Principles: Life and Work

Principles: Life and Work

With 2831 ratings

By: Ray Dalio, Jeremy Bobb, et al.

Purchased At: $30.00

Ray Dalio, one of the world's most successful investors and entrepreneurs, shares the unconventional principles that he's developed, refined, and used over the past 40 years to create unique results in both life and business - and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.

In 1975, Ray Dalio founded an investment firm, Bridgewater Associates, out of his two-bedroom apartment in New York City. Forty years later, Bridgewater has made more money for its clients than any other hedge fund in history and has grown into the fifth most important private company in the United States, according to Fortune magazine. Dalio himself has been named to Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Along the way, Dalio discovered a set of unique principles that have led to Bridgewater's exceptionally effective culture, which he describes as "an idea meritocracy that strives to achieve meaningful work and meaningful relationships through radical transparency". It is these principles, and not anything special about Dalio - who grew up an ordinary kid in a middle-class Long Island neighborhood - that he believes are the reason behind his success.

In Principles, Dalio shares what he's learned over the course of his remarkable career. He argues that life, management, economics, and investing can all be systemized into rules and understood like machines. The book's hundreds of practical lessons, which are built around his cornerstones of "radical truth" and "radical transparency", include Dalio laying out the most effective ways for individuals and organizations to make decisions, approach challenges, and build strong teams. He also describes the innovative tools the firm uses to bring an idea meritocracy to life, such as creating "baseball cards" for all employees that distill their strengths and weaknesses and employing computerized decision-making systems to make believability-weighted decisions. While the book brims with novel ideas for organizations and institutions, Principles also offers a clear, straightforward approach to decision making that Dalio believes anyone can apply, no matter what they're seeking to achieve.

Here, from a man who has been called both "the Steve Jobs of investing" and "the philosopher king of the financial universe" (CIO magazine), is a rare opportunity to gain proven advice unlike anything you'll find in the conventional business press.

I know that many people love this book but I just could not find any value in it. I'm not the kind of person who will put down a book that I don't like. So I stuck it out and read the whole thing in hopes of finding value. The author has led a very impressive life and has made a boatload of money in his business. To me this book was more about the author explaining his success than it was about how I might achieve some additional success. Yes if I was a billionaire it would be easy to measure everything and surround myself with brilliant people. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people who read this book will not be able to put the methods in practice, primarily because they find themselves at the receiving end of these techniques.

- mitchell_gomez

The book LOOKS sharp. You look at the cover, see Bill Gates and Tony Robbins like it, and decide to open it up to see whats inside. Clearly there is a good graphic designer working with him. If you read the intro, you can tell the book is well written, and Ray Dalio has been very successful. That convinced me to purchase it and read it.

The book is split into his autobiography and his life and work principles.

The most salient points in his autobiography are that he wants you to think he is like Steve Jobs (but not as great) and that his life follows the story arc of a hero (but he's not a hero). Otherwise it's a pretty standard history of a baby boomer from New York who becomes Elite--he goes from talking about being part of the hippie culture of the 60s and 70s to brown-nosing China and their leaders. You wont learn anything new here if you are familiar with 20th century history and current events. To his credit, he has a great writing style (if he wrote this himself) and he appears to be a persuasive force (probably a key factor in his success).

His principles are meant to be the reason you bought the book, so let's give his autobiography a pass. Overall, his principles are strong, but they are recycled ideas. For example, one of his life principles is "Use the 5-Step Process to Get What You Want Out of Life" about having clear goals, recognizing your real problems, and finding solutions to overcome the problems and achieve your goals. Tony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, and I'm sure many others provide much more useful thought processes and examples to do the same thing. It's clear he's also out of touch in his examples: are you bad at accounting? Hire an accountant. Need to hire people? Find the right headhunter! He also seems to dabble in psychology for being a more effective/principled person. I agree with him that it's important. However, he doesn't seem to fully grasp how it works, and gets attached to pop psychology. For example, praising the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, which has received a lot of criticism from experts.

There's nothing seriously wrong with this book. There's just nothing in it that would make me recommend it to anyone. The book covers a lot of subjects, and for each subject I would recommend reading another book.

- louis_kim

This book was fantastic and extremely organized. The author starts the book by giving the reader a background on who he is and how he arrived at the principles that were outlined. This part of the book is good for anyone that's not familiar with the author's backstory. It was somewhat astounding to learn that Mr. Dalio was literally broke in 1982 and has come-back to build a 150 billion dollar hedge fund.

In the second part of the book, the author gets into the stuff that's incredibly important, but difficult to implement. In short, he provides a roadmap and tools (via algorithmic means) to accomplish anything you want in life. There's a ton of substance, definition, & practicality on how to action your objectives. He has a five-step process to achieve what you want out of life, and it couldn't be more understandable and reasonable. The tricky part for most people (in my humble opinion) is finding a goal or objective that they can focus and remain passionate about for an extended period. If that's not your problem, then Mr. Dalio's advice in the second part of the book is significantly profound.

In the third section of the book, the author teaches you how to build the mastermind group/organization that's going to achieve the goals/mission you outlined in the second part of the book. The knowledge and thought that went into these 300 pages of the book are quite impressive. In short, the reader needs to get the culture right, get the people right, and then build and evolve the protocols that run the organization at a fundamental level. There's so much granularity behind those core concepts that it'll keep you busy trying to absorb everything.

In my humble opinion, MBA programs should be designing management courses around the information contained in this book. It's extremely thorough, practical, and organized.

Negatives. The book is a long read. If you're looking for something that's quick and easy, you're in the wrong place. The book is so organized (which I personally liked) that some might find it too programmatic. If you're looking for surprises and adventurous stories with your learning, you won't get that in the last two parts of the book. Dalio is all business.

In general, I'm so impressed the author took the time and effort to teach the world everything he has learned. You can tell he truly wants to help others be successful. The book has taught me the importance of trying to understand the fundamental building blocks of my own life. I now have an appreciation for trying to understand how things work and how I can model success habits around those principles. I've started to list my own principles, but it's hard identifying unique ideas beyond those found in the book (because it's so thorough). But the important part is that I'm aware of developing my own list and co-opting or creating new principles. This book has had a profound impact on me - it's definitely worth more than 5 stars.

- allison_reyes

The book, physically, is very nicely bound and produced. It's print is lovely, black and red ink, and is organised into three parts. It's essentially a huge bullet-pointed document with one or two paragraphs under each sub-point. There are black and red ribbons to mark pages, which I've always liked in books.

It's an unusual book. I find myself swinging between enjoying Ray's wisdom and feeling like I need to take it all with a huge pinch of salt because of the massive amount of survivorship, hindsight and outcome bias in play.

The book is also a contradiction, since it is largely about open-minded and different points of view and yet its entirely Ray's unchallenged points of view. I'm a software engineer and I remember once reading a programming principles book where maybe five programmers all chimed in with their own opinions and challenges on the assertions in the book, which was really cool.

Maybe another billionaire will say there's a case for close-mindedness, focus and shutting out opinion that will lead to analysis paralysis. Maybe there are books by leading psychologists that have devoted years to a topic that would be better to read, such as Thinking Fast and Slow. For older or more voracious or aspirational business, management or "self improvement" book readers, much of Ray's thinking will simply rhyme with what you may already believe.

It's probably wishful thinking to expect by reading a huge list of advice you'll magically be reprogrammed and have established a set of good thought patterns, esp. if you're trying to improve in isolation; you're not surrounded by people mirroring and modelling good practice. Though I rarely found myself disagreeing with anything Ray writes. There's a lot in the book to take in and I don't know how much will stick.

The biggest thing for me, and I say this as a "fan" of Ray, is that I struggle with the reviews of his company on Glassdoor and the _reality_ of people working under his principles vs. other companies that highly-successful while having much higher ratings and are anecdotally nicer places to work, such as Salesforce.

When other companies can achieve so much and foster happy, purposeful, creative and fulfilled people by taking a different approach, you have to ask whether his principles have really led to better lives, better outcomes for his employees or whether Ray conflates how well he's done with achieving his life goals with how well everyone else is doing?

- bexley_harris

- This is NOT a book. It is a divine manifesto. This is the Gita part 2 for me. If you have a 'lifetime' fav book, then it's time to replace Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged with this one.
- I've been a huge fan of Ray for years, but this book details WHY he is so successful.
- The ability to separate results from causes & peek in between the gaps is the specialty of the book.
- Personally, what I love is the reinforcement of the principles of 'radical transparency & idea meritocracy' that are the solid pillars of this book.
- The truthfulness; the bare-knuckle punches that extoll the reader to be honest, truthful & REAL are the parts that make this book glow.
- The chapters that deal with people management with the focus to be empathetic yet demanding are special. Rarely do you come across a leader of such gravity writing about HOW to handle people
- I love the no-nonsense, 'non-negotiable' principles laid down in the book.
- The real encounters, cases studies & insights Ray shares are priceless.

THIS IS NOT A BOOK for folks who operate a Political, Bossy, "I am right" styled operation. This is a book that can turn you first into pixy dust & then into God.

Ratings : 100/10

- cayson_ramos

J'ai découvert la version PDF gratuite de Principles en 2011. A l'époque, Ray Dalio n'avait pas encore étoffé ce texte, et rajouté une mini-bio, ce qui a donné la version 2017 que j'ai aussi lue et dont je donne un avis ici.
Je suis tombé sur ce livre par hasard. J'avais lu dans une article de journal qu'une société du nom de "Bridgewater Associates" allait construire un siège social d'une valeur de 750 millions de dollars aux US. J'étais étonné de ne pas connaître cette société, car je m'intéresse de près à l'économie. Après recherches, j'appris que cette société était en fait le plus grand hedge-fund du monde, et que son fondateur, un homme d'une soixantaine d'années issu de la classe moyenne américaine, avait écrit un fascicule pour expliquer quels étaient les secrets de la réussite de son organisation selon lui. C'était la première version de Principles sortie gratuitement en 2011 en PDF.
Ce livre a changé ma vie car il donne des règles simples pour gérer efficacement à la fois sa vie professionnelle et sa vie personnelle. La thèse principale de l'auteur est que l'obstacle majeur de nos vies est de ne pas arriver à voir la réalité (par peur, ego, etc...) et que, si on fait l'effort de ne pas se la masquer même si elle fait parfois mal, et que partant de cette réalité on construit des raisonnements en se demandant toujours "est-ce vrai ?", alors rien n'est irréalisable. Bien sûr, je schématise à outrance, mais je vous recommande chaudement de lire ce livre car peut-être qu'il changera votre vie comme il a changé la mienne.

Points forts
- conseils simples et de bon sens qui peuvent changer votre vie professionnelles et personnelle
- crédibilité de l'auteur

Point faible
- commencez par trouver le PDF gratuit de 2011 qui est l'essence du livre de 2017

- cameron_wright

A very interesting read and insight into the mind of the creator of the most successful hedgefund known to man.
I wish it would elaborate more on what role meditation had in his life...though I suppose there are plenty of interviews you can watch on that if you are interested. Though the first part was interesting, covering his personal life, what the majority of people bought this book for, I imagine, are his work principles, and the book delivers. The main idea is essentially to treat everything like a machine or algorithm. When you have set up different algorithms for different types of situations you can carry out decisions more quickly with less bias.
Now I am looking forward to his next book that will cover his economic knowledge, I can't wait.
If your mind is full of wonder and you always look for ways of improving yourself, this books is for you.

- khari_morgan

The book is very inspiring in terms of establishing guiding principles in life and work. Unfortunately I think Ray and many readers think that the principles are valid for everyone as they are. Ray Dalio and his hedge fund is in a very unique position in terms of decision making process, recruitment and how they work. This is definitely not applicable for everyone. Use the book as inspiration to create your own principles from scratch but don't use his as a starting point.

- brenden_ruiz

This book is good, but a bit too American for me (i.e. the author talks a lot about his life and experiences but there is also a lot of stuff about American politics, economy etc. which is not as interesting).

Some principles that he shares are really useful and can be applicable to most people but some others are quite unique and you're not quite sure when those could be helpful.

I read it once but not sure will read the book again

- analia_gomez

Ray Dalio ist seit Jahrzehnten einer der Top-Leute im Hedge-Fund-Geschäft, der in diesem Buch tiefe Einblicke in sein Leben gemäß seines Prinzips "Radical Transparency" gibt. Und auch das Buch ist von entsprechender Qualität, die man von ihm gewohnt ist. Doch das Problem liegt, meiner Meinung nach, nicht in der 1. Hälfte bzw. an den ersten 200 Seiten des Buches, sondern an dem restlichen Inhalt.
Man hätte das Buch ohne Aufwand um 200 - 250 Seiten kürzen können (ohne Emotionen, Gefühl, Inhalt oder sonstiges zu verlieren), da in der 2. Hälfte (Work Principles) letztlich nur die Inhalte der ersten Hälfte (Life Principles) auf einen größeren Rahmen und andere Menschen übertragen werden. Deswegen kommt es einem oft vor, als wiederhole er ein und denselben Punkt ca. 10 Mal, sodass man ab der 2. Hälfte des Buches weniger Spaß am Lesen hat, als in der 1. Hälfte, und deswegen die 2. Hälfte regelrecht überfliegt.

Trotz dieses wichtigen Einschnitts kann man aus Ray Dalio`s Buch sehr viel wertvolle Tipps mitnehmen, vor allem da er seine Thesen sehr gut belegt und außerdem auch eine Vielzahl an echten Methoden bzw. Technologien beschreibt, die bei Bridgewater eingesetzt werden, um seine Principles auch in Taten umzusetzen (z.B. Apps/Software wie Issue Logs, Dot Collector, Pain Button, etc.). Solange man das Buch mit diesem Wissen beginnt, kann man nicht negativ überrascht werden.

- lukas_martin

After reading the book I am left feeling that Ray is a brilliant business man, just like Jobs and other visionaries, but also, just like Jobs, Ray is a very dangerous person because he doesn't understand how relationships work. In essence, he tries to put on an ethical mask by saying that relationships are important to him, but in reality he is an excellent manipulator. He comes up with strategies and have spent countless hours to figure out people, not because he loves them, wants to help them, but because he was fed up with people and wanted to understand the "social code".

I think he does a great job at business, but really he should delete all the chapters about life principles and let people who are better than him at these topics lead the way. I expected a business oriented book, but in the end it felt like his redemtion story that he needed to write so all the people he hurt can understand why he hurt them and how it was their fault.

Ray reminds me of Gordon Geko in the new Wall Street film where he says he cares about family, but then has no awarness how to actually do it.

- galilea_morgan

Not exactly what I was looking for. The author has reflected on his psychology and in being conscious of this, been able to make some wise decisions which have benefited his financial career. Being able to reflect on my own traits and behaviour, it struck me as odd that someone should document their's and sell a book based on it. Reads a bit like a diary.

- jaylah_moore

I really love this book. I bought two and gave one to a sibling! It is written from an experience point of view from a humble person who is not only super intelligent and extremely successful however come from the background of up and downs that most people can identify with. I have actually used some of his principles in a book I have written and trying to implement his principles in a company I have set up as well. I am really looking forward to the APP he intends to release on this. The book is written in such a way that, you can just flick through after reading it to get to pages where you can immediately implement an advice on a page. one thing that has stuck with me is - Make your decisions based on the second and third order consequences not just on the first! This is applicable to everything! personal like, work and as people who lead large infrastructure projects

- tate_gomez

This is by far the best book I've read for years. No only does it present some personal principles. It also presents some work principles. I absolutely love the equation: Pain + Reflection = Progress.

I have always praised radical truthfulness and radical transparency. But I could never argue why. This book presented me with the answers. Both in a private context and in professionel settings.

This one is going to be read 1 a year.

Thank you Ray.

- kaya_king

Often we read books about Steve Jobs and Elon Musk written by other people which tries to understand how these guys function. The views are still third party.
Ray Dalio, on the other hand, wrote a book on his way of dealing with the world. For the first time ever you can see through a brain of a billionaire. He doesn't only shares his own set of principles, he tells you how to build your own set of principles by embracing your reality and your world. This book is insanely rational and analytical and teaches you how to look at everything related to you objectively.

This book can help you become a more evolved human being at a faster rate!

- selena_nelson

I found this a little slow initially, interesting but quite a long read. However, background is definitely worth sticking with though, the final (work principles) section really brings it together with actionable advice on how to really keep momentum, innovation and excellence improving - centred around people and culture.

Running a small consulting business myself, this advice is invaluable and as credible as it gets from someone who has done has built such a great business to huge scale extremely successfully.

Can’t wait to get started on rolling out an idea meritocracy!

- martin_watson

Principles', a collection of Self-Help style banalities that could have been written down on a few pages - blown into a 500+ page book.

Whether he is wrestling with philanthropy or outlining his take on people Mr. Dalio seems to be disconnected from his target audience (what is it by the way?), reciting one trite message after another. Here is one example, worth one full page in the book: 'BAD: Avoid facing "harsh realities"'; 'GOOD: Face "harsh realities". The 5 step process he outlines 'to get what you want out of life' is, to put it mildly, unoriginal:

1. Have clear goals
2. Identify and don't tolerate the problems that stand in the way of your achieving those goals
3. Accurately diagnose the problems to get at their root causes
4. Design plans that will get you around them
5. Do what's necessary to push those designs through to results

This is the sort of advice one expects from late night infomercials, not from a guy who has 150 billion under management. The rest of the book is a mix of so many such platitudes they start to grind you down (opening a page at random: 'a great organization has both great people and a great culture').

Speaking of culture, Mr Dalio is at his best when espousing his concept of 'Radical Transparency', where people are expected to always speak their mind and rate each other quantitatively. It's an intriguing philosophy and I would have liked much more detail on how to implement, test and practice this new sociological Principle that we all know worked so well for us in kindergarten. I would also be curious to better understand the kind of culture that it resulted in, the opinion of people who have been through it and found it beneficial - and those who have not. But this tome is about breadth, not depth.

Other than for that, and a few pages at the beginning of the book where Mr. Dalio recounts his early days, I found this book a frustrating time waster. Perhaps I expected to read more about the part of the Principles that did not make it into the book, Economic and Investment Principles. They will apparently be the subject of a follow on book. If they are written in the style of 'Life and Work', don't count me as a customer.

- talon_turner

It is incredible just how humble Dalio is. The book makes you think about your own thought processes, making you ask yourself "how do i know i am right?".
Dalio does a great job explaining how to use real empathy and get into somebody elses head as well as how to make great decisions by really being honest with yourself and questioning what you know.

- shepard_sanchez

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