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Principles: Life and Work

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  31,945 ratings  ·  2,061 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
Kindle Edition, 593 pages
Published September 19th 2017 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2011)
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 ·  31,945 ratings  ·  2,061 reviews

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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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Otis Chandler
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Zenki the Hermit
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, nonfiction
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.
Eric Franklin
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
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
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
After slogging through this "book" - and I use the term loosely - I found myself asking: Does Ray Dalio sincerely believe the drivel he has written, or is "Principles" merely a clever ploy to test the general public's apparently insatiable appetite for bullshit?

Without any apparent indicia of irony, Dalio analogizes himself to Joseph Cambell's archetypal hero, Einstein (pp. 56), the Navy SEALs (pp. 88), and Steve Jobs (pp. 94). He assigns himself credit for feats as varied as the opening of the
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) +
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 30, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sten Tamkivi
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Tamer Salama
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
Morgan Blackledge
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.

Nov 23, 2017 rated it liked it
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
Apr 30, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Trung Trinh
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ray Dalio's thought process is straightforward: your company succeeds if the best idea wins out every single time. Then how do you know which one is the best idea? To Ray Dalio, the best idea is the one that feeds off the best ideas. Hence, people gotta be honest and contribute what they actually believe to be the best ideas. After having all the best ideas on the table, you would have to somehow synthesize them all. You wouldn't give equal weight to every idea. You have to come up with a more o ...more
Sanford Chee
Sep 19, 2017 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
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
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Tomas Laurinavicius
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended for everyone looking to improve their decision making process

Ray Dalio provides brutally honest and transparent inside look at one of the most innovative investment companies in the world. Reading Principles, I realized the importance of having principles in life and work, iterating decision making process and building a machine that can help you navigate through life.
Aug 25, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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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.

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