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My overall critique is it's a lot of fluff. I'm sure Naval is a very smart guy who has a lot of incredibly valuable business experience but he didn't share any of it here. He shared a bunch of not particularly useful self-help advice.



By “not particularly useful”, do you mean that if someone were to apply it to the greatest extent possible, it wouldn’t work (on average)?

Or just that it’s obvious?

I mean, good advice often seems obvious to the point of banality, yet is heeded and properly applied by very few.

Paul Graham has said the same thing about his advice to YC-funded founders. He’s joked he could have been replaced with a bot that just repeatedly said “make something people want” and “talk to your users”.

It sounds banal, yet so few actually do it, and the ones who have done it are the ones who have succeeded.


The article is really long so I could easily pick advice that I was uninformed social commentary(the first couple), good but not novel(don't spend money), not actionable(8. Give Society What It Doesn’t Know How to Get), or I'm not convinced is right and I don't he think's he done any research on(equity is a better to pursue than money).

I thought "27. Set an Aspirational Hourly Rate" was particularly interesting, somewhat actionable, and I hadn't seen before.

But maybe it would easier if you told me the key insights you gleamed from the article that were novel(somewhat), actionable, and right.


Thanks for sharing your perspective here.

I think it reveals that each of us has different expectations when reading something like this. I don't read this kind of thing needing/expecting it to be completely right or wrong (I mean, if you already had a settled opinion on that, you wouldn't need to read it/think about it to start with), or "actionable" (which seems to be a euphemism for needing precise instructions, which is never possible with general principles, in which context will greatly influence the optimal application of those principles).

I'll just read something like this and consider whether it aligns with what the writer has done in their own life (this seems to be true), and whether it has led to positive outcomes (this seems to be true), whether other people who have lived by similar principles have achieved comparably good outcomes (this also seems to be true). For what it's worth, it also broadly rings true of my own life, of having spent the earlier part of my adult life not living by these principles and getting bad results, then embracing some of these principles (having come across these ideas from several other people including Nassim Taleb, well before Naval articulated them), and getting much better results.

I don't see anything in here that needs to be strongly agreed with or disagreed with. People can think about them and take them or leave them, given their own situation.

I find it interesting that the root commenter to this subthread, whose comment you strongly endorsed, said they used to "follow that guy religiously" but now see him as "a huge hack... Almost a complete parody of Silicon Valley." That just looks like a pendulum-swing from one unhealthy extreme to another, and places far too much importance on any one individual's perspective. (It's also flawed, given that much of Naval's career has been spent challenging the Silicon Valley establishment, by suing some of its biggest VCs and starting AngelList which democratised things for both smaller investors and founders, and that he is very vocal in expressing points of view that are starkly at odds with the Silicon Valley status quo, most notably, lately, about general AI.)

Part of me thinks it's silly to spend time debating people who see things that way, but another part of me feels it would be such a terrible shame if someone, like myself of 10-15 years ago, who could gain great benefit from reading and thinking about Naval's perspective, were to read these casually dismissive comments and be put off by them.

In response to the objections you raised:

> uninformed social commentary(the first couple)

His positions are debatable, of course, but it's false to say he’s uninformed; he's been deeply researching these topics from a young age.

> not actionable(8. Give Society What It Doesn’t Know How to Get)

It can't be ”actionable”; it's entirely context-dependent. Yet it's true of almost every hugely successful company.

> I'm not convinced is right and I don't he think's he done any research on(equity is a better to pursue than money)

From what he said on Rogan, he's been researching it since he was an early teenager, and applying it since the earliest stages of his career.

And are you asserting that people who focus on salary or hourly-rate income (including all those who aren't lucky enough to have a highly-paid job or skill) are - all else being equal - better off than people who invest in businesses that passively generate income and growth? Can you share stats or examples?

Consider, also, that the position relating to this that you've repeated several times is that it is easier to get rich by getting a job at Google than investing in a successful tech company, but this fails to acknowledge that being able to get a job at Google is highly luck-dependent (relating to location, education, inherent aptitude, job availability among many others), and the entire purpose of Naval's principles - written right into the very title, is to be able to succeed without relying on luck.

I think that's enough from me. No doubt you'll stick with whatever point of view works for you, but when you're writing comments that seek to contradict a piece like this, rather than low-effort dismissals, please try think about how you could do it in a way that is helpful to someone who is looking for pointers on how they can get better results in their life.

By all means, present an alternative point of view, but try and do it with evidence and with useful (even actionable!) alternatives, rather than just negativity.

Thanks for the discussion.




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