Play stupid games. Win stupid prizes.

Note to my future self…

Today I listened to a great podcast from Naval Ravikant in which he discusses this idea that in life people tend to play two types of games – status games and wealth games.

Unfortunately, I believe these two games get often intertwined so it’s hard to distinguish between the two of them. However, Naval argues and I agree with him that status games are always zero sum games, while wealth games can be positive sum games. From Naval:

Status: is your rank in a social hierarchy like politics or sports. It’s a zero-sum game: to be a winner, there must be a loser.

According to Naval the problem is that by playing these status games, to win at a status game you have to put somebody else down. That’s why you should avoid status games in your life because they make you into an angry combative person.

Wealth: is assets that earn while you sleep. Wealth is the factory, the robots that’s cranking out things. Wealth is the computer program that’s running at night, that’s serving other customers. But really the reason you want wealth is because it buys you your freedom.

Naval argues that wealth is a positive sum game by making the case that everybody in the world can have a house. Because you have a house doesn’t take away from my ability to have a house. Now not everyone can have a mansion but that’s a problem of status not wealth per se (:


The takeaway for me is pretty clear. We should look to play wealth games if that’s what we want and we should avoid playing status games at all cost. In other words:

Play stupid games. Win stupid prizes.

Now back to work…