My Authors
Read all threads
Some of my favorite Naval Ravikant takeaways & quotes from his interviews 👇

"Anger is a hot coal that you hold in your hand while waiting to throw it at somebody else"

"Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want"
There’s a delusion that there’s something out there that will make you happy & fulfilled forever.

Even when you get that thing, you revert to desire

If obtaining things made us permanently happy, then the cavemen would have been miserable, & we would all be deliriously happy
Pick your one overwhelming desire – it’s okay to suffer over that one.

The universe is rigged in such a way that if you just want one thing, and you focus on that, you’ll get it, but everything else you gotta let go.
The first step to increasing the level of happiness in your life is realizing that you can.

Happiness is a skill like nutrition and fitness—it’s a skill that you identify and develop until you get better and better at it and it slowly gives you results.
You may not be able to buy your way to happiness, but you can buy your way out unhappiness

“Every time I meet a prostitute, she wants to talk about God. And every time I meet a priest, he wants to talk about sex”

Whatever it is that you deny yourself will become your new prison
When getting started in your career, try to learn something that people haven’t quite figured out how to teach
Develop an owner/founder mentality

Most people say, “I’m not the founder. I’m not being paid enough to care.”

But you are. The knowledge and skills you gain by developing a founder mentality set you up to be a founder down the line, and it pays you in that sense.
When you’re negotiating with other people, ultimately if someone else is making a decision about how to compensate you, that decision will be based on how replaceable you are

If you have high leverage, that makes you less replaceable (and you’ll likely get more equity)
How to get leverage (or specific knowledge that makes you indispensable?)

Get it permisionlessly – learn to code, create podcasts, become a good writer

Through permission – get people to work for you, or raise capital
Specific Knowledge Can Be Timely or Timeless

Timely: Machine learning

Timeless: Persuasion

Timeless specific knowledge skills usually can’t be taught (but sticks with you forever); timely specific knowledge skills come and go (but still have a fairly long shelf life)
Companies don’t know how to measure outputs, so they measure inputs instead.

Work in a way that your outputs are visible and measurable.

If you don’t have accountability, do something different.

i.e be in a position where ppl can tell what role you had in a company’s success
The entire structure of rewarding people comes from the agricultural and industrial age, where your inputs and outputs matched up very closely.

The amount of hours that you put into doing something was a good/rough proxy for what kind of output you’d get.
Today, things are much more non-linear (and as a result, judgment and accountability matter much more):

A good investment decision can make a company millions

One useful product feature can be the difference between product-market fit and complete failure
Humans have a need to be highly consistent with their past pronouncements.

If you want to  do something – tell people about it because they’ll hold you accountable
Gig economy:

There will come a day when you roll out of bed, you get an alert on your phone with a new gig, you sign up for it, you get paid in crypto, and you do your work in VR.

You work when you want, where you want, how you want, and with whom you want.
The Q is not whether automation is going to eliminate jobs

There is no finite number of jobs

New jobs are being created, + they’re usually better, more creative jobs

The Q is – how quickly will this transition happen, what jobs will be eliminated, & what jobs will be created?
The internet does two things simultaneously: Aggregate & atomize

In other words, before the internet, industries tended to have few large players

But now, we have one internet company in charge that runs everything, and next to that company, there are millions of small players
What does this mean?

We may be heading toward a world in which, if you’re employed, your employer is either one of these gargantuan companies that’s running an entire industry, or you’re self-employed. There won’t be that much in between.
Early employees at a startup often take on the same risk that a founder does without the compensation, control, and visibility.

They should think like founders (or VCs!) in terms of diligencing the cos they're considering joining.
On product:

If something isn’t working, if the community you want isn’t emerging, then you probably need to go back and remove something much more than you need to add something

A lot of the great companies replace complexity with simplicity for the end-user
Capitalism is innate to the human species in every exchange we have

The notion of exchange and keeping track of credits and debits – this is built into us as flexible social animals

Markets are what enable cooperation at scale, across genetic boundaries.
You’re not going to get rich renting out your time. It usually means you're replaceable.

You should own equity to gain your financial freedom.

It's hard to become truly wealthy when your inputs are closely tied to your outputs, b/c when you're sleeping, you're not earning.
Get rich by giving society what it doesn’t yet know how to get – at scale

Society always wants new things & if you want to be wealthy, 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, & that’s natural to you
The internet connects everyone on the planet

This means that you can find an audience for your product no matter how far away they are

At the same time, so can everyone else

This is why you need to escape competition through authenticity. No one can compete w/ you on being you
When you combine things you’re not supposed to combine, ppl get interested

Joe Rogan: Comedian, podcaster, & UFC commentator

Take the things you're natural at & combine them so that you automatically, just through sheer interest & enjoyment, end up at the top in a few things
“We’re coming out of a factory-based industrial world that was built in the 1800s under a one size fits all model for efficiency reasons and we’re heading into a boutique artisanal world where 7 billion people will want 7 billion products”
We descended from pessimists

If 2 ppl were in a forest 10,000 yrs ago, & they hear a tiger – the optimist stays & gets eaten, while the pessimist runs & survives

It made sense to be pessimistic in the past, but it makes sense to be an optimist today. (Safer)

Rewire accordingly
Today, we’re in situations which have capped downside & unlimited upside

If you create the next FB, you can create billions. If you fail, you can often pick up right where you were

This risk equation is the opposite of what we used to have--which is our risk instinct is warped
Specific Knowledge is knowledge that makes you irreplaceable.

You can’t be trained for it, otherwise someone would learn it and replace you.

To gain specific knowledge, quadruple down on the stuff that feels like play to you but looks like work to others
Buffet once went to Benjamin Graham and offered to work for him for free so he could learn about investing

Graham told him – “Actually you’re overpriced. Free is overpriced.”

Apprenticeships are VALUABLE – if specific knowledge can somehow be taught, this is how
“If you care about ethics in wealth creation, it’s better to create your wealth using code and media as leverage. Then those products are equally available to everybody as opposed to trying to create your wealth through labor or capital.”
First aim to get leverage, and once you have leverage – your judgment becomes the most important skill

Judgment is the exercise of wisdom

Wisdom comes from experience

That experience can be accelerated through short iterations
You should be too busy to do coffee while keeping an uncluttered calendar

Spend your time doing only what YOU can uniquely do

I need 4-5 hours of time by myself every day doing NOTHING. Because if I don’t have that time, I won’t be able to do ANYTHING.
On Advice:

Reject most advice, but remember you have to listen to/read enough of it to know what to reject and what to accept. All of it cancels out

When you hear a piece of advice, ask yourself:
▪“Is this true?”
▪“Is it true in my context?”
▪“Do I want to apply it?”
In general, avoid getting into situations where you’re sacrificing today for an imagined tomorrow
Whenever you’re doing anything in business, if you’re looking towards the long-term of getting wealthy, you should ask:

“Is this authentic to me?”

“Is it myself that I’m projecting? Am I productizing it?”

“Am I scaling it w/ labor or w/ capital or w/ code or w/ media?”
The Biggest Illusions of Life

Illusion #1: Meaning: We're all gonna die, what's the meaning?

Illusion #2: Free will: "Free Will" is just our DNA reacting to the environment

Illusion #3: Reality: It's possible we’re living in a simulation
Information overload:

The brain is not designed to absorb all of the world’s breaking news & emergencies, injected straight into the skull with clickbait headlines. If you pay attention to that stuff, even if you have a sound mind & body, it will eventually drive you insane
All our diseases are diseases of abundance, not diseases of scarcity

Pascal has said – “All of man’s problems arise because he can’t sit by himself in a room for 30 minutes alone”
“I’m a primate from a small planet circling a star in the Milky Way galaxy...I was fortunate enough to realize (the American Dream) by becoming a tech entrepreneur and angel investor. And like every person as they get older and wiser, I’m now turning into a pseudo philosopher"
“Education should be free at this point. The idea that you need to pay $250K to sacrifice 4 years of your life so a professor can lecture you in a lecture hall is ABSURD.”

“I think the best teacher in the world will teach everyone in the world about that given topic"
The bigger problem this generation will face is adult education, not child education

Children are learning machines – they just need the tools.

For adults, all the tools are there.

It’s the desire to learn that’s scarce
The smaller the company you work for, the happier you’ll be

Why? – Better relationships, fewer rules, and more creative freedom

More accountability (and it’s more visible)

You’re easily able to try multiple things to see what you’re good at

More flexibility & authenticity
"I don’t care how rich you are. I don’t care whether you’re a top Wall Street banker. If somebody has to tell you when to be at work, what to wear and how to behave, you’re not a free person. You’re not actually rich.”
I don’t have a typical day nor do I want a typical day

I’m trying to get rid of the concept of having to be at a specific place at a specific time

All I care about is am I doing what I want to do, am I being productive, and am I happy
What you do & who you do it with is WAY more important than how hard you work

Work isn’t linear: 8 hours of input does not equate to the same output for every single person

Instead of working 9-5 like a machine, work like a lion: Train hard, sprint, rest, & reassess. Repeat.
Set an aspirational hourly rate for yourself and stick to it

If I have to return something, and it costs less than my personal hourly rate, I’ll throw or give it away”

If you need to do a task, but can hire someone for less than your hourly rate – hire them
I think everybody should have kids. You’re here because an unbroken chain of your ancestors, from tadpoles all the way until now, replicated. Are you going to be the first one to miss that branch? Don’t do it; your genes will hate you
“The problem with UBI is that you’re creating a slippery slide transfer straight into socialism”

The moment people can start voting themselves money, combined with democracy, it’s only a matter of time before the bottom 51% starts voting themselves everything the top 49% has
Universal basic income doesn’t solve the meaning problem

People who are down on their luck aren’t looking for handouts. They need meaning – this comes from education

You have to teach a man to fish, not throw your rotting, leftover carcasses at him saying ‘Here, eat the scraps

Establish a set of basic substance services that people have to have and provide those in abundance to the people who need them (basic housing, basic food, basic transportation, and high-speed internet access)
We’re nowhere near close to General AI. It's hard to model.

1 – We have no idea how the human brain works

2 – We’ve never even modeled a paramecium or amoeba

3 – There’s the assumption that all the computation is happening at the neuron level, but nature is very parsimonious
A few scenarios for how the human/AI relationship could work:

1/ The benevolent dictator scenario: AI wants to help us, knows what's best

2/ The “Earth is just in my way” scenario: self-explanatory

3/ The benign neglect scenario: Treats us like a pile of ants or bacteria
The larger the group of people you have together, the less trust there is and the more cheating takes place – the more you gear towards capitalism

The smaller the group you’re in – then by all means be a socialist

Many socialists only know family life, and thus over extrapolate
Brief Thoughts on Social Media

Humans are always signaling. Rather than really looking at yourself, you’re looking at how other people look at you.

Everybody is getting their 5 seconds of fame & becoming a celebrity…. but celebrities are the most miserable people in the world
Part of what makes entrepreneurship so stressful is you’re never supposed to show weakness (whether to employees, board members, investors, etc.)

But it’s the nature of the tech business that 99/100 startups effectively fail

Social media exacerbates this b/c you're "always on"
When faced with a difficult choice, if you can’t decide, the answer is no

We're biologically built to not realize how many choices there are, b/c we evolved in tribes of ~150 people, where if you pass up one choice, the second one never comes along

Hence why we rush the choice
You may think: “I’m not happy because I’m smart”

This is partially true—you’re unhappy because you know too much, but that doesn’t mean you can’t undo this and retain your intelligence

The more you dig into certain deep truths, the freer and more peaceful you will become.
All the benefits in life come from compound interest; whether in money, relationships, love, health, or habits

I only want to be around people who I know I’m going to be around with for the rest of my life, and I only want to work on things that have good long term payout
No hierarchies

“I don’t want to be above or below anybody”

“If I can’t treat somebody like a peer, and they can’t treat me like a peer, then I just don’t want to interact with that human”
We live in a world that is structured around the preferences of radicals who won’t compromise.

It’s not built around the will of the majority.

The will of the majority does apply in some cases, but in many more cases, it’s the minority rule.
Naval still values freedom, but his definition of it has changed…

What freedom used to mean to him – Freedom to do anything he wanted

What freedom means to him now – Freedom from reaction, freedom from being sad/feeling angry, freedom from being forced to do things
“Life is a single player game. You’re born alone. You’ll die alone. All your interpretations are alone. All your memories are alone. And in three generations, you’ll be gone – no one will care. Before you were born – nobody cared.”
To a tree, there is no right or wrong, no good or bad

In nature – everything is perfect the way it is

It’s only in our particular minds that we’re unhappy or happy

Children get this: they’re immersed into the environment & the moment, without any thought of how it should be
Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh.

Enjoying this thread?

Keep Current with Erik Torenberg

Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!