Principles: Life and Work

Principles: Life and Work

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Ray Dalio

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Book Details
 495 p
 File Size 
 6,514 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 978-1-5011-2405-1 (ebook) 
 2017 by Ray Dalio

About the Author
Ray Dalio, who grew up a very ordinary middle-class kid from Long Island,
started the investment company Bridgewater Associates out of his twobedroom
apartment when he was 26 years old, and built it over the next 42
years into what Fortune magazine assessed to be the fifth most important
private company in the U.S. He did that by creating a unique culture—an idea
meritocracy based on radical truth, radical transparency, and believabilityweighted
decision making—that he believes most people and organizations
can use to better achieve their own goals.
Along the way, Dalio became one of the 100 most influential (according
to Time) and 100 wealthiest (according to Forbes) people in the world, and
because his unique investment principles changed the industry, CIO
magazine called him “the Steve Jobs of investing.” (Those principles will be
conveyed in his next book, Economic and Investment Principles.) He
believes that his success isn’t due to anything special about him—it is the
result of principles he learned, largely by making mistakes, from which he
also believes most people can benefit.
At 68 years old, Dalio’s primary objective is to pass along these principles
in case others find them of value.


Before I begin telling you what I think, I want to establish that I’m a “dumb
shit” who doesn’t know much relative to what I need to know. Whatever
success I’ve had in life has had more to do with my knowing how to deal
with my not knowing than anything I know. The most important thing I
learned is an approach to life based on principles that helps me find out
what’s true and what to do about it.
I’m passing along these principles because I am now at the stage in my life
in which I want to help others be successful rather than to be more successful
myself. Because these principles have helped me and others so much, I want
to share them with you. It’s up to you to decide how valuable they really are
and what, if anything, you want to do with them.

Principles are fundamental truths that serve as the foundations for
behavior that gets you what you want out of life. They can be applied again
and again in similar situations to help you achieve your goals.
Every day, each of us is faced with a blizzard of situations we must
respond to. Without principles we would be forced to react to all the things
life throws at us individually, as if we were experiencing each of them for the
first time. If instead we classify these situations into types and have good
principles for dealing with them, we will make better decisions more quickly
and have better lives as a result. Having a good set of principles is like having
a good collection of recipes for success. All successful people operate by
principles that help them be successful, though what they choose to be
successful at varies enormously, so their principles vary.

To be principled means to consistently operate with principles that can be
clearly explained. Unfortunately, most people can’t do that. And it’s very rare
for people to write their principles down and share them. That is a shame. I
would love to know what principles guided Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs,
Winston Churchill, Leonardo da Vinci, and others so I could clearly
understand what they were going after and how they achieved it and could
compare their different approaches. I’d like to know which principles are
most important to the politicians who want me to vote for them and to all the
other people whose decisions affect me. Do we have common principles that
bind us together—as a family, as a community, as a nation, as friends across
nations? Or do we have opposing principles that divide us? What are they?
Let’s be specific. This is a time when it is especially important for us to be
clear about our principles.

My hope is that reading this book will prompt you and others to discover
your own principles from wherever you think is best and ideally write them
down. Doing that will allow you and others to be clear about what your
principles are and understand each other better. It will allow you to refine
them as you encounter more experiences and to reflect on them, which will
help you make better decisions and be better understood.

Table of Contents

1 My Call to Adventure: 1949–1967
2 Crossing the Threshold: 1967–1979
3 My Abyss: 1979–1982
4 My Road of Trials: 1983–1994
5 The Ultimate Boon: 1995–2010
6 Returning the Boon: 2011–2015
7 My Last Year and My Greatest Challenge: 2016–2017
8 Looking Back from a Higher Level

1 Embrace Reality and Deal with It
2 Use the 5-Step Process to Get What You Want Out of Life
3 Be Radically Open-Minded
4 Understand That People Are Wired Very Differently
5 Learn How to Make Decisions Effectively
Life Principles: Putting It All Together
Summary and Table of Life Principles

Summary and Table of Work Principles
1 Trust in Radical Truth and Radical Transparency
2 Cultivate Meaningful Work and Meaningful Relationships
3 Create a Culture in Which It Is Okay to Make Mistakes and Unacceptable Not to
Learn from Them
4 Get and Stay in Sync
5 Believability Weight Your Decision Making
6 Recognize How to Get Beyond Disagreements

7 Remember That the WHO Is More Important than the WHAT
8 Hire Right, Because the Penalties for Hiring Wrong Are Huge
9 Constantly Train, Test, Evaluate, and Sort People

10 Manage as Someone Operating a Machine to Achieve a Goal
11 Perceive and Don’t Tolerate Problems
12 Diagnose Problems to Get at Their Root Causes
13 Design Improvements to Your Machine to Get Around Your Problems
14 Do What You Set Out to Do
15 Use Tools and Protocols to Shape How Work Is Done
16 And for Heaven’s Sake, Don’t Overlook Governance!
Work Principles: Putting It All Together



As I said at the outset, my goal is to pass along the principles that worked
well for me; what you do with them is up to you.
I of course hope that they will help you visualize your own audacious
goals, navigate through your painful mistakes, have quality reflections, and
come up with good principles of your own that you will systematically follow
to produce outcomes that vastly exceed your expectations. I hope that they
will help you do these things both individually and when working with
others. And, since your journey and evolution will certainly be a struggle, I
hope that these principles will help you struggle and evolve well. Perhaps
they will even inspire you and others to put your principles in writing and
collectively figure out what’s best in an idea-meritocratic way. If I could tilt
the world even one degree more in that direction, that would thrill me.
Along these lines, there is more to come. Because I know that having tools
and protocols is necessary to helping people convert what they want to do
into actually doing it, I will soon be making the ones we’ve created available to you.

I feel I have now done the best I can to pass along my Life and Work
Principles. Of course, we aren’t done with our struggles until we die. Since
my latest struggle has been to pass along whatever I have that has been of
value, I feel a certain sense of relief to have gotten these principles out to
you, and a sense of contentment as I end this book and turn my attention to
passing along my economic and investment principles.