Made You Think

Made You Think is a podcast by Nat Eliason and Neil Soni where the hosts and their guests examine ideas that, as the name suggests, make you think. Episodes will explore books, essays, podcasts, and anything else that warrants further discussion, teaches something useful, or at the very least, exercises our brain muscles.

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episode 65: Seek Wealth, Not Money or Status. The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson


“My old definition was "freedom to." Freedom to do anything I want. Freedom to do whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like. Now, the freedom I'm looking for is internal freedom. It's “freedom from." Freedom from reaction. Freedom from feeling angry. Freedom from being sad. Freedom from being forced to do things. I'm looking for "freedom from," internally and externally, whereas before I was looking for “freedom to."

On this episode of Made You Think, Nat and Neil discuss The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson, Jack Butcher, and Tim Ferriss. This book contains insights to wealth and happiness according to investor and entrepreneur, Naval Ravikant. From Naval's podcasts and essays to tweets and interviews, his collection of wisdom is put into one piece of writing, sparking great conversations and discussions from Nat and Neil (and tangents of course!)

We cover a wide range of topics including:

  • The relationship between wealth and happiness
  • How Naval frames the idea of mental peace
  • Why tools and technology are essential in leveraging the online space
  • Differences between being a contrarian and a conformist
  • Angel investors vs. early investors

And much more. Please enjoy, and make sure to follow Nat and Neil on Twitter to hear which book will be the topic of the next episode!

Links from the episode

Mentioned in the show

  • Angel List (1:50)
  • Product Hunt (5:27)
  • Social Capital in Silicon Valley (8:08)
  • Honeycomb Credit (10:14)
  • Aurochs Brewing (10:39)
  • Facebook Bitcoin Ads and Scams (12:44)
  • Happiness and Income(17:30)
  • Growth Machine (31:56)
  • The Systems Mindset (34:57)
  • Effortless Output in Roam (38:16)
  • Forte Labs (39:36)
  • Open Innovation Leads (42:41)

Books mentioned

  • The Tower (20:00) (Book Episode)
  • In Praise of Idleness (1:11:10) (Nat’s Book Notes) (Book Episode)
  • Finite and Infinite Games (1:15:08) (Nat's Book Notes) (Book Episode)
  • Denial of Death (1:15:23) (Nat's Book Notes) (Book Episode)
  • Way of Zen (1:15:29) (Nat's Book Notes) (Neil's Book Notes) (Book Episode)
  • Letter From a Stoic (1:15:35)(Nat's Book Notes) (Book Episode)
  • Psychology of Human Misjudgments (1:15:47) (Book Episode)

People mentioned

  • James Altucher (12:44)
  • Dave Chapelle (21:40)

Show notes

0:34 - Today, Nat and Neil are discussing The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson, Jack Butcher, and Tim Ferriss. This book is based off of interviews, podcasts, tweets, and other content from Naval Ravikant, exploring his worldview and how he perceives different ideas such as wealth and happiness.

Additionally, Naval is a well-known investor and former CEO of AngelList. 

5:51 - Angel investors vs. early investors. The reasons why someone may choose to invest early in a growing company, with one of those reasons often being to increase your social capital.

10:15 - Small business crowdfunding. How a brewing company in Pennsylvania leverages their customers and local community.

12:20 - Naval was also into cryptocurrency, and co-founded a cryptocurrency hedge fund with his brother, Kamal. He's what they call a Twitter philosopher, and is able to provide timeless wisdom into small packages that resonates with a lot of people.

16:50 - “Let's get you rich first. I'm very practical about it because, you know, Buddha was a prince. He started off really rich, then he got to go off in the woods.”

Is there a link between increased wealth and happiness?

Wealth first, so you can have the freedom to say ‘no’ to things that don’t make you happy, and from there you can build a happier life.

22:01 - “To me, the real winners are the ones who step out of the game entirely, who don't even play the game, who rise above it. Those are the people who have such internal mental and self-control and self-awareness, they need nothing from anybody else.”

Money and fame. It’s hard to say no to money, and at what point do you say no to something? Examples of public figures who have stepped out of the public eye.

24:59 - Earlier in Naval’s career, he was quick to temper, and it’s been a big goal to get that under control. It can be hard to balance business and mental peace, especially when you’re at the level that Naval is.

28:18 - The idea of “Freedom from” comes back into play here. Having more control of people who you work with and work for, and wealth gives you the power to say ‘no’ to things that make you unhappy or drain your energy. Clearing up mental space.

33:42 - It’s important to use automation and outsource repetitive work to save your resource of time, which ultimately allows you to scale your income.

“Technology democratizes consumption but consolidates production.”

38:07 - Leveraging online tools. The nearly unlimited scalability of an e-product or online course. There’s real value in having an audience of supporters and an email list.

44:05 - “Learn to sell, learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.”

The two go hand-in-hand when you can learn to build things that can sell itself effortlessly while you sleep. The broader definition of ‘sell’ includes marketing, too.

“The year I generated the most wealth for myself was actually the year I worked the least hard and cared the least about the future. I was mostly doing things for the sheer fun of it. I was basically telling people, "I'm retired, I'm not working." Then, I had the time for whatever was my highest valued project in front of me. By doing things for their own sake, I did them at their best.” 

This ties back in with the idea stepping out of the game, it’s more difficult to do if you’re trading your time for money.

50:55 - Code and media are both extremely scaleable. A one-time creation of a video, podcast, course, etc. can be accessible and profitable for years to come with little to no additional effort on the part of the creator.

52:53 - Product revenue vs. ad revenue.

53:39 - Made You Think custom themed Yeti or merch? Tweet us @TheRealNeilS and @nateliason!

54:55 - The price of a paycheck and the reward that freedom brings. What’s more valuable to you: freedom, money, or can you ultimately have both?

58:29 - “One day, I realized with all these people I was jealous of, I couldn't just choose little aspects of their life. I couldn't say I want his body, I want her money, I want his personality. You have to be that person. Do you want to actually be that person with all of their reactions, their desires, their family, their happiness level, their outlook on life, their self-image? If you're not willing to do a wholesale, 24/7, 100 percent swap with who that person is, then there is no point in being jealous.”

You don’t see the ‘behind the scenes’ of someone else’s life, especially when you only know what they put on social media. Jealousy and comparison. Think about what you would lose if you were to actually switch lives with somebody else.

1:00:35 - The difference between being a contrarian and a conformist. Beliefs you took in a ‘package’ should be reevaluated individually. Thinking for yourself rather than minimizing yourself to fit into a certain box or group of beliefs.

1:06:18 - Signaling. Deliberate signaling to filter who ends up around you, but signaling can also be inadvertent. Political signals.

1:10:50 - Rapid fire quotations from the book… and go!

1:17:24 - One last paradox - how is Naval so big on peace of mind yet so active on Twitter?

1:19:22 - Make sure to grab a copy of The Almanack of Naval Ravikant and tell Eric Jorgenson and Naval Ravikant how much you enjoyed this episode. Follow us on Twitter to find out what book we are reading next! And tweet us about some potential MYT swag ideas...

If you enjoyed this episode, let us know by leaving a review on iTunes and tell a friend. As always, let us know if you have any book recommendations! Find us on Twitter @TheRealNeilS and @nateliason. The best way to stay up to date on future episodes and show updates is to join our email list at Made You Think Podcast.

Check out ways you can support the show here!


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 2020-10-23  1h22m