No episode in the eight-year history of The Knowledge Project has made a bigger impact than when Naval Ravikant appeared on the show in 2017. Be it for longtime listeners who heard Naval when this episode first aired or for newer fans who missed Naval’s incredible insights, this is a must-listen for those looking to hear from a deep thinker with an incredible wealth of insight. On this episode, Naval and Shane dive deep into reading habits, getting the best information from the most reliable sources, mental models for making critical high-stakes decisions, avoiding overcommitting and staying focused on the most important projects, how to facilitate better learning for our children and Naval’s definition for the meaning of life.
Naval Ravikant is the co-founder of AngelList, a platform for startups, investors, and job seekers dedicated to democratizing the investment process. He has also invested in more than 100 companies, including Uber, Twitter, Yammer, and many others.
Here are a few highlights from our conversation:
I read when I’m bored of everything else. The good news is I get bored very easily. There is always a book to capture the imagination.
I probably read one to two hours a day. That puts me in the top .00001%. I think that alone accounts for any material success that I’ve had in my life and any intelligence that I might have.
You absolutely need habits to function. You cannot solve every problem in life as if it is the first time it’s thrown at you.
These questions, the search for truth, these kind of questions, they ultimately do have answers, but they have personal answers. The answer that works for me is going to be nonsense to you and vice versa.
I never want to be in an environment or around people where I have to watch what I say.
The education system is a path-dependent outcome from the need for daycare, from the need for prisons for college-age males who would otherwise overrun society and cause a lot of havoc.
Mostly, I just stay on the basics. Even when I’m learning physics or science, I’m sticking to the basics.
A lot of our unhappiness comes from comparing things from the past to the present.
00:00 – Intro
12:42 – How Naval consumes books and other media
17:40 – Naval riffs on habits
28:56 – Naval defines ‘happiness’
39:07 – Naval’s values
45:34 – Biggest mistake Naval’s made
1:05:06 – Naval reacts to the education system
01:23:18 – How Naval makes decisions
01:44:09 – Naval explains what it takes to be a great founder
01:53:51 – Naval explains common mistakes he sees from people
01:55:55 – Naval riffs on the purpose of life