Hunting Knowledge with Eric Jorgenson
How the author of The Almanack of Naval Ravikant curates wisdom
Eric Jorgenson has one big idea. Behind his work as a product strategist at Zaarly, behind his writing and blogging, behind the creation of his recent book, The Almanack of Naval Ravikant, there is the idea that the best thing a human can do is help another human know more.
Of course, to help someone else know more, you have to start by knowing more yourself. Eric is no casual reader, not a passive consumer of culture. He is a hunter of knowledge, and he believes that great knowledge can be hiding anywhere.
Snippets of wisdom from great books (Charlie Munger’s Poor Charlie’s Almanack is a big influence on Eric’s idea of knowledge sharing), tweets, ideas from his colleagues at Zaarly, anything he thinks he might one day come back to goes to live in a series of giant Google docs, like habitats for wisdom where it’s always open season.
As Eric puts it, “My work product is in Google Docs, and words are my medium.” He uses these docs when looking for inspiration for new features that get built at Zaarly, or for when he needs to find a piece of information he knows he’s seen before. Some of it serves as purely personal reference material that he can turn to whenever he needs to make a decision.
In ways private and public,what Eric hunts gets rebuilt and renewed, transforming flashes of insight into content that can serve more than his own needs. When he’s working on his blog, Evergreen, he turns what he’s captured out into the wild again, in fresh forms that will reach and teach others. On a much bigger scale, that’s how he built his book, The Almanack of Naval Ravikant, turning the investor’s every tweet, talk, interview, and essay into a compendium of Navalisms that could be shared with the world.
“As a relatively young person, maybe I don't yet have a huge wealth of incredible life experiences to draw on. But what I can do is seek out ideas that are time-tested, well-vetted, and likely to be helpful—and then talk about them, curate them, or repackage them in a way that is equally timeless.”
In this interview, Eric walks us through how he uses the Google docs to build his compendium of knowledge and create new stuff, like The Almanack, from all that raw material. Read on to learn how you can use his methods to store the gains of your own hunting—to organize and synthesize—and to make new.
Let’s dive in!