Book Review: The Almanack

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness by Eric Jorgenson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness - Kindle  edition by Jorgenson, Eric, Butcher, Jack, Ferriss, Tim. Religion &  Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

I don’t know what to make of this book 😦 I don’t even know whether I am supposed to be entertained or educated. Maybe both. Is this supposed to be a business book or a philosophy book? I am confused. Meant to be both? For most parts it feels like reading a personal diary that didn’t go through much editing.

It has snippets of good information. He talks about it being easier to walk straight into cold shower than planning to mitigate feeling cold. Another thing he drills into you is the cost of being ambitious or successful. As long as we are in a rat race, the best we can aspire to do is be a rat who is able to look up at the sky and appreciate the clouds once in a while. He does a good job in explaining why working for someone is a bad idea and leaves you no room to create any significant wealth. The author is a seasoned tech entrepreneur and his insights around starting a business, wealth creation are very insightful and fun to read.

The single biggest takeaway in the book is his emphasis on why it is important to be grounded and thorough with “first principles” of economics, science and maths. This makes perfect sense in my experience. Instead of being level 300 in calculus, what will really help in the real world is knowing arithmetic inside out. Instead of reading 100 books on economics, it makes sense to read Adam Smith 3 times.

But the author strays quite a lot. There is plenty of BS and gross oversimplifications. The moment he steps into the realm of “happiness” or “life”, his writing falls apart. I need to recall the author is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and I am not reading Werner Erhard or Osho. It is designed to be discontinuous with plenty of “twitter” quotes, many of which are abrupt and out of context. There are some interesting thoughts. Read it at your own peril.

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