The Tim Ferriss Show: Naval Ravikant Interview (#97)

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ABOUT NAVAL RAVIKANT

Naval Ravikant (@naval) is an Indian-American Entrepreneur and Investor. He is the co-founder and CEO of AngelList, a platform for Startups, Angel Investors, and Job Seekers looking for jobs in Startups. He previously co-founded Epinions.com (which went public as part of Shopping.com) and Vast.com.

Naval is an active Angel Investor and has invested in over 100 companies including Twitter, Uber, Stack Overflow, 9GAG, Thumbtack, and Udemy.

Naval was the guest on The Tim Ferriss Show Episode 97 where he discussed his early life, investing, books, and other topics.

Here are our takeaways from the conversation.

NAVAL RAVIKANT QUOTES FROM THE EPISODE

  • “Any day in which I solve the same problem twice in a row, I’m pretty unhappy.”
  • “I’d like to do something different everyday. I think all humans are meant to do that kind of thing.”
  • “The idea that we repeat ourselves and we specialize and pigeonhole ourselves is a modern invention created through the specialization of labour in the Industrial Revolution”
  • “A lot of happiness is just being present”
  • “To live in the present moment is the highest calling. It is the source of all happiness.”
  • “I think at the end of the day we are all founders. We are all meant to work for ourselves. We are meant to be individuals. We are not meant to follow. We are not meant to be in hierarchies. We are not meant out to go on a 9 to 5 job where we’re told what to do over and over. And the sooner we get off the grid and self actualize and become free, the better off all of humanity is.”
  • “My favourite founders are actually the ones I learn from”
  • “The hardest thing in this business (investing) is that great new companies always look really strange. They don’t look very much like the previous companies. You can get very easily trapped into believing that there is a certain way of doing things and then you find huge exceptions down the road which will cost you dearly.”
  • “As an investor, if you have a failed investment in one space the worst thing you can do is write off that space and not make an investment again.”
  • “There are lots and lots of Venture Capitalists who miss out on the great companies because they are looking for the perfect deal and there is no such thing.”
  • “The older the problem, the older the solution.”
  • “Guard your time more carefully than you guard your money” (Naval on the mistake to watch out for as an Early Stage Investor)
  • “If you want to be successful, surround yourself with people who are more successful than you are, but if you want to be happy, surround yourself with people who are less successful than you are.”
  • “If you stop talking to yourself/obsessing over your own story for even ten minutes you’ll realize that we’re really far up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and that life is pretty good”
  • “Knowing how little you matter is actually, I would argue, very important for your own mental health and your own happiness.”
  • “We spend most of our waking lives dreaming. We think we are awake but are walking around talking to ourselves.”
  • “If you can learn to like to read, you never need to go to school.”
  • “The great thing about reading is you can use that to pick up any new skill”
  • “Be yourself. Don’t listen to other people. Don’t worry about what other people need or want or think or expect from you.” (Advice Naval would give his Younger Self)
  • “Desire is a contract that you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want”
  • “The reality is you don’t need to find me. We all need to find ourselves.” (Side Quote by Naval on Tim’s question on where people can find Naval on the Internet)

NAVAL RAVIKANT’S CHILDHOOD

  • Naval Ravikant moved from New Delhi in India and landed in Queens in New York when he was 9 years old with his mother and elder brother, Kamal Ravikant
  • As a kid, he spent a lot of his time reading and yearning for the American Dream as he saw it from the other side of the window. He wanted to have a piece of the American Dream.
  • His mother had to work multiple jobs to provide for the family and hence Naval found refuge in books

THINGS THAT NAVAL RAVIKANT LOOKS FOR IN AN ENTREPRENEUR

  1. Intelligence
  2. Energy
  3. Integrity

BOOKS THAT HAVE HELPED NAVAL RAVIKANT FOR INVESTING

  1. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  2. The Book of Life: Daily Meditations with Krishnamurti by Jiddu Krishnamurti
  3. Striking Thoughts by Bruce Lee

BLOGS THAT NAVAL RAVIKANT LOVE READING

  1. Melting Asphalt by Kevin Simler
  2. Scott Adams Blog by Scott Adams

BOOKS MOST GIFTED BY NAVAL RAVIKANT

  1. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
  2. The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley
  3. Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charlie Munger
  4. The Book of Life: Daily Meditations with Krishnamurti by Jiddu Krishnamurti
  5. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  6. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  7. The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

HOW TO LEARN TO LIKE TO READ BY NAVAL RAVIKANT

  1. Don’t feel the need to read anything you don’t like to read (Read what is interesting to you even if it is junk)
  2. Don’t feel the obligation to finish any book

BOOKS TO START WITH FOR NEW READERS BY NAVAL RAVIKANT

BOOKS TO START WITH FOR NEW READERS BY TIM FERRISS

OTHER BOOKS MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE

THE MESSAGE NAVAL RAVIKANT WOULD SEND TO HIMSELF AT ALL TIMES

According to Naval Ravikant, in any situation in life, you have three options

You can either

  1. Change it
  2. Accept it, or
  3. Leave it

NAVAL RAVIKANT’S ASK/REQUEST OF THE PEOPLE LISTENING TO THE EPISODE

What is the one book that had the most influence on you?

OTHER QUOTES FROM THE EPISODE

  • “Enlightenment is the space between your thoughts” – Eckhart Tolle (Spiritual Teacher)
  • “Suffering is that moment when you see reality exactly as it is. When you can no longer run away from it, when you can no longer deny it.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti (Quoted by Naval Ravikant)
  • “When the student is ready, the master appears.” – Buddhist Proverb (Quoted by Naval Ravikant)
  • “Q: How do you find a worthy mate? ‘Be worthy of a worthy mate.'” – Charlie Munger

FOLLOW NAVAL RAVIKANT

Quotes – Naval Ravikant Quotes

Twitter – @naval

Personal Blog – Nav.al

Advice for Startups – VenturesHacks.com

Investment Bio – Angel.co/p/naval

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