Quick Review: The Almanack of Naval Ravikant


The Almanack of Naval Ravikant is a short book, but it is going to be challenging to review concisely due to its high wisdom-to-word ratio. It captivated me with its profound insights and guidance on wealth and happiness. This book brings the famous words of Benjamin Franklin to mind, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

About the Book

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant is a compilation of wisdom and insights from entrepreneur and investor Naval Ravikant. Initially, when I saw this book circulating on social media, I dismissed it as one of those mediocre books that business people compulsively publish to boost their egos. However, I was proven wrong. This book serves as an exceptional compendium of Naval’s thoughts on fundamental principles for happiness, wealth creation, decision-making, and personal growth. It distills everything into practical advice that offers a guide to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

Specific Knowledge and Authenticity

Discovering Specific Knowledge

Naval emphasizes the concept of “specific knowledge,” which refers to our unique capabilities. To identify your specific knowledge, reflect on what you effortlessly did as a child, even if you didn’t consider it a skill. It is the combination of traits that are distinctively yours—what feels like play to you but appears as work to others.

Pursuing Authenticity

Naval highlights the significance of authenticity. By imitating others, you enter into competition with them. However, by being true to yourself, you can escape competition. No one can compete with you in being you. The more you align with your specific knowledge while being yourself, the better positioned you are. If your curiosity (i.e., specific knowledge) leads you to a path desired by society, you will be highly rewarded. Often, you possess skills that society has yet to learn how to train others to acquire. While I haven’t perfected this myself, my work as a video game developer and my involvement with BookLab resonate well with my specific knowledge. Rather than feeling drained, I gain energy from pursuing these activities, giving me a competitive edge.

Video Review: The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

Video Review of The Almanack of Naval Ravikant


Wealth is built on the principle of compounding. Working a job alone will not make you wealthy since your input is directly tied to your output, often trading time for money. To accumulate wealth, it is crucial to own equity in a business and benefit from compound interest. The ability to make money while sleeping, during retirement, and even while on vacation is now more accessible than ever, thanks to the internet and the power of computers.

The Broader Sense of Compounding

Naval extends the concept of compounding beyond interest on capital. He suggests that all returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest. Friendships and learning also follow this principle. Long-term collaborations build trust, facilitating future business opportunities. Similarly, a well-compounded reputation, earned through good judgment, consistent results, and high integrity, holds immense value. Just like Warren Buffet, who makes only one decision per year, his astronomical compensation reflects the compounded reputation he has developed.

Reading and Learning

Naval’s insights on reading and learning resonated with me, as they underscore the importance of choosing the path of difficulty. By tackling challenging tasks head-on, without delaying them, you gain a long-term advantage. This principle extends to your reading choices as well.

Embracing Fundamentals

Naval advocates for learning the fundamentals, seeking underlying truths and principles that govern various domains. Although it can be challenging, most people shy away from this approach, giving you an edge. The greatest leverage comes from reading the books that few are willing to take on. No book should intimidate you. When you have a solid grasp of fundamentals like math, physics, microeconomics, game theory, psychology, persuasion, ethics, and computers, you can adapt easily to societal changes. With a broad and deep understanding of these fundamentals, you can become an expert in any narrow topic within months.

This book inspired me to pick up foundational books that initially intimidated me, such as Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations.”

Book Verdict

The summer has been exceptionally rewarding for me in terms of reading. What began as a slow reading year has transformed into one of my best reading experiences yet. “The Almanack of Naval Ravikant” deserves a place on my list of great books for three main reasons:

  1. It condenses decades of experience and research into a concise and easily re-readable format.
  2. It delves into key aspects of life, including wealth, health, and happiness, offering practical and actionable advice.
  3. It serves as a starting point, recommending further reading that I’m excited to explore.

I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking core principles for decision-making and mental models of the highest caliber. Furthermore, it provides an extensive list of recommended reading, which I intend to delve into. So far, based on Naval’s recommendations, I have read “The Beginning of Infinity.” I have also started reading “The Wealth of Nations” and “Radical Optimist.” Additionally, I’ve ordered a physics book called “6 Easy Pieces” by Richard Feynman. Make sure to check out my review of “The Beginning of Infinity” right after this.

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ out of 5

Find more great books to read on my the Great Books List
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