Book Review: The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant – A Guide To Wealth And Happiness by Eric Jorgenson

I have never been one for New year resolutions. But I do believe in creating healthy habits one small step at a time. Reading more books has always been high on my habit list and is the default number 1 resolution at any time of the year for me.

This year I started off well. I completed my first read of 2023 in the first week itself. What helped more was that it made for a wonderful reading.

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant is a curated collection of Naval’s thoughts, insights and experiences put together by Eric Jorgenson.

For those who don’t know who Naval Ravikant is – he is a billionaire entrepreneur, investor and a globally regarded thinker of this generation. After reading the book I believe him to be a fantastic operative philosopher – if that word even exists.

I found this book quite different from most self help and personal development books for quite a few reasons. It really is a guide (as mentioned in the title itself) for the following reasons:

– It presents ideas in a simple concise manner without getting tiringly verbose or unnecessarily philosophical.

– Plenty of practical inputs on money, time, career,relationship and self-management – most relevant aspects of a good life in these times of hyper living.

– Most ideas are presented as actionable resources.

– The sections, sub sections are outlined to encourage using any part of the book at anytime as per your need or interest rather than spending time reading a book from start to end. Although I did read it from start to end coz that is how I like reading my books. 

– Some key ideas are presented as simple illustrations. Works well for visual learners.

My personal favourite bit was the chapter on Happiness. I found alignment with Naval’s wisdom that has so clearly and believably evolved from his own experiences.

It is not some perfunctory philosophy to appear brilliant. Infact at moments his explanation was the closest to what I resonated with and am quite glad to have found the right words to now explain to those around me.

The clarity of his explanations is such that I even read a fewchapters to my 9-year-old son, and he got the concepts easily. (Interesting that Richard Feynman gets mentioned a few times here)

Certain ideas shared in the book, I have read or heard someplace by some other thinker or expert. But the way Naval puts it, he seems to have tested out other alternatives like most of us before arriving at what worked for him. It is so relatable. The desire to give up books that don’t hold your interest, the evolving definition of happiness, the philosophy of investing in long term associations and partnerships, the prioritisation of health, it’s like he was talking me through my personal journey. To quote from this book “The three big one’s in life are wealth, health and happiness. We pursue them in them in that order, but their importance is reverse” – how true is that.

As someone who had a rigid bent toward fiction books, I thinkthis book has got me interested in discovering some more authors and books belonging to this category. There is a reading list recommended by Naval as part of the book and I feel quite inclined to explore them.

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