Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Principles: Life and Work” as Want to Read:
Principles: Life and Work
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Principles: Life and Work

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  46,470 ratings  ·  2,884 reviews
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 forty 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, o
Audio CD, 592 pages
Published September 19th 2017 by Simon Schuster Audio
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  46,470 ratings  ·  2,884 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Principles: Life and Work
Dec 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I'm having trouble understanding the hype around this book except that the author is super-rich. So maybe no one wants to contradict him, or even edit his writing for rampant redundancies.

Much of the "original" advice is problematic. Radical transparency, which is the main concept, is a non-starter in a culture of corruption and incompetence. And that's what we're living in. (Detroit: An American Autopsy). So, if you're a mid-level manager in a large organization, you will probably hav
Greg Swierad
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ray Dalio showed us, that in order to build a successful hedge fund it’s not enough to follow your intuition. It’s much wiser to follow a set of principles that will guide you and protect you from bad decisions. He divided those principles into life principles and work principles.

The top 3 principles I applied to my life are:
* Think of yourself - how to achieve what you want by analyzing what’s true.
* Be radically open-minded
* Look at the machine (you and your life) from the higher level.

I wrote
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it
The funniest part was when he talked about his favorite book, Joseph Campbell's man of a thousand faces. I read that book as an interesting work of comparative myths across cultures revealing common themes in humanity and the struggle of life. Dalio read it as a life map and self-help book. Like he read about the hero's journey and thought it was about him? Maybe that's only odd to me.

Anyway, the book is interesting. I'd skip the first part and go right to the middle and the end where he talks m
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I first began reading it, I rather liked it. I also liked the idea of it: a successful man who has attempted to identify the specific habits or behaviors that enabled his success. I was especially interested in his comment about having put the principles into a computer so that he could have software make the same decision and then compare the results to what he and his team came up with, so that any differences could be resolved and the rule base improved. He brings this up early, but neve ...more
Always Pouting
I was looking through the books I had on my kindle and for some reason at some point I had bought this. I'm not sure why and I honestly had no idea who the author was even though I actually know about Bridgewater. Usually I have a tendency to just be a derisive piece of shit but when I was reading this book, Ray kept repeating that one should keep an open mind and so I thought you know what, I will keep an open mind Ray.

I actually did enjoy the first third of the book when he was talking about
Otis Chandler
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Otis by: Brian Percival
Amazing book, must read for anyone who has to make decisions in life - that means everyone - but I think the more impact your decisions have the more useful his frameworks are. I'm giving it 5 stars for the big ideas and uniqueness of them - though I will warn you that the book is very long and highly repetitive - there is probably a way to read only parts of it and still get all the big ideas. Also (as I do for most books these days) I read it with a combo of Kindle ebook and Audible, and Ray r ...more
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
TL:DR: You can just watch my summary here:

Animated Book Review

Ray Dalio has an amazing story, and this book explains many principles that he uses every day.
This book contains his biography and his hedge fund cornerstone rules, you have to read it!
Zenki the Pixie
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019
I love how Ray Dalio gamifies his life. He treats his failures as puzzles or missions where his goal is to reflect on the pain and get to the root of the problem. If he succeeds, he'd gain a gem in the form of a principle. There have been many gems throughout his life, and he compiled and shared them in this book. ...more
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Only 2 reasons to read this book:
1. You work at Bridgewater
2. You haven’t read any recent business/self-help books

The information is pretty standard. The beginning is a memoir which was kind of interesting. The principles themselves are trite. Would not recommend this book.
Henrik Haapala
• "The most important thing i learned is an approach to life based on principles that helps me find out whats true and what to do about it."
• "Principles are fundamental truths that serve as the foundations for behaviour 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."
1) What do you want?
2) What is true?
3) What should you do to achieve what you want in light of what is true?
• "Havi
Eric Franklin
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The utility of the content in the book is worth 5 stars but I'm docking a star for the smarmy tone within the historical section about early Bridgewater and early-career Dalio. I'm certain I will return to the material and continue to dig out sometimes radical approaches to my life and work, but I'm also pretty sure I'll never go cover to cover again. ...more
Dec 30, 2017 rated it did not like it
I'm always interested to read how smart people think, but I found this book somewhat baffling. What is new that Dalio thinks he is saying here? I guess it is that good lives and good companies have principles that are evaluated with experience. Does anyone not know this? Socrates said something along these lines a while back. I think Dalio's book says more about the industry he works in than the remarkableness of Bridgewater. I wouldn't work for a place where I couldn't say what I thought. Is th ...more
I like Ray, but this book made me cringe. I won't leave my full review (it has many not-so-nice words). But I'll say this, Ray talks about "meritocracy" and "radical whatever" a thousand times in the book. He obviously talks about his principles. What he wants you to know is this:

Meritocracy + (Your) Principles + Radical transparency = SUCCESS

What he doesn't account for, and what most successful people don't account for, is luck. Always, the real formula is:

(Whatever a successful person says) +
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
I totally loved the autobiographical part.

Some of the ideas on the how-to-self-help part also make sense. Some not really: radical transparency? For reals?

Imagine someone being radically transparent at home: 'Mum&Dad, fuck you and the homework!' How's that for transparent? I think that's Utopia on the go. And a very toxic environment in making.
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best part of Ray Dalio that I appreciate as a startup founder is being brutally honest, even allowing others to inflict constructive criticism towards yourself. Thank you, Ray.
Morgan Blackledge
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh MAN is this a great book.

In sum:
- know what matters.
- design and build a great machine.
- cultivate an idea meritocracy.
- commit to know the truth.
- be radically open minded and transparent.
- hire and listen to reliable people.
- argue productively.
- hire people who are good, reliable and productive.
- fire people who aren’t great, even if you like them.
- sit back and watch beautiful shit happen.

I know none of this makes much sense.

Just read it.

You won’t be sorry.

Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book isn't perfect, but I'm glad I read it.

Basically three parts: 1) background on Dalio and Bridgewater (interesting, but only if you're into biographies or accounts of important companies); 2) advice for how to live one's own life 3) principles for engineering and managing a company. 2 is probably of the widest appeal, and 3 is what I found the most interesting (although also the most hit-or-miss).

I'm friends with an ex-Bridgewater employee, and I knew of Dalio and Bridgewater but not in
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Read a summary & save yourself the time. The level of codification of principles in this book is impossible to retain, let alone put into practice. The same ideas get repeated over & over again. A few helpful nuggets here & there, but overall not worth the effort to go through the entire book.
Sten Tamkivi
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are probably a few reasons why you might not intuitively take well balanced life advice from a hedge fund manager, but Dalio is an interesting character with a fascinating life story (which the first part of the book goes through).

Overall, the advice you should take from this book is less about how to live your life, but rather how to go about deeply thinking about the decisions you make and the pain you inevitably confront, structuring your learnings for the future to keep iterating on th
Apr 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
I did not enjoy this book. In general, his principles are quite intuitive and obvious in my opinion. I picked it up because it seemed to be so popular, and I sometimes get pulled into that trap for some reason. Much of the first half seemed self-indulgent, but it got a little better when he started talking about his principles, but overall I didn't take anything away from this book. ...more
Nov 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-kindle
(3.0) don’t read the autobiographical part, section on decision-making (chapter 5 of work principles I think) was great. I DO look forward to reading his book on investing principles; they're probably spot on.

Auto bio is useless and set me up to dislike/distrust the rest. He loves himself so much, takes credit for almost everything, makes empty statements about striving for “meaningful work and meaningful relationships,” but didn’t demonstrate that he really found either. Saying it over and over
Tamer Salama
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This is sold under 'business/management' but it should be 'self-help'. I really wanted to like this book but can't bring myself to even finish it. Hearing things like 'Principle 4.2.2' made it very difficult to keep up with the principles structure and hierarchy, quickly losing what Dario is trying to communicate. I think Dario is fond of categorization and pattern identification (perhaps from his work as an investor) - but such organization is more suited to a text book rather than a self-help ...more
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would give this book 7 out of 5 stars. In other words, this book is to business books what Tesla is to cars.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book came to me highly recommended but on reading it I don't think it lives up to the hype.

As a book standing on its own two legs it's just not very good. Far too long, repetitive, and riddled with turgid prose. I suspect if this book was written by a mere millionaire (rather than billionaire) it wouldn't have the fans that it does. I also felt like the bulk of the principles were at an odd level of abstraction: not quite low level enough to be immediately useful but also not high-minded en
Aug 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
Award Winning Book

The Most Boring Book Ever Read Award

Ray Dalio came across as a flake. Ray was at the right place, at the right time, and made a lot of money. Not sure why everyone that has money thinks we need to hear from them. 12 hours of my life that I will never get back. Skip the book and wait for the movie.

Thanks Ray :-|
Sebastian Gebski
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5-5 stars

I was afraid that very hyped "Principles" may be useful just for people interested in investment funds or similar paths of career, but fortunately it's not the case. Book gets a rather slow start - Dalio presents his reasoning for a book like that (very valid) & then goes through the history of his life, showing how principles have help him to get where he currently is - frankly, it's the weakest part of the book.

But then, suddenly things get better, when author gets straight to Princ
Sanford Chee
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
disclaimer: i switched to the original pdf version of this book about 200 pages in, i think the book could have been condensed significantly.

i found a lot of the generalizations from this book questionable in their 'truthiness'. there were moments when dalio describes how planning a project should take no more than between "10-15 hours" or something of the like, which i found absurd as an across-the-board rule independent of any kind of context. i'm not sure if this was only present in the pamp
Nov 26, 2019 rated it liked it
First of all to edify Ray Dalio and who he is - Ray started his company out of his 2 bedroom apartment and built it to: 5th most important private company (Fortune), 1 of the 100 richest people in the world (Forbes), and one of the 100 most influential (Time)

I learned some "principles" in this book but I didn't get as much as I was hoping for. There are some very good concrete principles but there is so much repetition I started losing my mind lol if he says "Idea Meritocracy" one more time!!! I
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first half of the book could almost qualify for 5 stars. Very simple but interesting take on how to filter out important things and how it's less about self and more about how to put self in context. The first half will be something to go back to every now and then, too many quotable points there.

The second half of the book is a typical American style repetition. The toc in the middle of the book more or less covers it, hence not more than 3 stars for that.

The book can sound utter nonsense t
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Readers' Club: * ReadingChallenge-02 2 7 Feb 25, 2021 05:51PM  
Entrepreneurs Boo...: Principles: Ray Dalio 1 42 Sep 22, 2017 09:18PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Intelligent Investor
  • Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
  • MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom
  • Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow
  • Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
  • Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
  • The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
  • The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness
  • Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
  • The 4-Hour Workweek
  • The 48 Laws of Power
  • The Psychology of Money
  • Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People
  • Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
  • Measure What Matters
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Raymond Dalio (born August 8, 1949) is an American investor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist. Dalio is the founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates, one of the world's largest hedge funds. ...more

Articles featuring this book

Need some help planning your summer reading? Goodreads employees are a very bookish bunch, so we asked our colleagues to...
180 likes · 43 comments
“If you’re not failing, you’re not pushing your limits, and if you’re not pushing your limits, you’re not maximizing your potential” 160 likes
“I learned that if you work hard and creatively, you can have just about anything you want, but not everything you want. Maturity is the ability to reject good alternatives in order to pursue even better ones.” 92 likes
More quotes…