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#2123: The PDF of Naval Ravikant

The PDF of Naval Ravikant

The Twitterverse is all aflutter tweeting and retweeting pithy quotations from The Almanack of Naval Ravikant. Ravikant's ideas are excellent, but the editing of the almanack is inconsistent and the content is repetitive. It does a disservice to the knowledge it contains.

The combination of the popularity and the shoddy work pissed me off. I hate things that are half-assed, and I double-hate them if fools make them popular. So I put over 35 hours into The PDF and a lot of angst into whether or not I should release it.

You can download it here.

Dude, is this thing on?

In early April, some tax and immigration issues reared their ugly heads and knocked my newsletter off the rails. The dust has settled, and I'm getting back into a routine.

Here's how I've set things up:

  • Odd Simple is a collection of these newsletters. (Once signed in, subscribers can see a list of previous newsletters and additional menu items.)
  • Redline Alpine is where I write about training for mountain sports. Rather than continue as a blog, I'd like to gradually convert RLA into a technical magazine.

At some point I may write about tax and immigration issues for anyone who lives a cross-border life in the US and Canada. It's all pretty annoying and draconian. In particular, it's a great reason to move to Andorra.

Range, by David Epstein

Range explores the idea that "our greatest strength is the exact opposite of narrow specialization. It is the ability to integrate broadly."

I hope it's true. I've always struggled with choosing a devotion. I tend to go deep for several years and then change course, trying to maintain my position in the thing just abandoned. I usually pinball between business and mountain sports. It's been effective, but it's also made me self-conscious about messing around.

So I was relieved to read that my semi-decade detours may not have been a bad thing.

"If the amount of early, specialized practice in a narrow area were the key to innovative performance, savants would dominate every domain they touched ... [But] no savant has ever been known to become a [significant creator] who changed their field."

In contrast, there's some correlation between the degree of success within a field and the degree of dabbling outside of it.

Compared to other scientists, Nobel laureates are at least twenty-two times more likely to partake as an amateur actor, dancer, magician, or other type of performer.

Don't get me wrong. I agree that if "variety is the spice of life," anyone trying to survive on it will starve to death. So the sweet spot is probably between a savant and a dilettante.