Getting rich is not just about luck; happiness is not just a trait we are born with. These aspirations may seem out of reach, but building wealth and being happy are skills we can learn.

So what are these skills, and how do we learn them? What are the principles that should guide our efforts? What does progress really look like?


Wow. Phenomenal. Eric does an incredible job distilling the absolute minimum viable principles to understand the process of building long term wealth.

The book is a mixture of mind expanding realizations, harsh truths, meditations, helpful mantras and welcome punches to the face as needed.



12 Takeaways

1- Reading is exercise for the brain.

Read. Read what you love until you love to read. Then, focus on the fundamental texts in each field to build a rock-solid foundation. Read broadly and deeply. Learn math, logic, science, and micro-econ. Read biographies, read philosophy, read fiction. Taleb. Feynman. Munger. Don't be intimidated by Naval. Looking at his reading list makes his clarity of thought shows a clear cause and effect.

2- Four kinds of luck.

  1. Dumb luck. You just happened to win the lottery. You can't count on this.
  2. Hustle luck. Probable but unpredictable. Fortune favors the bold. Increase your surface area for serendipity.
  3. Preparedness + Judgement Meets Opportunity. You have an eye for trends and skills to capitalize on them. When its in front of you, make your move.
  4. Deterministic Luck. Specific Knowledge, Reputation and Accountability Meet Opportunity. You are the only person in the world that has your skills so all related opportunities flow to you as they surface.

3- Inspiration is perishable.

When the muse appears, lean into it. When you are lucky enough to catch an "intellectual runners high" keep running. Impatience with action. Patience with results.

4- Compound Interest

All returns in life come from compound interest. If what you build compounds, you elevate your long term potential and accelerate your rate of progress. This is true of relationships, investing, and content creation.

5- Long Term

Wisdom is how far into the future you look when evaluating consequences of a decision. Most greedy algorithms are suboptimal in the long run.

6- Happiness is a Skill

Everyone can improve baseline happiness with intentional effort. Happiness is a choice. Practice gratitude. Appreciate blessings. Desire is a contract to be unhappy until you get what you want.

7- Question Modernity

The older the question the older the answer. Eat a Lindy diet focused on whole foods. Less screens more happiness. Barbells and body weight over machines.

8- Skin In The Game

You are rewarded in proportion to assumed risk. Win or lose under your own name.

9- Leverage

You will not get wealthy renting out your time

1- Delegate (humans work for you)

2- Automate (have an army of robots work for you 24/7 via cloud computing and code)

3- Media (produce and distribute zero marginal cost replication products like videos, blogs, and podcasts) for bonus points these compound

10- Authenticity & Intuition

Escape competition by being your authentic self. Nobody can compete with you on being you. Your specific knowledge will be a product of your natural obsessions and abilities. You can't outwork someone who's work is play to them.

11- Reputation

Act with integrity. It's the best long term play. This is the only way to enjoy the compounding benefits of relationships.

12- Curation is Value Creation

Reduce the pressure on yourself to be original. Ryan Holiday has made a career out of summarizing and contextualizing three dead authors to modern times. Naval is just the synthesis of his reading list and experience. Eric created massive value by turning Naval's twitter account and some podcast episodes into a book.

Four more for fun

  • The mind is just as malleable as the body
  • You will not get wealthy renting out your time
  • Understand ethical wealth creation is possible. If you secretly despise wealth, it will elude you.
  • When working, surround yourself with people more successful than you. When playing, surround yourself with people happier than you.

This barely scratches the surface. Read the damn book.


He is rarely part of any consensus, and the uniqueness of his life, lifestyle, family dynamics, and startup successes is a reflection of conscious choices he’s made to do things differently. (Location 101)

I take Naval seriously because he: Questions nearly everything Can think from first principles Tests things well Is good at not fooling himself Changes his mind regularly Laughs a lot Thinks holistically Thinks long-term And…doesn’t take himself too goddamn seriously. (Location 114)

Naval is broadly followed because he is a rare combination of successful and happy. (Location 132)

I created this book as a public service. Tweets, podcasts, and interviews quickly get buried and lost. Knowledge this valuable deserves a more permanent, accessible format. That is my mission with this book. (Location 145)

Stuyvesant is one of those intelligence lottery situations where you can break in with instant validation. You go from being blue collar to white collar in one move. [73] (Location 183)

I was born poor and miserable. I’m now pretty well-off, and I’m very happy. I worked at those. (Location 189)

Making money is not a thing you do—it’s a skill you learn. (Location 197)

I like to think that if I lost all my money and you dropped me on a random street in any English-speaking country, within five or ten years I’d be wealthy again because it’s just a skillset I’ve developed that anyone can develop. [78] (Location 199)

It’s not really about hard work. You can work in a restaurant eighty hours a week, and you’re not going to get rich. Getting rich is about knowing what to do, who to do it with, and when to do it. (Location 202)

If you don’t know yet what you should work on, the most important thing is to figure it out. You should not grind at a lot of hard work until you figure out what you should be working on. (Location 204)

the thing I got really good at was looking at businesses and figuring out the point of maximum leverage to actually create wealth and capture some of that created wealth. (Location 207)

Seek wealth, not money or status. Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep. Money is how we transfer time and wealth. Status is your place in the social hierarchy. (Location 213)

Understand ethical wealth creation is possible. If you secretly despise wealth, it will elude you. (Location 215)

You’re not going to get rich renting out your time. You must own equity—a piece of a business—to gain your financial freedom. (Location 218)

You will get rich by giving society what it wants but does not yet know how to get. At scale. (Location 220)

Pick an industry where you can play long-term games with long-term people. (Location 222)

The internet has massively broadened the possible space of careers. Most people haven’t figured this out yet. (Location 223)

Play iterated games. All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest. (Location 225)

Pick business partners with high intelligence, energy, and, above all, integrity. (Location 227)

Don’t partner with cynics and pessimists. Their beliefs are self-fulfilling. (Location 228)

Learn to sell. Learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable. (Location 230)

Arm yourself with specific knowledge, accountability, and leverage. (Location 231)

Specific knowledge is knowledge you cannot be trained for. If society can train you, it can train someone else and replace (Location 232)

Specific knowledge is found by pursuing your genuine curiosity and passion rather than whatever is hot right now. (Location 234)

When specific knowledge is taught, it’s through apprenticeships, not schools. (Location 237)

Embrace accountability, and take business risks under your own name. Society will reward you with responsibility, equity, and leverage. (Location 240)

Fortunes require leverage. Business leverage comes from capital, people, and products with no marginal cost of replication (code and media). (Location 243)

Code and media are permissionless leverage. They’re the leverage behind the newly rich. You can create software and media that works for you while you sleep. (Location 251)

An army of robots is freely available—it’s just packed in data centers for heat and space efficiency. Use it. (Location 253)

If you can’t code, write books and blogs, record videos and podcasts. (Location 254)

Study microeconomics, game theory, psychology, persuasion, ethics, mathematics, and computers. (Location 260)

Set and enforce an aspirational personal hourly rate. If fixing a problem will save less than your hourly rate, ignore it. If outsourcing a task will cost less than your hourly rate, outsource it. (Location 264)

Become the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true. (Location 268)

Wealth is assets that earn while you sleep. Wealth is the factory, the robots, cranking out things. Wealth is the computer program that’s running at night, serving other customers. (Location 285)

Technology democratizes consumption but consolidates production. The best person in the world at anything gets to do it for everyone. (Location 290)

Society will pay you for creating things it wants. But society doesn’t yet know how to create those things, because if it did, they wouldn’t need you. They would already be stamped out. (Location 291)

technology is the set of things, as Alan Kay said, that don’t quite work yet [correction: Danny Hillis]. Once something works, it’s no longer technology. (Location 295)

Specific knowledge cannot be taught, but it can be learned. (Location 309)

When I talk about specific knowledge, I mean figure out what you were doing as a kid or teenager almost effortlessly. Something you didn’t even consider a skill, but people around you noticed. Your mother or your best friend growing up would know. (Location 310)

An obsessive personality: you dive into things and remember them quickly (Location 314)

No one can compete with you on being you. Most of life is a search for who and what needs you the most. (Location 319)

Specific knowledge is found much more by pursuing your innate talents, your genuine curiosity, and your passion. (Location 342)

The internet enables any niche interest, as long as you’re the best person at it to scale out. And the great news is because every human is different, everyone is the best at something—being themselves. (Location 350)

“Escape competition through authenticity.” Basically, when you’re competing with people, it’s because you’re copying them. It’s because you’re trying to do the same thing. But every human is different. Don’t copy. [78] (Location 352)

The best jobs are neither decreed nor degreed. They are creative expressions of continuous learners in free markets. (Location 357)

The most important skill for getting rich is becoming a perpetual learner. You have to know how to learn anything you want to learn. (Location 358)

It’s much more important today to be able to become an expert in a brand-new field in nine to twelve months than to have studied the “right” thing a long time ago. You really care about having studied the foundations, so you’re not scared of any book. (Location 362)

If you go to the library and there’s a book you cannot understand, you have to dig down and say, “What is the foundation required for me to learn this?” Foundations are super important. [74] (Location 364)

It’s much better to be at 9/10 or 10/10 on foundations than to try and get super deep into things. (Location 369)

“All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.” (Location 373)

I say this because you should be very thoughtful and realize in most things (relationships, work, even in learning) what you’re trying to do is find the thing you can go all-in on to earn compound interest. (Location 401)

When you’re dating, the instant you know this relationship is not going to be the one that leads to marriage, you should probably move on. When you’re studying something, like a geography or history class, and you realize you are never going to use the information, drop the class. It’s a waste of time. It’s a waste of your brain energy. (Location 403)

What I’m saying is: when you find the 1 percent of your discipline which will not be wasted, which you’ll be able to invest in for the rest of your life and has meaning to you—go all-in and forget about the rest. [10] (Location 407)

The people who have the ability to fail in public under their own names actually gain a lot of power. (Location 419)

in modern society, the downside risk is not that large. Even personal bankruptcy can wipe the debts clean in good ecosystems. (Location 429)

If you don’t own a piece of a business, you don’t have a path towards financial freedom. (Location 434)

Without ownership, when you’re sleeping, you’re not earning. When you’re retired, you’re not earning. When you’re on vacation, you’re not earning. And you can’t earn nonlinearly. (Location 441)

Owning equity in a company basically means you own the upside. (Location 448)

We live in an age of infinite leverage, and the economic rewards for genuine intellectual curiosity have never been higher. [11] (Location 456)

Following your genuine intellectual curiosity is a better foundation for a career than following whatever is making money right now. [11] (Location 457)

Whether it’s business, exercise, romance, friendship, whatever, I think the meaning of life is to do things for their own sake. Ironically, when you do things for their own sake, you create your best work. (Location 462)

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. [74] (Location 464)

The less you want something, the less you’re thinking about it, the less you’re obsessing over it, the more you’re going to do it in a natural way. The more you’re going to do it for yourself. You’re going to do it in a way you’re good at, and you’re going to stick with it. The people around you will see the quality of your work is higher. [1] (Location 467)

If they can train you to do it, then eventually they will train a computer to do it. (Location 475)

Think about what product or service society wants but does not yet know how to get. You want to become the person who delivers it and delivers it at scale. That is really the challenge of how to make money. (Location 477)

You are waiting for your moment when something emerges in the world, they need a skill set, and you’re uniquely qualified. You build your brand in the meantime on Twitter, on YouTube, and by giving away free work. You make a name for yourself, and you take some risk in the process. When it is time to move on the opportunity, you can do so with leverage—the maximum leverage possible. [1] (Location 480)

Money is good as a form of leverage. It means every time you make a decision, you multiply it with money. [1] (Location 487)

The final form of leverage is brand new—the most democratic form. It is: “products with no marginal cost of replication.” This includes books, media, movies, and code. Code is probably the most powerful form of permissionless leverage. All you need is a computer—you don’t need anyone’s permission. [1] (Location 494)

Forget rich versus poor, white-collar versus blue. It’s now leveraged versus un-leveraged (Location 496)

The most interesting and the most important form of leverage is the idea of products that have no marginal cost of replication. This is the new form of leverage. This was only invented in the last few hundred years. It started with the printing press. It accelerated with broadcast media, and now it’s really blown up with the internet and with coding. (Location 498)

Now, you can multiply your efforts without involving other humans and without needing money from other humans. (Location 500)

But the new generation’s fortunes are all made through code or media. (Location 504)

Coding, writing books, recording podcasts, tweeting, YouTubing—these kinds of things are permissionless. You don’t need anyone’s permission to do them, and that’s why they are very egalitarian. They’re great equalizers of leverage. [78] (Location 510)

Forget 10x programmers. 1,000x programmers really exist, we just don’t fully acknowledge it. See @ID_AA_Carmack, @notch, Satoshi Nakomoto, etc. (Location 521)

Forty hour work weeks are a relic of the Industrial Age. Knowledge workers function like athletes—train and sprint, then rest and reassess. (Location 535)

If you’re looking at professions where your inputs and your outputs are highly connected, it’s going to be very hard to create wealth and make wealth for yourself in that process. [78] (Location 544)

If you want to be part of a great tech company, then you need to be able to SELL or BUILD. If you don’t do either, learn. Learn to sell, learn to build. If you (Location 545)

Earn with your mind, not your time. (Location 555)

You start as a salaried employee. But you want to work your way up to try and get higher leverage, more accountability, and specific knowledge. (Location 590)

I think every human should aspire to being knowledgeable about certain things and being paid for our unique knowledge. (Location 601)

We waste our time with short-term thinking and busywork. Warren Buffett spends a year deciding and a day acting. That act lasts decades. (Location 611)

Positive-sum games create positive people. [11] (Location 1456)

Increase serotonin in the brain without drugs: Sunlight, exercise, positive thinking, and tryptophan. [11] (Location 1456)

Just from being marginally better, like running a quarter mile a fraction of a second faster, some people get paid a lot more—orders of magnitude more. Leverage magnifies those differences even more. (Location 613)

I haven’t made money in my life in one giant payout. It has always been a whole bunch of small things piling up. (Location 618)

Value your time at an hourly rate, and ruthlessly spend to save time at that rate. You will never be worth more than you think you’re worth. (Location 625)

No one is going to value you more than you value yourself. You just have to set a very high personal hourly rate and you have to stick to it. Even when I was young, I just decided I was worth a lot more than the market thought I was worth, and I started treating myself that way. (Location 626)

I would argue with my girlfriends, and even today it’s my wife, “I don’t do that. That’s not a problem that I solve.” I still argue that with my mother when she hands me little to-do’s. I just don’t do that. I would rather hire you an assistant. This was true even when I didn’t have money. [78] (Location 637)

Set a very high hourly aspirational rate for yourself and stick to it. It should seem and feel absurdly high. If it doesn’t, it’s not high enough. Whatever you picked, my advice to you would be to raise it. (Location 642)

Be optimistic, be positive. It’s important. Optimists actually do better in the long run. [10] (Location 654)

What is the most important thing to do for younger people starting out? Spend more time making the big decisions. There are basically three really big decisions you make in your early life: where you live, who you’re with, and what you do. (Location 675)

What are one or two steps you’d take to surround yourself with successful people? Figure out what you’re good at, and start helping other people with it. Give it away. Pay it forward. (Location 685)

An old boss once warned: “You’ll never be rich since you’re obviously smart, and someone will always offer you a job that’s just good enough.” (Location 688)

Find Work That Feels Like Play (Location 699)

What is your definition of retirement? Retirement is when you stop sacrificing today for an imaginary tomorrow. When today is complete, in and of itself, you’re retired. How do you get there? Well, one way is to have so much money saved that your passive income (without you lifting a finger) covers your burn rate. A second is you just drive your burn rate down to zero—you become a monk. (Location 716)

The way to get out of the competition trap is to be authentic, to find the thing you know how to do better than anybody. (Location 721)

I’m always “working.” It looks like work to others, but it feels like play to me. And that’s how I know no one can compete with me on it. Because I’m just playing, for sixteen hours a day. If others want to compete with me, they’re going to work, and they’re going to lose because they’re not going to do it for sixteen hours a day, seven days a week. [77] (Location 740)

The winners of any game are the people who are so addicted they continue playing even as the marginal utility from winning declines. (Location 757)

It’s good to be in a smaller company early because there’s less of an infrastructure to prevent early promotion. [76] (Location 769)

Why do you say, “Get rich without getting lucky”? In 1,000 parallel universes, you want to be wealthy in 999 of them. (Location 772)

You put yourself in a position to capitalize on luck or to attract luck when nobody else created the opportunity for themselves. (Location 789)

Ways to get lucky: • Hope luck finds you. • Hustle until you stumble into it. • Prepare the mind and be sensitive to chances others miss. • Become the best at what you do. Refine what you do until this is true. Opportunity will seek you out. Luck becomes your destiny. It (Location 791)

One of the things I think is important to make money is having a reputation that makes people do deals through you. (Location 796)

“In a long-term game, it seems that everybody is making each other rich. And in a short-term game, it seems like everybody is making themselves rich.” (Location 805)

if you’re building something interesting, you will always have more people who will want to know you. (Location 810)

If someone is talking a lot about how honest they are, they’re probably dishonest. (Location 815)

“The closer you want to get to me, the better your values have to be.” [4] (Location 826)

great people have great outcomes. You just have to be patient. (Location 828)

It takes time—even once you have all of these pieces in place, there is an indeterminate amount of time you have to put in. If you’re counting, you’ll run out of patience before success actually arrives. (Location 833)

Don’t keep track, and don’t keep count because if you do, you will run out of time. [78] (Location 838)

People are oddly consistent. Karma is just you, repeating your patterns, virtues, and flaws until you finally get what you deserve. Always pay it forward. And don’t keep count. (Location 841)

What making money will do is solve your money problems. It will remove a set of things that could get in the way of being happy, but it is not going to make you happy. (Location 852)

Today, with this wonderful invention called money, you can store it in a bank account. You can you work really hard, do great things for society, and society will give you money for things it wants but doesn’t know how to get. You can save money, you can live a little below your means, and you can find a certain freedom. (Location 860)

My definition of wisdom is knowing the long-term consequences of your actions. Wisdom applied to external problems is judgment. (Location 876)

In an age of leverage, one correct decision can win everything. (Location 878)

Picking the direction you’re heading in for every decision is far, far more important than how much force you apply. Just pick the right direction to start walking in, and start walking. [1] (Location 881)

If you can’t explain it to a child, then you don’t know it. It’s a common saying and it’s very true. (Location 886)

Richard Feynman very famously does this in “Six Easy Pieces,” one of his early physics lectures. He basically explains mathematics in three pages. He starts from the number line—counting—and then he goes all the way up to precalculus. (Location 887)

I would rather understand the basics really well than memorize all kinds of complicated concepts I can’t stitch together and can’t rederive from the basics. (Location 890)

If you can’t rederive concepts from the basics as you need them, you’re lost. (Location 892)

It’s actually really important to have empty space. If you don’t have a day or two every week in your calendar where you’re not always in meetings, and you’re not always busy, then you’re not going to be able to think. (Location 919)

It’s only after you’re bored you have the great ideas. It’s never going to be when you’re stressed, or busy, running around or rushed. Make the time. [7] (Location 922)

Very smart people tend to be weird since they insist on thinking everything through for themselves. (Location 925)

Cynicism is easy. Mimicry is easy. Optimistic contrarians are the rarest breed. (Location 928)

Any belief you took in a package (ex. Democrat, Catholic, American) is suspect and should be re-evaluated from base principles. (Location 941)

If all your beliefs line up into neat little bundles, you should be highly suspicious. (Location 946)

The classical virtues are all decision-making heuristics to make one optimize for the long term rather than for the short term. [11] (Location 955)

Note: Punched in the face and whiplash

Almost all biases are time-saving heuristics. For important decisions, discard memory and identity, and focus on the problem. (Location 959)

Any advice on developing capacity for instinctual blunt honesty? Tell everyone. Start now. It doesn’t have to be blunt. Charisma is the ability to project confidence and love at the same time. It’s almost always possible to be honest and positive. [71] (Location 972)

Mental models are really just compact ways for you to recall your own knowledge. [78] (Location 993)

Evolution, thermodynamics, information theory, and complexity have explanatory and predictive power in many aspects of life. [11] (Location 998)

I don’t believe I have the ability to say what is going to work. Rather, I try to eliminate what’s not going to work. (Location 999)

I think being successful is just about not making mistakes. (Location 1000)

ignorance. I believe we are fundamentally ignorant and very, very bad at predicting the future. [4] (Location 1004)

It’s worth reading a microeconomics textbook from start to finish. (Location 1021)

If you can’t decide, the answer is no. If I’m faced with a difficult choice, such as: Should I marry this person? Should I take this job? Should I buy this house? Should I move to this city? Should I go into business with this person? If you cannot decide, the answer is no. And the reason is, modern society is full of options. There are tons and tons of options. (Location 1042)

If you find yourself creating a spreadsheet for a decision with a list of yes’s and no’s, pros and cons, checks and balances, why this is good or bad…forget it. If you cannot decide, the answer is no. [10] (Location 1053)

Run Uphill Simple heuristic: If you’re evenly split on a difficult decision, take the path more painful in the short term. (Location 1054)

If you have two choices to make, and they’re relatively equal choices, take the path more difficult and more painful in the short term. What’s actually going on is one of these paths requires short-term pain. And the other path leads to pain further out in the future. And what your brain is doing through conflict-avoidance is trying to push off the short-term pain. (Location 1056)

Reading science, math, and philosophy one hour per day will likely put you at the upper echelon of human success within seven years. (Location 1071)

Read what you love until you love to read. (Location 1083)

“I don’t want to read everything. I just want to read the 100 great books over and over again.” (Location 1086)

“As long as I have a book in my hand, I don’t feel like I’m wasting time.” —Charlie Munger (Location 1102)

The number of books completed is a vanity metric. As you know more, you leave more books unfinished. Focus on new concepts with predictive power. (Location 1113)

If they wrote it to make money, don’t read it. (Location 1119)

What practices do you follow to internalize/organize information from reading books? Explain what you learned to someone else. Teaching forces learning. (Location 1120)

What can I do for the next sixty days to become a clearer, more independent thinker? Read the greats in math, science, and philosophy. Ignore your contemporaries and news. Avoid tribal identification. Put truth above social approval. [11] (Location 1123)

Study logic and math, because once you’ve mastered them, you won’t fear any book. (Location 1125)

No book in the library should scare you. Whether it’s a math, physics, electrical engineering, sociology, or economics book. You should be able to take any book down off the shelf and read it. (Location 1126)

When it comes to reading, make sure your foundation is very, very high quality. The best way to have a high-quality foundation (you may not love this answer), but the trick is to stick to science and to stick to the basics. (Location 1137)

Similarly, the hard sciences are a solid foundation. Microeconomics is a solid foundation. The moment you start wandering outside of these solid foundations you’re in trouble because now you don’t know what’s true and what’s false. I would focus as much as I could on having solid foundations. (Location 1140)

If you’re a perpetual learning machine, you will never be out of options for how to make money. (Location 1150)

To think clearly, understand the basics. If you’re memorizing advanced concepts without being able to re-derive them as needed, you’re lost. (Location 1152)

When solving problems: the older the problem, the older the solution. If you’re trying to learn how to drive a car or fly a plane, you should read something written in the modern age because this problem was created in the modern age and the solution is great in the modern age. If you’re talking about an old problem like how to keep your body healthy, how to stay calm and peaceful, what kinds of value systems are good, how you raise a family, and those kinds of things, the older solutions are probably better. (Location 1172)

Any book that survived for two thousand years has been filtered through many people. The general principles are more likely to be correct. (Location 1176)

The three big ones in life are wealth, health, and happiness. We pursue them in that order, but their importance is reverse. (Location 1184)

Don’t take yourself so seriously. You’re just a monkey with a plan. (Location 1186)

Happiness Is Learned (Location 1188)

Maybe happiness is not something you inherit or even choose, but a highly personal skill that can be learned, like fitness or nutrition. (Location 1193)

Note: Gratitude is big here

Today, I believe happiness is really a default state. Happiness is there when you remove the sense of something missing in your life. (Location 1201)

We constantly walk around thinking, “I need this,” or “I need that,” trapped in the web of desires. Happiness is the state when nothing is missing. When nothing is missing, your mind shuts down and stops running into the past or future to regret something or to plan something. (Location 1202)

every positive thought essentially holds within it a negative thought. It is a contrast to something negative. The Tao Te Ching says this more articulately than I ever could, but it’s all duality and polarity. If I say I’m happy, that means I was sad at some point. (Location 1208)

To me, happiness is not about positive thoughts. It’s not about negative thoughts. It’s about the absence of desire, especially the absence of desire for external things. (Location 1212)

Happiness to me is mainly not suffering, not desiring, not thinking too much about the future or the past, really embracing the present moment and the reality of what is, and the way it is. [4] (Location 1217)

Everything is perfect exactly the way it is. It is only in our particular minds we are unhappy or not happy, and things are perfect or imperfect because of what we desire. [4] The world just reflects your own feelings back at you. Reality is neutral. Reality has no judgments. (Location 1220)

To a tree, there is no concept of right or wrong, good or bad. (Location 1223)

This is what I mean when I say happiness is a choice. If you believe it’s a choice, you can start working on it. [77] (Location 1225)

However, if you view yourself as a bacteria or an amoeba—or if you view all of your works as writing on water or building castles in the sand, then you have no expectation for how life should “actually” be. (Location 1230)

Note: Took the wind out of me

We think of ourselves as fixed and the world as malleable, but it’s really we who are malleable and the world is largely fixed. (Location 1240)

Real happiness only comes as a side-effect of peace. Most of it is going to come from acceptance, not from changing your external environment. [8] (Location 1246)

A rational person can find peace by cultivating indifference to things outside of their control. (Location 1248)

You can very slowly but steadily and methodically improve your happiness baseline, just like you can improve your fitness. [10] (Location 1254)

Happiness is a choice you make and a skill you develop. The mind is just as malleable as the body. (Location 1257)

What if this life is the paradise we were promised, and we’re just squandering it? (Location 1271)

“Would I rather be having this thought right now, or would I rather have my peace?” (Location 1286)

A happy person isn’t someone who’s happy all the time. It’s someone who effortlessly interprets events in such a way that they don’t lose their innate peace. (Location 1288)

The problem with getting good at a game, especially one with big rewards, is you continue playing it long after you should have outgrown it. Survival and replication drive put us on the work treadmill. Hedonic adaptation keeps us there. The trick is knowing when to jump off and play instead. (Location 1329)

There’s a line from Blaise Pascal I read. Basically, it says: “All of man’s troubles arise because he cannot sit in a room quietly by himself.” If you could just sit for thirty minutes and be happy, you are successful. That is a very powerful place to be, but very few of us get there. [6] (Location 1345)

You can get almost anything you want out of life, as long as it’s one thing and you want it far more than anything else. (Location 1352)

Peace is happiness at rest, and happiness is peace in motion. (Location 1354)

Today, the way we think you get peace is by resolving all your external problems. But there are unlimited external problems. The only way to actually get peace on the inside is by giving up this idea of problems. [77] (Location 1356)

One of the things I’m trying to get rid of is the word “should.” Whenever the word “should” creeps up in your mind, it’s guilt or social programming. Doing something because you “should” basically means you don’t actually want to do it. (Location 1358)

The enemy of peace of mind is expectations drilled into you by society and other people. (Location 1361)

Perhaps one reason why yoga and meditation are hard to sustain is they have no extrinsic value. Purely single-player games. (Location 1370)

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. (Location 1380)

You can increase your happiness over time, and it starts with believing you can do it. It’s a skill. Just like nutrition is a skill, dieting is a skill, working out is a skill, making money is a skill, meeting girls and guys is a skill, having good relationships is a skill, even love is a skill. It starts with realizing they’re skills you can learn. When you put your intention and focus (Location 1386)

When working, surround yourself with people more successful than you. When playing, surround yourself with people happier than you. (Location 1389)

When it comes to medicines for the mind, the placebo effect is 100 percent effective. (Location 1396)

“Well, if I believe it, maybe it’ll work.” I went into it with a positive mindset. I laid down and tried the meditation. You know what? It felt really good. (Location 1402)

How does someone build the skill of happiness? You can build good habits. Not drinking alcohol will keep your mood more stable. Not eating sugar will keep your mood more stable. Not going on Facebook, Snapchat, or Twitter will keep your mood more stable. (Location 1403)

Essentially, you have to go through your life replacing your thoughtless bad habits with good ones, making a commitment to be a happier person. At the end of the day, you are a combination of your habits and the people who you spend the most time with. (Location 1408)

Many distinctions between people who get happier as they get older and people who don’t can be explained by what habits they have developed. Are they habits that will increase your long-term happiness rather than your short-term happiness? (Location 1411)

“Stop asking why and start saying wow.” (Location 1422)

When we get something, we assume the world owes it to us. If you’re present, you’ll realize how many gifts and how much abundance there is around us at all times. That’s all you really need to do. I’m here now, and I have all these incredible things at my disposal. [8] (Location 1426)

Every time you catch yourself desiring something, say, “Is it so important to me I’ll be unhappy unless this goes my way?” You’re going to find with the vast majority of things it’s just not true. [7] (Location 1439)

The world just reflects your own feelings back at you. [77] (Location 1444)

Tell your friends you’re a happy person. Then, you’ll be forced to conform to it. You’ll have a consistency bias. You have to live up to it. Your friends will expect you to be a happy person. [5] (Location 1445)

Recover time and happiness by minimizing your use of these three smartphone apps: phone, calendar, and alarm clock. [11] (Location 1446)

The more secrets you have, the less happy you’re going to be. [11] (Location 1448)

Hedonic adaptation is more powerful for man-made things (cars, houses, clothes, money) than for natural things (food, sex, exercise). [11] (Location 1450)

No exceptions—all screen activities linked to less happiness, all non-screen activities linked to more happiness. [11] (Location 1451)

It’s the news’ job to make you anxious and angry. But its underlying scientific, economic, education, and conflict trends are positive. Stay optimistic. [11] (Location 1453)

In any situation in life, you always have three choices: you can change it, you can accept it, or you can leave it. If you want to change it, then it is a desire. It will cause you suffering until you successfully change it. So don’t pick too many of those. Pick one big desire in your life at any given time to give yourself purpose and motivation. (Location 1464)

“What is the positive of this situation?” (Location 1481)

“Well, the Universe is going to teach me something now. Now I get to listen and learn.” (Location 1484)

Your life is a firefly blink in a night. You’re here for such a brief period of time. If you fully acknowledge the futility of what you’re doing, then I think it can bring great happiness and peace because you realize this is a game. But it’s a fun game. All that matters is you experience your reality as you go through life. Why not interpret it in the most positive possible way? (Location 1498)

You’re going to die one day, and none of this is going to matter. So enjoy yourself. Do something positive. Project some love. Make someone happy. Laugh a little bit. Appreciate the moment. And do your work. [8] (Location 1508)

Doctors won’t make you healthy. Nutritionists won’t make you slim. Teachers won’t make you smart. Gurus won’t make you calm. Mentors won’t make you rich. Trainers won’t make you fit. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility. (Location 1511)

Be yourself, with passionate intensity. (Location 1520)

To make an original contribution, you have to be irrationally obsessed with something. (Location 1528)

We’re not meant to walk in shoes. A lot of back and foot problems come from shoes. (Location 1539)

We evolved for scarcity but live in abundance. There’s a constant struggle to say no when your genes always want to say yes. (Location 1547)

In nature, it’s very rare to find carbs and fat together. In nature, I find carbs and fat together in coconuts, in mangoes, maybe in bananas, but it’s basically tropical fruits. (Location 1561)

any sensible diet avoids the combination of sugar and fat together. [2] (Location 1566)

Most fit and healthy people focus much more on what they eat than how much. Quality control is easier than (and leads to) quantity control. [11] (Location 1568)

It has been five thousand years, and we’re still arguing over whether meat is poisonous or plants are poisonous. Ditch the extremists and any food invented in the last few hundred years. [11] (Location 1572)

One month of consistent yoga and I feel 10 years younger. To stay flexible is to stay young. (Location 1589)

The best workout for you is one you’re excited enough to do every day. [4] (Location 1593)

An emotion is our evolved biology predicting the future impact of a current event. In modern settings, it’s usually exaggerated or wrong. (Location 1605)

Why is meditation so powerful? Your breath is one of the few places where your autonomic nervous system meets your voluntary nervous system. It’s involuntary, but you can also control it. I think a lot of meditation practices put an emphasis on the breath because it is a gateway into your autonomic nervous system. (Location 1606)

most of our suffering comes from avoidance. Most of the suffering from a cold shower is the tip-toeing your way in. Once you’re in, you’re in. It’s not suffering. It’s just cold. Your body saying it’s cold is different than your mind saying it’s cold. Acknowledge your body saying it’s cold. Look at it. Deal with it. Accept it, but don’t mentally suffer over it. (Location 1627)

Meditation is intermittent fasting for the mind. Too much sugar leads to a heavy body, and too many distractions lead to a heavy mind. (Location 1632)

If you stop talking to yourself for even ten minutes, if you stop obsessing over your own story, you’ll realize we are really far up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and life is pretty good. [6] (Location 1653)

Life-hack: When in bed, meditate. Either you will have a deep meditation or fall asleep. Victory either way. (Location 1655)

I recommend meditating one hour each morning because anything less is not enough time to really get deep into it. I would recommend if you really want to try meditation, try sixty days of one hour a day, first thing in the morning. After about sixty days, you will be tired of listening to your own mind. You will have resolved a lot of issues, or you have heard them enough to see through those fears and issues. (Location 1671)

Meditation isn’t hard. All you have to do is sit there and do nothing. Just sit down. Close your eyes and say, “I’m just going to give myself a break for an hour. (Location 1674)

I’m just going to sit here for an hour with my eyes closed, and I’m going to do nothing.” How hard is that? Why can you not do anything for an hour? What’s so hard about giving yourself an hour-long break? [74] (Location 1677)

The first thing to realize is you can observe your mental state. Meditation doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to gain the superpower to control your internal state. The advantage of meditation is recognizing just how out of control your mind is. (Location 1689)

I was noticing how good the toothbrush was and how good it felt. Then the next moment, I’m off to thinking something else. I have to look at my brain again and say, “Do I really need to solve this problem right now?” (Location 1705)

If the brain is like a muscle, I’ll be better off resting it, being at peace. When a particular problem arises, I’ll immerse myself in it. (Location 1707)

Meditation is turning off society and listening to yourself. It only “works” when done for its own sake. Hiking is walking meditation. Journaling is writing meditation. Praying is gratitude meditation. Showering is accidental meditation. Sitting quietly is direct meditation. (Location 1733)

When you really want to change, you just change. (Location 1779)

Impatience with actions, patience with results. (Location 1782)

Impatience with actions, patience with results. As Nivi said, inspiration is perishable. When you have inspiration, act on it right then and there. [78] (Location 1788)

If you view yourself as a loser, as someone who was cast out by society and has no role in normal society, then you will do your own thing and you’re much more likely to find a winning path. (Location 1821)

Grind and sweat, toil and bleed, face the abyss. It’s all part of becoming an overnight success. (Location 1827)

Mathematics is us reverse engineering the language of nature, and we have only scratched the surface. (Location 1838)

Holding back means staying in bad relationships and bad jobs for years instead of minutes. (Location 1850)

Courage isn’t charging into a machine gun nest. Courage is not caring what other people think. (Location 1856)

I hate wasting time. I’m very famous for being rude at parties, events, dinners, where the moment I figure out it’s a waste of my time, I leave immediately. Value your time. It is all you have. It’s more important than your money. It’s more important than your friends. It is more important than anything. Your time is all you have. Do not waste your time. (Location 1858)

Don’t spend your time making other people happy. Other people being happy is their problem. It’s not your problem. If you are happy, it makes other people happy. If you’re happy, other people will ask you how you became happy and they might learn from it, but you are not responsible for making other people happy. [10] (Location 1863)

Anger is its own punishment. An angry person trying to push your head below water is drowning at the same time. (Location 1869)

People who live far below their means enjoy a freedom that people busy upgrading their lifestyles can’t fathom. [11] (Location 1870)

To me, the mind should be a servant and a tool, not a master. My monkey mind should not control and drive me 24/7. (Location 1882)

The modern struggle: Lone individuals summoning inhuman willpower, fasting, meditating, and exercising… Up against armies of scientists and statisticians weaponizing abundant food, screens, and medicine into junk food, clickbait news, infinite porn, endless games, and addictive drugs. (Location 1890)

The real truths are heresies. They cannot be spoken. Only discovered, whispered, and perhaps read. (Location 1894)

I think after this life, it’s very much like before you were born. Remember that? It’s going to be just like that. (Location 1916)

I only believe in peer relationships. I don’t believe in hierarchical relationships. I don’t want to be above anybody, and I don’t want to be below anybody. (Location 1940)

“To find a worthy mate, be worthy of a worthy mate.” [4] (Location 1952)

Rational Buddhism, to me, means understanding the internal work Buddhism espouses to make yourself happier, better off, more present and in control of your emotions—being a better human being. (Location 1969)

The democratization of technology allows anyone to be a creator, entrepreneur, scientist. The future is brighter. (Location 1995)

I read out of curiosity and interest. The best book is the one you’ll devour. (Location 2001)

Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang This contemplates the marvel of thermodynamics from the best sci-fi short story writer of our age. (Location 2128)

No-holds-barred wisdom from a self-made man. Everything on @EdLatimore’s site is worth reading for overachievers: (Location 2185)

Love is given, not received. (Location 2225)

Health, love, and your mission, in that order. Nothing else matters. (Location 2228)

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