10 Lessons I Learned From Entrepreneur, Investor And Philosopher Naval Ravikant

Valuable Lessons For Success In Business And Life

Having significant success in any profession takes a lot of time, mastery, and luck. Finding success across multiple professions requires a foundation of good habits, intelligence, a strong work ethic, and a set of tried-and-true principles.

When you find people who’ve found repeat success across professions, you can often learn a lot from them.

Naval Ravikant is one of those people who has found success in multiple arenas. He’s been successful as a technology investor with early investments in Uber, Twitter, Thumbtack, along with half a dozen other companies that are valued at over a billion dollars. He’s also the founder of AngelList, the tremendously popular fundraising and product platform used by thousands of entrepreneurs, job seekers, and product creators.

In addition to his strong business acumen, he’s also been credited as being a modern-day philosopher, sharing insightful details on social media to a follower base of over 930,000 people. I’ve been listening to his content for quite some time, across YouTube and Spotify. 

More recently, I discovered an entire library of some of his best talks. In one long-form discussion recorded late last year, he shared some interesting views on how to find success in business and life.

I’ve extracted 10 big takeaways from this talk that are worth considering and I have included the timestamp that links directly to the spot in the audio recording where he talks in-depth about that specific topic. 

While the name of the episode (‘How to Get Rich’) would be easy to dismiss on the surface level, I can assure you there is much more substance here than you think.

Take a listen, as I’m confident you can walk away with potentially life-changing insights.

  • Seek Wealth, Not Money, or Status (1:30): View wealth as achievable through assets that generate monetary value while you sleep. Avoid chasing money through short-term means that aren’t passive or automated and avoid superficial status signals of wealth. When you create wealth, you are buying yourself freedom. 

  • You Won’t Get Rich Renting Out Your Time (24:00): You must own equity to get true financial value. Assigning a dollar value to each hour of your life will limit your upside. Finding avenues that allow you to earn value non-linearly is key.

  • Arm Yourself With Specific Knowledge (54:34): Seek specific knowledge in areas you care about, which often comes from experiences that can’t necessarily be learned. By possessing skills and ideas that can’t be trained, you will be irreplaceable. Example referenced: A talented salesperson who seeks out the science of psychology and uses the intersection as a driver for success.

  • Take Accountability to Earn Equity (1:25:37): Embrace accountability and take risks under your own name. You’ll be rewarded with leverage (credibility) from society. Examples: Oprah, Trump, Kanye.

  • Judgment Is the Decisive Skill (2:01:15): Leverage is a force-multiplier for your judgment. As you grow in resources and status, your judgment will remain the most important thing because it will compound your upside and downside.

  • Keep Redefining What You Do (2:20:38): Become the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true. It’s about finding an intersection of areas where you can truly be world-class at that thing. Be authentic to yourself and no one will be able to compete with you. 

  • Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes (2:28:17): Overly focusing on competition is a losing proposition. Stay oriented on your own goals. Unless you are in a winner-takes-all business, it can become a big distraction to focus on anything other than your core goals.

  • We Should Eventually Be Working for Ourselves (2:55:33): If you are working for someone, make sure you are constantly learning from the people above you. Because we are now in an environment where you can derive an income from more places than ever, being forced to work in an environment where you aren’t growing is unnecessary.

  • Principal-Agent Problem: Act Like an Owner (3:03:51): The old adage says ‘if you want it done right, do it yourself.’ This is true in business and life because incentives aren’t always organized properly. Employees will rarely do work at the same quality as owners because the incentives don’t encourage them to do so. Creating and implementing strong incentive structures can be one of the more powerful activities that a leader can do. 

  • Turn Short-Term Games Into Long-Term Games (3:13:55): Negotiations are won by those who care less. Find transactions where you can create long-term leverage for yourself. Example: A homeowner and a highly-rated contractor, where the contractor typically doesn’t need the deal as much as the homeowner. One solution is for the homeowner to create a referral-based outcome for the contractor, to drive better outcomes.

Were any of these insightful for you? Let me know what resonated with you the most.