Navalmanack - Book highlights

Pulkit Yadav

Pulkit Yadav

Jan 24, 2022

Naval Ravikant is a successful entrepreneur and investor based in Silicon Valley. I like following him because he reads a lot and shares interesting insights on philosophy, technology, investing and philosophy. Navalmanack is already a pretty short book, and in this post I'm putting down the key ideas that I took away from it.

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


Building Wealth

Understand How Wealth Is Created

  • Money vs Wealth: Money is how we transfer wealth. Money is social credits. It is the ability to have credits and debits of other people’s time. Wealth is businesses and assets that can earn while you sleep. You'll never get rich by renting out your time for someone else.
  • Everybody who really makes money at some point owns a piece of a product, a business, or some IP. Usually, the real wealth is created by starting your own companies or even by investing. Without ownership, your inputs are very closely tied to your outputs and you'll never get disproportionate returns.
  • Status is a zero-sum game, Wealth is a positive-sum game. Both ideas are counter-intuitive to us, because pre-agriculture, we evolved by playing zero-sum status games and being pessimistic.
  • You have to put yourself in the position with the specific knowledge, with accountability, with leverage, with the authentic skill set you have, to be the best in the world at what you do.
  • You must be a rational optimist to build wealth.

Find and Build Specific Knowledge

  • Figure out what you were doing as a kid or teenager almost effortlessly. Something you didn't even consider a skill, but people around you noticed.
  • Escape competition through authenticity - no one can compete with you on being you.

Find the thing you know how to do better than anybody. Nobody can compete with you because you love it. Remain authentic and figure out how to map that to what society actually wants. 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.

  • You have to become an artist in your space. Art is creativity. Art is anything done for its own sake. "I create businesses because it's fun, because I'm into the product. I'm always working. It feels like work to others, but it feels like play to me."
  • The winners of any game are the people who are so addicted they continue playing even as the marginal utility from winning declines.
  • “To make an original contribution, you have to be irrationally obsessed with something.”
  • “Figure out what you’re good at, and start helping other people with it. Give it away. Pay it forward.
  • “If you don’t know yet what you should work on, the most important thing is to figure it out. You should not grind at a lot of hard work until you figure out what you should be working on.”

Get Paid for Your Judgment

  • “Judgment—especially demonstrated judgment, with high accountability and a clear track record—is critical.”
  • Leverage magnifies the differences in judgment and competitive advantage even more. Being at the extreme in your art is very important in the age of leverage.

Find a Position of Leverage

  • “We live in an age of infinite leverage, and the economic rewards for genuine intellectual curiosity have never been higher.”
  • “You have to figure out how to scale it because if you only build one, that’s not enough. You’ve got to build thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or millions, or billions of them so everybody can have one.”
  • “To get rich, you need leverage. Leverage comes in labor, comes in capital, or it can come through code or media“
  • Code and Media are the newest form of leverage - they allow us to create ‘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.”
  • “Technology democratizes consumption but consolidates production. The best person in the world at anything gets to do it for everyone.“
  • You're waiting for the moment when the world wants something, and you have it. In the meantime:
    Build your brand on social platforms (Twitter, Youtube) and by giving away free work. That way, you make a name for yourself and take some risk while doing it. When the time comes, you'll be able to move with leverage.
  • By having leverage you get outputs disproportionate to your inputs.
  • But when you have leverage, your judgment is far more important than how hard you work. You have to work on the right things.
  • Avoid the risk of ruin. Watch your health. Never gamble everything on one go. Take rationally optimistic bets with big upsides.

Take on Accountability

“Embrace accountability and take business risks under your own name. Society will reward you with responsibility, equity, and leverage.“

  • "It's hard to fail in your own name. But realize that the downside risk is not that large anymore. Personal bankruptcy can be overcome. Failures can be forgiven — especially if you were honest and made a high-integrity effort."
  • Productize Yourself: “If you’re looking toward the long-term goal of getting wealthy, you should ask yourself, ‘Is this authentic to me? Is it myself that I am projecting?’ And then, ‘Am I productizing it? Am I scaling it? Am I scaling with labor or with capital or with code or with media?'”

Product-Market-Founder Fit

  • “If you want to be wealthy, you want to figure out which one of those things you can provide for society that it does not yet know how to get but it will want and providing it is natural to you, within your skill set, and within your capabilities. Deliver it, and deliver it at scale. That's the problem you'll have to solve to make money.
  • "Following your genuine intellectual curiosity is a better foundation for a career than following whatever is making money right now."
  • "If your curiosity ever leads you to place where society eventually wants to go, you'll be paid extremely well."

Prioritize and Focus

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

  • “Health, love, and your mission, in that order. Nothing else matters.”
  • “One of the things 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. Doing something because you ‘should’ basically means you don’t actually want to do it. It’s just making you miserable, so I’m trying to eliminate as many ‘shoulds’ from my life as possible.”
  • “Inspiration is perishable—act on it immediately.”
  • "What you want in life is to be in control of your time. You want to get into a leveraged job where you control your own time and you’re tracked on the outputs.”
  • “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.“
  • Naval recommends setting an hourly rate that you aspire to. Weigh everything against it. Does it make sense to do X, rather than just paying someone to do it for me? If it doesn't make sense to do it yourself, either outsource it or don't do it. If your time is worth more than the cost/value of the task, outsource or leave it. This rate should seem and feel absurdly high. If it doesn't, it's not high enough. Even when you have selected a high rate, raise it even further.

Play Long-Term Games with Long-Term People

All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.
Use the power of compounding by iterating repeatedly over a long time (this idea is also echoed in Peter Thiel's Zero to One).

  • “When you find the right thing to do, when you find the right people to work with, invest deeply. Sticking with it for decades is really how you make the big returns in your relationships and in your money.”
  • “What you’re trying to do is find the thing you can go all-in on to earn compound interest.”
  • “Intentions don’t matter. Actions do. That’s why being ethical is hard.”


  • “Learn to sell, learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.”
  • "The most important skill for getting rich is becoming a perpetual learner. Figure out how to learn anything you want to learn. Things change fast now — so you have to be able to learn quickly. It's much more important today to be able to become an expert in a brand-new field in nine to twelve months than to have studied the 'right' thing a long time ago."
  • Foundations are important. For example, arithmetic and numeracy are much more important in life than doing calculus.
  • "It's much better to be at 9/10 or 10/10 on foundations than to try and get super deep into things. You do need to be in deep in something because otherwise you'll be a mile wide and an inch deep and you won't get what you want out of life."
  • Become the best at what you do. Refine what you do until this is true. Opportunity will seek you out. Luck becomes your destiny. Maintain a trusted, reliable, high-integrity, long-term-thinking character and reputation and treat it sacrosanct.

Building Judgment


Hard work is overrated. Judgment is underrated.

  • "If you want to make the maximum amount of money possible, if you want to get rich over your life in a deterministically predictable way, stay on the bleeding edge of trends and study technology, design, and art — become really good at something."
  • Without hard work, you'll develop neither judgment nor leverage.
  • So you have to put in the time. But judgment is more important. The direction you're heading is more important than how fast you're moving (especially with leverage).

How to Think Clearly

"Clear thinker" is a better compliment than "smart".

  • “The really smart thinkers are clear thinkers. They understand the basics at a very, very fundamental level.”
  • It's better to understand the basics at a very fundamental level than to memorize complicated concepts than you can't rederive from the basics. If you can't rederive, you're memorizing.

Shed Your Identity to See Reality

"If all your beliefs line up into neat little bundles, you should be highly suspicious."

  • Part of making effective decisions boils down to dealing with reality. How do you make sure you're dealing with reality when you're making decisions?
  • We have some preconceived notions of the way things should be. That clouds us from being able to see reality as it is.
  • You have to get your ego out of the way. Because it doesn't want to face the truth. The less ego you have, the smaller your desire for some outcome is — the easier it'll be to face reality.
  • “The moment of suffering — when you’re in pain — is a moment of truth. It is a moment where you’re forced to embrace reality the way it actually is. Then, you can make meaningful change and progress. You can only make progress when you’re starting with the truth.“
  • “I try not to have too much I’ve pre-decided. I think creating identities and labels locks you in and keeps you from seeing the truth.”
  • “There are two attractive lessons about suffering in the long term. It can make you accept the world the way it is. The other lesson is it can make your ego change in an extremely hard way.”
  • “The world just reflects your own feelings back at you. Reality is neutral. Reality has no judgments. To a tree, there is no concept of right or wrong, good or bad. You’re born, you have a whole set of sensory experiences and stimulations (lights, colors, and sounds), and then you die. How you choose to interpret them is up to you—you have that choice.”
  • A good solution is to be open about the situation to others, from which you might otherwise try to hide it.
  • It's important to have free space in your calendar where you aren't always busy. That's when you'll have the great ideas — not when you're running around from meeting to meeting or task to task.
  • Very smart people tend to be weird since they insist on thinking everything through for themselves.
  • Be an optimistic contrarian. Think things through for yourself. Don't just go against the grain for the sake of it. Question assumptions, standards, patterns, and routines.

Learn the Skills of Decision-Making

  • "The classical virtues are all decision-making heuristics to make one optimize for the long term rather than for the short term." (Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, and Justice)

Collect Mental Models

  • "A lousy way to do memory prediction is 'X happened in the past, therefore X will happen in the future'. It's too based on specific circumstances. What you want is principles. You want mental models."
  • “The best mental models I have found came through evolution, game theory, Charlie Munger, Nassim Taleb and Benjamin Franklin.”
  • “Mental models are really just compact ways for you to recall your own knowledge.”

A lot of modern society can be explained through evolution.


"It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent." — Charlie Munger

  • It's a good idea to look at the opposite. So instead of thinking "what will work?", try thinking "what won't work?".
  • "Being successful is just about not making mistakes."
  • "It's not about having correct judgment. It's about avoiding incorrect judgments."
Complexity Theory

Complexity theory is the study of complexity and complex systems.

And complexity details the behavior of a system that interacts in many ways and follows local rules, which means that there are no overall guidelines for the interactions. This makes the system difficult to understand.

A complex system is usually 'greater than the sum of its parts'. So the overall system has properties that the individual part does not.


"Microeconomics and game theory are fundamental. I don't think you can be successful in business or even navigate most of our modern capitalist society without an extremely good understanding of supply-and-demand, labor-versus-capital, game theory, and those kinds of things."

Principal-agent problem

"To me, the principal-agent problem is the single most fundamental problem in microeconomics. If you do not understand the principal-agent problem, you will not know how to navigate your way through the world. It is important to build a successful company or be successful in your dealings."

Naval explains it using a Julius Caesar quote; "If you want it done, then go. And if not, then send." Which just means that if you want something done right, do it yourself.

"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."

For example, in a smaller company, people will feel more like a principal. And that's exactly what you want. Because people will do a better job if they feel less like an agent.

A good way to make someone feel more like a principal is to tie their compensation closely to the exact value they're creating. When you own a business, obviously you'd want to succeed. So you do your best. That's what you want to inspire in your agents. Make them think; "the better I do, the more I get out!"

Compound interest

Most probably already know about this. But only in a financial context. Realize that it can be taken advantage of in other contexts, too.

Basic math

This is really underrated. You don't necessarily need to learn all the complicated subjects. But know the basics well.

Mostly, you'll want arithmetic, probability, and statistics.

Black Swans

"There's a new branch of probability statistics, which is really around tail events. Black swans are extreme probabilities."

So you might want to read The Black Swan by Taleb.


It's useful to know. It lets you understand the rates of change and how nature works.

What's important to learn is not how to solve integrals, but to learn the principles of calculus — measuring the change in small discrete or small continuous events.

This is the case for most mental models; you don't actually have to be able to solve equations based on the model. You just have to understand the principles behind the model, such that you can apply it in other contexts than its original field.


"If it doesn't make falsifiable predictions, it's not science. For you to believe something is true, it should have predictive power, and it must be falsifiable."

If you can't decide, the answer is no
Run uphill

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

One leads to pain now, and the other leads to pain in the future. Our brains are wired to avoid pain now, so it'll want to push that away.

If a path has short-term pain, it probably has long-term gain. And that's exactly what you want — because of compound interest.

A pretty simple example is working out. Sure, it is a pain now. It hurts and is hard to get into. But the long term benefits are immense. The same goes for reading a book — or learning anything, in general.

In short: lean into things with short-term pain, but long-term gain.

Learn to Love to Read

“Read what you love until you love to read.”

  • Reading a lot is the most effective way to build new mental models.
  • There's so much information and knowledge out there right now. "The means of learning are abundant - it's the desire to learn that is scarce."
  • "The genuine love for reading itself, when cultivated, is a super-power."
  • “When it comes to reading, make sure your foundation is very, very high quality.”
  • “Reading science, math, and philosophy one hour per day will likely put you at the upper echelon of human success within seven years.”
  • “Read the greats in math, science, and philosophy. Ignore your contemporaries and news. Avoid tribal identification. Put truth above social approval.”
  • “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.”
  • 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.
  • If they wrote it to make money, don't read it.
  • Explain what you've learned to someone else. "Teaching forces learning."
  • Study logic and math, because once you've mastered them, you won't fear any book.
  • Both hard sciences and microeconomics are solid foundations. But when you start going outside of these, you're in trouble, because you don't know what is true and what's false.
  • "Don't read the current interpretation someone is feeding you about how things should be done and run."
  • Once you've got your fundamentals, you can read anything.
  • "Because most people are intimidated by math and can't independently critique it, they overvalue opinions backed with math/pseudoscience."
  • Reading a book isn't a race — the better the book, the more slowly it should be absorbed.
  • We're taught to finish the books that we start. Abandon that belief. Because if you're stuck with a book, you will stop reading. You don't have to finish a book.


Learning Happiness

Don't take yourself so seriously. You're just a monkey with a plan.

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

Happiness is Learned

  • "Happiness is there when you remove the sense of something missing in your life."
  • “The fundamental delusion: There is something out there that will make me happy and fulfilled forever.”
  • “Happiness is internal. That conclusion set me on a path of working more on my internal self and realizing all real success is internal and has very little to do with external circumstances.”
  • “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.“
  • “Happiness to me is mainly not suffering, not desiring, not thinking too much about the future or the past, really embracing the present moment and the reality of what is, and the way it is.”
  • A few things which help -
    • Meditate
    • Lower identity
    • Lower chattering of the mind
    • Don't care about things that don't really matter
    • Don't get involved in politics
    • Don't hang around unhappy people
    • Value your time on this earth
    • Read philosophy
    • Hang around with happy people

Happiness is a Choice

  • “The most important trick to being happy is to realize happiness is a skill you develop and a choice you make. You choose to be happy, and then you work at it.”
  • “You can very slowly but steadily and methodically improve your happiness baseline, just like you can improve your fitness.”
  • “Whatever happiness means to me, it means something different to you. I think it’s very important to explore what these definitions are.” “Today, I believe happiness is really a default state. Happiness is there when you remove the sense of something missing in your life.”
  • “We are highly judgmental survival-and-replication machines. We constantly walk around thinking, ‘I need this,’ or ‘I need that,’ trapped in the web of desires. 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 to plan something.”
  • “In that absence, for a moment, you have internal silence. When you have internal silence, then you are content, and you are happy.“

Happiness Requires Presence

  • "There's a great definition I read: '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."
  • “Everything is perfect exactly the way it is. It is only in our particular minds we are unhappy or not happy, and things are perfect or imperfect because of what we desire.”
  • “Happiness is what’s there when you remove the sense that something is missing in your life.”

Happiness Requires Peace

  • “I think of happiness as an emergent property of peace. If you’re peaceful inside and out, that will eventually result in happiness.”
  • “Peace is happiness at rest, and happiness is peace in motion. You can convert peace into happiness anytime you want. But peace is what you want most of the time. If you’re a peaceful person, anything you do will be a happy activity.“
  • “A rational person can find peace by cultivating indifference to things outside of their control.”
  • “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.”
  • “Struggle or aversion is responsible for most of our misery. The phrase I probably use the most to myself in my head is just one word: ‘accept.’“
  • “It’s to be okay whatever the outcome is. It’s to be balanced and centered. It’s to step back and to see the grander scheme of things.”

Every Desire is a Chosen Unhappiness

  • "Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want."
  • It's not that you should never desire anything. Just be aware that it's what causing your unhappiness.

Success Does Not Earn Happiness

  • You can get almost anything you want out of life, as long as it's one thing and you want it far more than anything else.
  • "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."

Envy is the Enemy of Happiness

  • “All the real scorecards are internal.”
  • “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.”
  • “Training yourself to be happy is completely internal. There is no external progress, no external validation. You’re competing against yourself—it is a single-player game.“
  • “We are such social creatures, we’re externally programmed and driven. We don’t know how to play and win these single-player games anymore. We compete purely in multiplayer games.”
  • Do things for yourself, because you want to do them. Not to conform to society's pressures.

Happiness is Built by Habits

  • When working, surround yourself with people more successful than you. When playing, surround yourself with people happier than you.
  • Build the skill of Happiness by building good habits - eating clean and healthy, and working out. Avoid sugar, alcohol, caffeine, social media and video-games - basically everything which is short-term happiness but long-term pain.
  • More good habits - get sunlight, tell people that you're a happy person (consistency bias), smile more, judge less, and have fewer secrets.
  • "There's the 'five chimps theory' where you can predict a chimp's behavior by the five chimps it hangs out with the most. I think that applies to humans as well. Maybe it's politically incorrect to say you should choose your friends very wisely. But you shouldn't choose them haphazardly based on who you live next to or who you happen to work with. The people who are the most happy and optimistic choose the right five chimps."
  • "The first rule of handling conflict is: Don't hang around people who constantly engage in conflict."
  • If you can't see yourself working with someone for life, don't work with them for a day.
  • "A personal metric: how much of the day is spent doing things out of obligation rather than out of interest?"
  • Play positive-sum games. Avoid zero-sum games (politics, academia, social status).
  • "Increase serotonin in the brain without drugs: Sunlight, exercise, positive thinking, and tryptophan."
  • Meditation, music, and exercise can reset your mood.
  • How to change existing habits:
    • Pick one thing. Cultivate a desire. Visualize it.
    • Plan a sustainable path.
    • Identify needs, triggers, substitutes.
    • Tell your friends.
    • Track meticulously.
    • Self-discipline is a bridge to a new self-image.
    • Bake in the new self-image. It's who you are — now.

Find Happiness in Acceptance

  • "In any situation in life, you always have three choices: you can change it, you can accept it, or you can leave it."
  • Remember that wanting to change it is a desire. It'll cause you suffering until you succeed.
  • Acceptance is being okay whatever the outcome is.
  • Try to find the positive of a situation in which you are annoyed.
  • Embrace death.

Saving Yourself

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.

Choosing to be Yourself

  • When reading books like this, you might read it and think "I need to do this and that and...". But no. You don't need to do anything. Do what you want to do.
  • Stop trying to figure out how to do things the way other people want you to do them. Do them the way you want to.
  • Listen and absorb, but don't try to emulate. It's a fool's errand.
  • Nobody can beat you at being you.
  • Lots of people talk in absolutes and say things like "if you aren't doing X, you aren't doing it right!". I think that one should just absorb whatever information is given, and evaluate it for oneself. You can't just follow someone else's footsteps. What worked for someone else might not work for you.

Choosing to Care for Yourself

Your health, both physical and mental, is the most important thing.

  • "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."
  • Fasting is easier than portion control.
  • "When it comes to medicine and nutrition, subtract before you add."
  • World's simplest diet: The more processed the food, the less one should consume.
  • The harder the workout, the easier the day.
  • "I don't have time" is just another way of saying "It's not a priority."
  • Just do something every day. The best workout is the one you're excited to do every day.
  • "Like everything in life, if you are willing to make the short-term sacrifice, you'll have the long-term benefit."
  • Jerzy Gregorek: "Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life."

Meditation + Mental Strength

“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.“

  • An emotion is our evolved biology predicting the future impact of a current event. In modern settings, it's usually exaggerated or wrong.
  • Meditation is great. Cold showers (and cold exposure) is great.
  • “Meditation is intermittent fasting for the mind.”
  • “Meditation is turning off society and listening to yourself. It only ‘works’ when done for its own sake.”
  • “Insight meditation lets you run your brain in debug mode until you realize you’re just a subroutine in a larger program.”
  • “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. You don’t make any decisions. You don’t judge anything. You just accept everything. If I do that for ten or fifteen minutes while walking around, I end up in a very peaceful, grateful state. Choiceless Awareness works well for me."
  • “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.”
  • Life-hack: When in bed, meditate. Either you will have a deep meditation or fall asleep. Victory either way.
  • Another way is just to sit down and do nothing for an hour. Don't put in any effort whatsoever. You'll start resolving deep-seated unresolved things. And once you reach 'mental inbox zero' on those, that's a great feeling.
  • “The mind itself is a muscle—it can be trained and conditioned. It has been haphazardly conditioned by society to be out of our control. If you look at your mind with awareness and intent (a 24/7 job you’re working at every moment) I think you can unpack your own mind, your emotions, thoughts, and reactions. Then you can start reconfiguring. You can start rewriting this program to what you want.“
  • “The ability to singularly focus is related to the ability to lose yourself and be present, happy, and (ironically) more effective.” “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.”
  • “I also encourage taking at least one day a week (preferably two, because if you budget two, you’ll end up with one) where you just have time to think.”
  • “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.”

Choosing to Build Yourself

“Impatience with actions, patience with results.”

  • The greatest superpower is the ability to change yourself.
  • "The mind is just as malleable as the body. We spend so much time and effort trying to change the external world, other people, and our own bodies — all while accepting ourselves the way we were programmed in our youths."
  • To have peace of mind, you have to have peace of body first.
  • Try to always be picking up a new good habit, and unlearning an old, bad habit.

Choosing to Grow Yourself

"Set up systems, not goals."

  • "Use your judgment to figure out what kinds of environments you can thrive in, and then create an environment around you so you're statistically likely to succeed."
  • The current environment programs the brain, but the clever brain can choose its upcoming environment.
  • If there's something you want to do later, do it now. There is no "later."

Choosing to Free Yourself

Courage is not caring what other people think.

  • The hardest thing is not doing what you want — it's knowing what you want.
  • "Be aware there are no 'adults'. Everyone makes it up as they go along. You have to find your own path, picking, choosing, and discarding as you see fit. Figure it out yourself, and do it."
  • "Don't spend your time making other people happy."
  • "To me, the mind should be a servant and a tool, not a master." Free yourself from uncontrolled thinking.


The Meanings of Life

“You’re meant to do something. You’re not just meant to lie there in the sand and meditate all day long. You should self-actualize. You should do what you are meant to do.“

  • "You have to do hard things anyway to create your own meaning in life. Making money is a fine thing to choose. Go struggle. It's really hard, but the tools are all available."

Live by Your Values

Naval's core values:

  • Honesty
  • He doesn't believe in any short-term thinking or dealing.
  • Only believes in peer relationships. Not hierarchical relationships. Doesn't want to be above nor below anyone.
  • Doesn't believe in anger.

Rational Buddhism

“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.”

  • Rational Buddhism, to me, means understanding the internal work Buddhism espouses to make yourself happier, better off, more present and in control of your emotions—being a better human being.”
  • “Try everything, test it for yourself, be skeptical, keep what’s useful, and discard what’s not.”

The Present is All We Have

  • There is nothing but this moment. You can't go back in time. You can't predict the future.

"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."

The returns in life do not come from fitting in with the herd. The returns in life are being out of the herd.

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Pulkit Yadav

Pulkit Yadav