350

Peace is happiness at rest, and happiness is peace in motion.

Location: 1354

I’m trying to get rid of is the word “should.” Whenever the word “should” creeps up in your mind, it’s guilt or social programming.

Location: 1359

The enemy of peace of mind is expectations drilled into you by society and other people.

Location: 1361

The reality is life is a single-player game. You’re born alone. You’re going to die alone. All of your interpretations are alone. All your memories are alone. You’re gone in three generations, and nobody cares. Before you showed up, nobody cared. It’s all single player.

Location: 1368

Perhaps one reason why yoga and meditation are hard to sustain is they have no extrinsic value. Purely single-player games.

Location: 1370

All the real scorecards are internal.

Location: 1373

It’s such a poisonous emotion because, at the end of the day, you’re no better off with jealousy.

Location: 1375

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. Do you want to actually be that person with all of their reactions, their desires, their family, their happiness level, their outlook on life, their self-image? 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.

Location: 1377

Once I came to that realization, jealousy faded away because I don’t want to be anybody else. I’m perfectly happy being me. By the way, even that is under my control.

Location: 1381

You can increase your happiness over time, and it starts with believing you can do it.

Location: 1386

When working, surround yourself with people more successful than you. When playing, surround yourself with people happier than you.

Location: 1389

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle,

Location: 1398

How does someone build the skill of happiness?

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You can build good habits.

Location: 1404

Essentially, you have to go through your life replacing your thoughtless bad habits with good ones, making a commitment to be a happier person.

Location: 1408

Many distinctions between people who get happier as they get older and people who don’t can be explained by what habits they have developed. Are they habits that will increase your long-term happiness rather than your short-term happiness? Are you surrounding yourself with people who are generally positive and upbeat people? Are those relationships low-maintenance? Do you admire and respect but not envy them?

Location: 1411

The first rule of handling conflict is: Don’t hang around people who constantly engage in conflict. I’m not interested in anything unsustainable or even hard to sustain, including difficult relationships. [5]

Location: 1418

If you can’t see yourself working with someone for life, don’t work with them for a day.

Location: 1420

The most important trick to being happy is to realize happiness is a skill you develop and a choice you make.

Location: 1428

You decide it’s important to you. You prioritize it above everything else. You read everything on the topic. [7]

Location: 1430

Happiness Habits

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The obvious one is meditation—insight meditation.

Location: 1434

Just being very aware in every moment.

Location: 1435

I try to get more sunlight on my skin.

Location: 1438

Every time you catch yourself desiring something, say, “Is it so important to me I’ll be unhappy unless this goes my way?”

Location: 1439

I think dropping caffeine made me happier. It makes me more of a stable person. [7]

Location: 1441

I think working out every day made me happier. If you have peace of body, it’s easier to have peace of mind. [7]

Location: 1441

The more you judge, the more you separate yourself.

Location: 1442

Tell your friends you’re a happy person. Then, you’ll be forced to conform to it.

Location: 1445

Recover time and happiness by minimizing your use of these three smartphone apps: phone, calendar, and alarm clock. [11]

Location: 1446

The more secrets you have, the less happy you’re going to be. [11]

Location: 1448

Caught in a funk? Use meditation, music, and exercise to reset your mood. Then choose a new path to commit emotional energy for rest of day. [11]

Location: 1448

No exceptions—all screen activities linked to less happiness, all non-screen activities linked to more happiness. [11]

Location: 1451

A personal metric: how much of the day is spent doing things out of obligation rather than out of interest? [11]

Location: 1452

It’s the news’ job to make you anxious and angry. But its underlying scientific, economic, education, and conflict trends are positive. Stay optimistic. [11]

Location: 1453

Increase serotonin in the brain without drugs: Sunlight, exercise, positive thinking, and tryptophan. [11]

Location: 1456

First, you know it. Then, you understand it. Then, you can explain it. Then, you can feel it. Finally, you are it.

Location: 1462

In any situation in life, you always have three choices: you can change it, you can accept it, or you can leave it. If you want to change it, then it is a desire. It will cause you suffering until you successfully change it. So don’t pick too many of those. Pick one big desire in your life at any given time to give yourself purpose and motivation.

Location: 1464

The phrase I probably use the most to myself in my head is just one word: “accept.” [5]

Location: 1472

We don’t always get what we want, but sometimes what is happening is for the best. The sooner you can accept it as a reality, the sooner you can adapt to it.

Location: 1475

One hack is stepping back and looking at previous bits of suffering I’ve had in my life. I write them down. “Last time you broke up with somebody, last time you had a business failure, last time you had a health issue, what happened?” I can trace the growth and improvement that came from it years later.

Location: 1477

I have another hack I use for minor annoyances. When they happen, a part of me will instantly react negatively. But I’ve learned to mentally ask myself, “What is the positive of this situation?”

Location: 1480

How do you learn to accept things you can’t change? Fundamentally, it boils down to one big hack: embracing death.

Location: 1490

Your life is a firefly blink in a night. You’re here for such a brief period of time. If you fully acknowledge the futility of what you’re doing, then I think it can bring great happiness and peace because you realize this is a game. But it’s a fun game. All that matters is you experience your reality as you go through life. Why not interpret it in the most positive possible way?

Location: 1498

You’re going to die one day, and none of this is going to matter. So enjoy yourself. Do something positive. Project some love. Make someone happy. Laugh a little bit. Appreciate the moment. And do your work. [8]

Location: 1508

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.

Location: 1511

I never met my greatest mentor. I wanted so much to be like him. But his message was the opposite: Be yourself, with passionate intensity.

Location: 1519

No one in the world is going to beat you at being you.

Location: 1520

Certainly, listen and absorb, but don’t try to emulate. It’s a fool’s errand.

Location: 1522

Your goal in life is to find the people, business, project, or art that needs you the most. There is something out there just for you.

Location: 1525

To make an original contribution, you have to be irrationally obsessed with something.

Location: 1528

My number one priority in life, above my happiness, above my family, above my work, is my own health. It starts with my physical health. Second, it’s my mental health. Third, it’s my spiritual health. Then, it’s my family’s health. Then, it’s my family’s wellbeing. After that, I can go out and do whatever I need to do with the rest of the world. [4]

Location: 1531

Nothing like a health problem to turn up the contrast dial for the rest of life.

Location: 1533

When everyone is sick, we no longer consider it a disease.

Location: 1549

Most fit and healthy people focus much more on what they eat than how much. Quality control is easier than (and leads to) quantity control. [11]

Location: 1568

Ironically, fasting (from a low-carb/paleo base) is easier than portion control. Once the body detects food, it overrides the brain. [11]

Location: 1569

When it comes to medicine and nutrition, subtract before you add. [11]

Location: 1573

World’s simplest diet: The more processed the food, the less one should consume.

Location: 1575

The harder the workout, the easier the day.

Location: 1576

What habit would you say most positively impacts your life? The daily morning workout.

Location: 1577

“I don’t have time” is just another way of saying “It’s not a priority.”

Location: 1581

What you really have to do is say whether it is a priority or not. If something is your number one priority, then you will do it. That’s just the way life works.

Location: 1581

What I did was decide my number one priority in life, above my happiness, above my family, above my work, is my own health. It starts with my physical health. [4]

Location: 1583

One month of consistent yoga and I feel 10 years younger. To stay flexible is to stay young.

Location: 1589

The important thing is to do something every day. It doesn’t matter what it is. The best workout for you is one you’re excited enough to do every day. [4]

Location: 1592

“Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.”

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Basically, if you are making the hard choices right now in what to eat, you’re not eating all the junk food you want, and making the hard choice to work out. So, your life long-term will be easy.

Location: 1600

If you make the easy choices right now, your overall life will be a lot harder. [4]

Location: 1603

Your breath is one of the few places where your autonomic nervous system meets your voluntary nervous system. It’s involuntary, but you can also control it.

Location: 1607

Relaxed breathing tells your body you’re safe.

Location: 1612

I highly recommend listening to the Tim Ferriss’s podcast with Wim Hof.

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most of our suffering comes from avoidance.

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Meditation is intermittent fasting for the mind. Too much sugar leads to a heavy body, and too many distractions lead to a heavy mind. Time spent undistracted and alone, in self-examination, journaling, meditation, resolves the unresolved and takes us from mentally fat to fit.

Location: 1631

I’ve identified and tried at least four different forms of meditation. The one I found works best for me is called Choiceless Awareness, or Nonjudgmental Awareness. As you’re going about your daily business (hopefully, there’s some nature) and you’re not talking to anybody else, you practice learning to accept the moment you’re in without making judgments.

Location: 1637

What I find is 90 percent of thoughts I have are fear-based. The other 10 percent may be desire-based.

Location: 1643

As you watch your thoughts, you realize how many of them are fear-based. The moment you recognize a fear, without even trying it goes away. After a while, your mind quiets.

Location: 1648

It pops us out of the story we’re constantly telling ourselves. If you stop talking to yourself for even ten minutes, if you stop obsessing over your own story, you’ll realize we are really far up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and life is pretty good. [6]

Location: 1652

Life-hack: When in bed, meditate. Either you will have a deep meditation or fall asleep. Victory either way.

Location: 1655

Another method I’ve learned is to just sit there and you close your eyes for at least one hour a day. You surrender to whatever happens—don’t make any effort whatsoever. You make no effort for something, and you make no effort against anything. If there are thoughts running through your mind, you let the thoughts run.

Location: 1656

Over time, you will resolve a lot of these deep-seated unresolved things you have in your mind. Once they’re resolved, there will come a day when you sit down to meditate, and you’ll hit a mental “inbox zero.”

Location: 1667

The attraction of drugs is spiritual.

Location: 1684

People chasing thrills in action sports or flow states or orgasms—any of these states people strive for are people trying to get out of their own heads. They’re trying to get away from the voice in their heads—the overdeveloped sense of self.

Location: 1685

The first thing to realize is you can observe your mental state. Meditation doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to gain the superpower to control your internal state. The advantage of meditation is recognizing just how out of control your mind is.

Location: 1689

You have to see this mad creature in operation before you feel a certain distaste toward it and start separating yourself from it. In that separation is liberation.

Location: 1693

“Oh, I don’t want to be that person. Why am I so out of control?” Awareness alone calms you down. [4]

Location: 1694

Insight meditation lets you run your brain in debug mode until you realize you’re just a subroutine in a larger program.

Location: 1695

Then the next moment, I’m off to thinking something else. I have to look at my brain again and say, “Do I really need to solve this problem right now?”

Probably the most important thing I've realized over the past 6 years - always asking myself is this a problem i need to solve right now?

Location: 1705

Ninety-five percent of what my brain runs off and tries to do, I don’t need to tackle in that exact moment. If the brain is like a muscle, I’ll be better off resting it, being at peace. When a particular problem arises, I’ll immerse myself in it.

Location: 1706

The ability to singularly focus is related to the ability to lose yourself and be present, happy, and (ironically) more effective. [4]

Location: 1710

serves incredible purpose, but I try not to activate the monkey mind until I need it. When I need it, I want to just focus on that. If I run it 24/7, I waste energy and the monkey mind becomes me. I am more than my monkey mind.

Location: 1717

We don’t live enough in our awareness. We live too much in this internal monologue in our heads. All of which is just programmed into you by society and by the environment when you were younger.

Location: 1721

Meditation is turning off society and listening to yourself. 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.

Location: 1733

The greatest superpower is the ability to change yourself.

Location: 1738

Life is going to play out the way it’s going to play out. There will be some good and some bad. Most of it is actually just up to your interpretation. You’re born, you have a set of sensory experiences, and then you die. How you choose to interpret those experiences is up to you,

Location: 1744

I’m trying to learn from that and do the same things I think are the right things to do but without anger and with a very long-term point of view.

Location: 1752

To have peace of mind, you have to have peace of body first.

Location: 1761

I started realizing it’s all about habits. At any given time, I’m either trying to pick up a good habit or discard a previous bad habit. It takes time.

Location: 1762

Commit externally to enough people. For example, if you want to quit smoking, all you have to do is go to everybody you know and say, “I quit smoking. I did it. I give you my word.”

Location: 1773

It’s important to be honest with yourself and say, “Okay, I’m not ready to give up smoking. I like it too much, it is going to be too hard for me to give up.”

Location: 1776

When you really want to change, you just change. But most of us don’t really want to change—we don’t want to go through the pain just yet. At least recognize it, be aware of it, and give yourself a smaller change you can actually carry out. [6]

Location: 1779

Impatience with actions, patience with results.

Location: 1782

As Nivi said, inspiration is perishable. When you have inspiration, act on it right then and there. [78]

Location: 1788

“Set up systems, not goals.”

Location: 1791

The current environment programs the brain, but the clever brain can choose its upcoming environment.

Location: 1792

I just want to be the most successful version of myself while working the least hard possible.

Location: 1794

If there’s something you want to do later, do it now. There is no “later.”

Location: 1799

The returns in life are being out of the herd.

Location: 1816

Grind and sweat, toil and bleed, face the abyss. It’s all part of becoming an overnight success.

Location: 1827

If you had to pass down to your kids one or two principles, what would they be? Number one: read. Read everything you can. And not just the stuff that society tells you is good or even books that I tell you to read. Just read for its own sake. Develop a love for it.

Location: 1828

Related to the skill of reading are the skills of mathematics and persuasion. Both skills help you to navigate through the real world.

Location: 1832

Having the skill of persuasion is important because if you can influence your fellow human beings, you can get a lot done. I think persuasion is an actual skill. So you can learn it, and it’s not that hard to do so.

Location: 1833

The hardest thing is not doing what you want—it’s knowing what you want.

Location: 1841

Advice to my younger self: “Be exactly who you are.” Holding back means staying in bad relationships and bad jobs for years instead of minutes.

Location: 1849

Courage isn’t charging into a machine gun nest. Courage is not caring what other people think.

Location: 1856

Value your time. It is all you have. It’s more important than your money. It’s more important than your friends. It is more important than anything. Your time is all you have. Do not waste your time.

Location: 1859

Don’t spend your time making other people happy. Other people being happy is their problem. It’s not your problem. If you are happy, it makes other people happy. If you’re happy, other people will ask you how you became happy and they might learn from it, but you are not responsible for making other people happy. [10]

Location: 1863

Observe when you’re angry—anger is a loss of control over the situation. Anger is a contract you make with yourself to be in physical and mental and emotional turmoil until reality changes. [1]

Location: 1867

People who live far below their means enjoy a freedom that people busy upgrading their lifestyles can’t fathom. [11]

Location: 1870

A taste of freedom can make you unemployable.

Location: 1873

To me, the mind should be a servant and a tool, not a master. My monkey mind should not control and drive me 24/7.

Location: 1882

I think just being aware you’re a rat in a race is about as far as most of us are going to get. [8]

Location: 1888

The modern struggle: Lone individuals summoning inhuman willpower, fasting, meditating, and exercising… Up against armies of scientists and statisticians weaponizing abundant food, screens, and medicine into junk food, clickbait news, infinite porn, endless games, and addictive drugs.

Location: 1890

A really unbounded, big question: what is the meaning and purpose of life?

Location: 1897

Answer 1: It’s personal. You have to find your own meaning. Any piece of wisdom anybody else gives you, whether it’s Buddha or me, is going to sound like nonsense. Fundamentally, you have to find it for yourself, so the important part is not the answer, it’s the question. You just have to sit there and dig with the question. It might take you years or decades. When you find an answer you’re happy with, it will be fundamental to your life.

Location: 1898

Answer 2: There is no meaning to life. There is no purpose to life. Osho said, “It’s like writing on water or building houses of sand.” The reality is you’ve been dead for the history of the Universe, 10 billion years or more. You will be dead for the next 70 billion years or so, until the heat death of the Universe.

Location: 1902

I think after this life, it’s very much like before you were born. Remember that? It’s going to be just like that.

Location: 1916


Location: 1924

The more complex system you create, whether it’s through computers, civilization, art, mathematics, or creating a family—you actually accelerate the heat death of the Universe. You’re pushing us towards this point where we end up as one thing. [4]

Location: 1927

Honesty is a core, core, core value. By honesty, I mean I want to be able to just be me. I never want to be in an environment or around people where I have to watch what I say.

Location: 1931

Anyone around whom I can’t be fully honest, I don’t want to be around.

Location: 1934

Another example of a foundational value: I don’t believe in any short-term thinking or dealing. If I’m doing business with somebody and they think in a short-term manner with somebody else, then I don’t want to do business with them anymore.

Location: 1936

Another one is I only believe in peer relationships. I don’t believe in hierarchical relationships. I don’t want to be above anybody, and I don’t want to be below anybody. If I can’t treat someone like a peer and if they can’t treat me like peer, I just don’t want to interact with them.

Location: 1940

[4] I think everybody has values. Much of finding great relationships, great coworkers, great lovers, wives, husbands, is finding other people where your values line up. If your values line up, the little things don’t matter. Generally, I find if people are fighting or quarreling about something, it’s because their values don’t line up. If their values lined up, the little things wouldn’t matter. [4]

Location: 1947

As investor Charlie Munger says, “To find a worthy mate, be worthy of a worthy mate.” [4]

Location: 1952

The older the question, the older the answers.

Location: 1958

If I can’t verify it on my own or if I cannot get there through science, then it may be true, it may be false, but it’s not falsifiable, so I cannot view it as a fundamental truth.

Location: 1966

Try everything, test it for yourself, be skeptical, keep what’s useful, and discard what’s not.

Location: 1972

I would say my philosophy falls down to this—on one pole is evolution as a binding principle because it explains so much about humans, on the other is Buddhism, which is the oldest, most time-tested spiritual philosophy regarding the internal state of each of us.

Location: 1973

How do you define wisdom? Understanding the long-term consequences of your actions. [11]

Location: 1979

If wisdom could be imparted through words alone, we’d all be done here.

Location: 1981

There is actually nothing but this moment. No one has ever gone back in time, and no one has ever been able to successfully predict the future in any way that matters. Literally, the only thing that exists is this exact point where you are in space at the exact time you happen to be here.

Location: 1983

The truth is, I don’t read for self-improvement. I read out of curiosity and interest. The best book is the one you’ll devour.

Location: 2000

Read enough, and you become a connoisseur. Then you naturally gravitate more toward theory, concepts, nonfiction.

Location: 2005

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe

Location: 2035

The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age by James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg

Location: 2049

Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger by Charlie Munger (edited by Peter Kaufman)

Location: 2052

The Book of Life by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Location: 2071

I’m pretty much always rereading something by either Krishnamurti or Osho. Those are my favorite philosophers. [4]

Location: 2082

The Book of Secrets: 112 Meditations to Discover the Mystery Within by Osho

Location: 2084

The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master My most listened-to audiobook. The most important audiobook I’ve ever heard.

Location: 2101

How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

Location: 2103

Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee’s Wisdom for Daily Living by Bruce Lee

Location: 2108

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Location: 2111

Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges

Location: 2120

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

Location: 2124

I always spent money on books. I never viewed that as an expense. That’s an investment to me. [4]

Location: 2158

“The Day You Became a Better Writer” by Scott Adams Even though I am a very good writer and I’ve been writing a lot since I was young, I still open up that blog post and put it in the background anytime I’m writing anything important. It’s that good.

Location: 2169

Anger is a hot coal you hold in your hand while waiting to throw it at someone else. (Buddha)

Location: 2218

Health, love, and your mission, in that order. Nothing else matters.

Location: 2228