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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2017 Ray Dalio (P)2017 Simon & Schuster Audio

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Personal

Two stars - meh
three stars - good
four stars - worth a second read
five stars - life-changing - my top 50 of all time

Worth a second read because the ideas at the core of the book seem contrary to what has been my life experience.

I'd love to spend a couple of days at Bridgewater or extensively interview some longtime employees to find out if it works as the author suggests.

My experience has been that 'Idea Meritocracies' and 'Radical honesty' work great for those at the top, who's positions cannot be threatened because they deem what is valued and right.

I've also always been told that attempting to fit market movements to algorithms cannot predict the really important swings. This is because we cannot properly summarize all of the market conditions that existed historically, nor can we know all of the factors that effect markets currently because our information is incomplete. I should be able to tell if his approach works by comparing Bridgewater's performance to that of its peers, but I have not yet done this.

The author does make a telling comment early in the book, regarding the computational nature of reality. He states that if we knew we had a perfect description of the current state of the universe, we'd be able to predict what would happen next. This is by no means an established fact. Chaos theory, quantum mechanics and and Heisenberg would probably disagree.

I cannot decide if the 'Baseball Card' approach to personnel makes sense. Baseball stats are more objective that job performance or personality types based on standardized tests.
I'd love to believe that keeping stats on everyone would help predict future performance, but as Sabermetrics showed, which stats one calculates and how they are weighted have significant impact on outcomes.

I'd love to believe that his basic assumptions are correct, but I'm really ambivalent. This book raised many more questions than it answered.

If I check the facts and they seem to hold water, I will make changes to my life and thus this would qualify as a five-star book.

25 of 26 people found this review helpful

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I need to go through this book a few more times.

This is a great book to listen to and I found myself drifting off quite a lot thinking how to apply any given section to my life/work. I'll have to go through it a few more times for sure.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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The Management/CEO’s Handbook

Having fewer reports (zero), than the author, this book - while very interesting, insightful and practical - comes across as directed towards folks way above my pay grade. CEOs and VPs in particular. Still, as a small cog in a very big wheel, I recommend it for both perspective on what good management looks like, and for straight-up honorable principles to live by.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Two-thirds full.

I am a fan of Ray Dalio, the legendary hedge-fund manager. This book has three sections: a bio of Ray, followed by his "life principles," followed then by his "work principles." I found his life story to be very interesting indeed. And his "life principles" were excellent, especially the notion of "radical transparency" and "radical openness" and honestly confronting ones problems. So far great. But I got really bogged down in the third section, his "work principles." This seemed more like a corporate human resources manual than anything one could use in life. Even if you were a CEO or department head of a several hundred person organization, his principles often seemed like cliches. So much depends on what people are charged to do, but he has very little of that. I wish he had spent more time on his investment philosophy. This is where is his genius lies. He is not Tony Robbins. But I did learn from this book to confront my own problems more honestly and directly.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Can't get through it

It is mostly stories about how great and smart he is. I can't finish it. In the beginning, he says you can skip his life and get to the principles. Maybe I should have done that.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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The best management book I have ever read

How I wish I have read this book 20 years ago!!! The wealth of knowledge and practical, time-proven solutions to managing organizational problems in this book is phenomenal. Ray Dalio is freely giving out gold in experience and wisdom. I must be wired the same way as he is, as I agree with 100% information and conclusions presented in this book. I work in government sector and have observed first-hand how departmental politics, lack of transparency and integrity extinguishes innovation and productivity. I am seeing unfulfilled potential of the place where I work and my heart cries for it. Even though I have strong internal desire to reach the stated mission of our organization, in Ray’s narrative I have recognized my own managerial weaknesses and mistakes. For some, I have learned from my own errors and reached identical conclusions and solutions as Roy presented in this book. For others, I have not reflected enough to identify the root causes and Roy’s book has been absolutely enlightening in this regard. It is very hard to do the right thing and achieve comparable level of efficiency and productivity in the government as can be done in the private sector; however, based on Ray’s book I am inspired to try precisely that. I can’t wait for him to release the practical tools he has described in the book! Thank you Ray, although we never met, you will always be in my mind honored as great mentor!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Good book. Valuable for all entrepreneurs.

Good book. Valuable for all entrepreneurs, businesses, and individuals who want to continuously improve themselves.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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phenomenally replete with wisdom

if you're building a business or hold a management role in one or even if you're looking to improve your day-to-day life, I bet this book will serve you well.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Great book by someone worth listening to

This book is very zero in his way to describe how to run a business fairly, without stress, and profitably. It is very descriptive how to handle problems from top to bottom with a very methodical approach, while very inclusive and taking into account all ideas from the smartest people at your company without bias. I would recommend this book to all the employees of my company and believe it will improve decision-making process for everyone. Maybe one of the best books I’ve read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Well explained

A clear and easy to follow map of how he ran his company and why.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas Sichel
  • 09-30-17

Life changing

This book is full of concrete wisdom. I read the pre-release two years ago and began implementing some of the advice Ray Dalio gave, this latest release of his has really taken things further. I honestly can't recommend this book enough, whether your looking to start a company or just improve your life...

Thank you Ray for bringing such powerful knowledge to world

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Vlad
  • 10-20-17

I personally didn't find it educational enough.

The book feels a lot like a linear autobiography. It talks about major events from the author’s past, including successes and failures the author has learnt from.

In the beginning, the book sounded to have been structured well and the author’s writing style seemed quite analytical. The author’s voice is clear and composed throughout. I really liked it when the author states he doesn’t wish to impose his beliefs on the listener and that the advice he’ll be sharing may not benefit everyone.

The author frequently speaks about how has helped companies run more efficiently. Most times, however, I struggled to extract value from his explanations unless he gave some sort of evaluation in the end.

The author also speaks a lot about his company Bridgewater, its challenges and achievements as well as constantly evolving culture and management. To me it sounded the author was more interested in describing, explaining and at times praising his business instead of looking to provide knowledge to the listener in a direct and understandable way.

Four hours in, the book appeared to have become an autobiography of Ray Dalio’s business and career. I decided to return it because the more I listened to it, the less I felt it benefited me.

I wouldn’t recommend the book to everyone but if you are into investing, finance and business management, you may really like the book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-28-17

Your compass north guide on your life journey

I truly enjoyed this book and it was particularly beneficial being read by the author. Ray Dalio is a very successful person and it’s excellent for him to share, in full transparency, his Principles that shaped him and Bridgewater. This allows you to gain a very intimate insight on Rays compass north during all important and mundane decisions and can be used a guide for you as you develop your own principles.
Of course, this is the premise of the book that to achieve results it requires radical truth with radical transparency. Ray certainly delivers on this and I have begun to implement these within my career and life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • walduscycu
  • 11-22-17

An absolute must read

The author is incredibly eloquent and down to earth person. Normal language is being used to explain complexity of company organisation etc.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • MARK WATSON
  • 11-22-17

An absolute gem!

This has to be there with the best book I have consumed in a very long time. So much so that I truly believe that any individual should listen to or read to add value and benefit their lives both personally and professionally. I could not switch it off!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Teval Stephens
  • 12-13-17

Lots of sound advice <br />

food for thought for almost everyone interested in growing a business or being more efficient

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  • Sveinbjorn, Iceland
  • 11-08-17

Helpful and good

Very good and useful.
Narytor was good.
And I liked the story,
only minus a little long.

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  • Gregory
  • 11-05-17

worth a read for business ideas

excellent insight into new leadership ideas, worth a listen and spend some time writting out the key ideas and how to apply them

a medium depth how to book

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  • khwexi
  • 11-02-17

Book of the year!

1.3 Don't let the fears of what others think of you stand in your way.

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  • Gerard Ouattara
  • 10-30-17

A must read .Absolutely breathtaking

loved it. a must read for anyone whishing to take their game to the next level.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-05-17

A great perspective

I found this book very insightful. Ive always wanted to gain a perspective from Ray Dalio so it was great to hear him personally narrate aspects of the book - it felt very authentic. The ideameratocricacy is a great way of structuring an organisation i wish i could work at Bridgwater to see what its like and if it aligns with the way i think (i reckon it might). I recommend this book to any professional leader who wants to improve their understanding of the world or their decision making ability. Thank you Ray!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-21-17

AMAZING BOOK

This book was awesome. Great to hear and listen to someone that has had great financial success talk about principles. I would love to be in Ray Dalio inner circle. So much wisdom and knowledge that you can learn from. I'm developing my own principles now while also noting down Rays. Awesome book and many thanks for writing this gem.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mico
  • 11-26-17

out the box business game changer

Brilliant content
Out the box
Very thorough delivery
Easy to follow and implement in own scenarios

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  • Michael
  • 11-21-17

good listening

good book to listen to for business improvement type work. looking forward to ray releasing some of his tools he uses.

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  • niall_spurs
  • 11-05-17

drags on a bit towards the end

interesting and inspiring, maybe some more examples of the principles at work rather than fleshing each on out

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  • sasha
  • 09-26-17

Complicated data subsets

Would you try another book written by Ray Dalio or narrated by Ray Dalio and Jeremy Bobb ?

Maybe if it was about his trading

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The five steps in achieving success are good

Any additional comments?

Overall its just too complicated. There are five goals....or is it seven.....or is it ten....each of them has subset bits of info ie goal 1.1, with then further subset info ie goal 1.1a, then further ie goal 1.1a,1-24. <br/><br/>I ended up getting the kindle book so I could keep track of it all. That was just as complicated only now I could see the full extent of it.<br/><br/>For those who can approach life like an algorithmic trading plan, this book is for you; it's a kind of life algorithm, which, if you can implement it, guarantees success.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful