Principles, Life and Work by Ray Dalio

Hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio is one of the world’s 100 wealthiest and a fascinating character. This is a book that I’ve picked up and put down a few times in the past few months.

Each page is packed full of big ideas on living a principled life and actionable advice to do your best at work, so I’ve found that it’s easier to absorb in small sections.

  1. There’s so much covered in this book and Ray answers some big questions like… • Why is tough love the best gift you can give?
  2. How do you operate in a world amongst a blizzard of information and noise?
  3. What is radical transparency?
  4. Is leadership innate or can it be learned?
  5. What are first order and second order consequences?
  6. What are the three stages of life?
  7. Why are “criteria for decisions” more important than the decisions themselves?

The way that he setup and ran his company Bridgewater is interesting and I remember reading that he recorded each company meeting on video (including internal catch ups with teammates), that way all sides could analyze and give each other feedback on how they did in the meeting. That sort of radical transparency isn’t for everybody, but it has sure worked out for their company.

A quote from the book:

To be successful, the “designer/manager you” has to be objective about what the “worker you” is really like, not believing in him more than he deserves, or putting him in jobs he shouldn’t be in. Instead of having this strategic perspective, most people operate emotionally and in the moment; their lives are a series of undirected emotional experiences, going from one thing to the next. If you want to look back on your life and feel you’ve achieved what you wanted to, you can’t operate that way.

Ray also made a 30-minute animated video that summarizes the key points of the book.

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