Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

  • Life & Work Principles - Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio is someone I truly admire and his book Principles: Life and Work is intended as a pivotal masterpiece meant to change the business landscape.
Cocky? Sure.

But it’s not far off. After all, Ray has decades of Wall Street experience and manages the world’s largest hedge fund, which he built from the ground up starting in the 1970s.
After reading Principles, one thing is clear to me: this is a solid book and a must-read for anyone in any business.

Granted, while most of Ray’s advice is sound, it may not apply to all of us. He developed his method over time as he was building Bridgewater Associates.

This is big business he runs a fund that has earned its investors a whopping $49 billion. Clearly, Ray is a genius, but he’s a Harvard genius.

But, if you can work through the heft, there are some tremendous takeaways. What I also found interesting was the foundation of the book.

The question, then: will his advice work for smaller and mid-sized companies? As you’ll immediately see, some parts of his book read like an Ivy League MBA assignment, which isn’t always well-suited for the kinds of businesses we’re building.

Life & Work Principles - Ray Dalio

Ray developed these “principles” after getting a performance assessment from his three top executives and each pointed out that he was, for lack of a better word, a jerk.

As one wrote, “Ray sometimes says or does things to employees which make them feel incompetent, unnecessary, humiliated, overwhelmed, belittled, pressed or otherwise bad.”

It was a tough pill to swallow but, also, a wakeup call that led him to rethink how he dealt with others.

As you read Principles: Life and Work book, you’ll get a clear-cut view into each principle.

At the top of his list is what he calls “radical transparency” in short, the notion that anyone in his lousiness should be able to see its inner workings and also, can propose their own thought without fear of censure or retribution This, to me, was the greatest point it the entire book.

That said, his principles are still tough maybe a little painful, even. He believes in evaluating people and situations “accurately, not kindly,” for example.

He espouses tough love, urging people to accept constructive criticism, to look at themselves honestly, and to put corrective action into play. To be honest, these principles match many of those I’ve learned the hard way, so I found myself agreeing with him more often than not.

I can’t say that Ray has written the Ten Commandments for business, but he’s at least been audacious enough to try. And frankly, he’s come closer to achieving the goal than anyone else I’ve seen.

I can’t fault that.

Life & Work Principles - Ray Dalio

I hope you will give Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio a chance. It might help you as a person or organization to help achieve business goals.

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Nicky Cane