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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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

71 of 79 people found this review helpful

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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.

163 of 185 people found this review helpful

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Insightful but repetitive

I listened to the entire book to understand the context of the principles. However that led me to become easily bored by the constant repetition of the words "idea maritocracy" and "radical honesty". I would suggest skipping to the second portion of the book when the author explains the life and work principles.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Bored to Tears

I don't usually give up on a book, especially one being read to me during a long drive when the only other option is silence. But, geesh. Some of the lead up stories to what I thought was the meat forthcoming were interesting but all in all no meat delivered. At least nothing up to the point where I threw up the white hankie and hit the stop button. The advice was generic and lacked the, for instance, this is how you'd apply this. I do know that he knows all about the ins and outs of pork bellies and the crops they eat and weather patterns ad nauseam. And he mentioned many times how he rubbed elbows with the rich and famous. Got it - you're a big deal.

42 of 50 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.

13 of 15 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.

31 of 38 people found this review helpful

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Narrow Perspective on Modern Workplace

Some of the ideas here are interesting but this really feels like the thoughts of someone who has been "the boss" their entire career, and never experienced other work cultures. Ray is clearly not shy about conflict and I doubt any introverts have ever worked at Bridgewater. If you were starting a hedge fund with a bunch of alpha males this would be the goto strategy for success but I don't think a lot of this advice carries over to other fields and a lot I would consider harmful for creating a truly creative environment.

10 of 12 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.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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The Blueprint — Lessons From Reformed New Yorker

The Blueprint — 10 Lessons From Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

What makes this book a gold mine for me and like-minded people:

1. Understanding why a meritocratic environment works best for my personality has helped me shed imposter syndrome; mask off.

2. Ray defines a valid solution around a psychological dichotomy and process that stems to eliminate a ton of common misconceptions. Supportive ideologies around the power of numbers & group theory, associated with machine learning seem to be a great formula for creating an effective symbiotic ecosystem. If practiced by those who are open to change and constructive criticism.

3. The opening line made me want to get on plane to NYC, take a train over to CT, give Ray a high five, then head back to the concrete jungle to engage in shenanigans.

4. Machine learning (ai) can have a positive outcome as long as its used as supportive component for analytics and behavioral studies.

5. Ai, when done right, has the ability to yield some highly beneficial outcomes around structuring teams and making business decisions. At the same time, it can aid in studying your personal history, train of thought, and help predict what environments are good for personality.

6. It’s good to be open to constructive criticism.

7. Arguments should occur with the intention of arriving at new learnings, not to generate hatred or sense of detachment from the opposing party.

8. Some personalities just don’t work for the environment or culture that you are trying to creates. And in certain cases YOU actually create the high level of toxicity that destroys the environment that you are attempting to create.

9. The goal of learning is to grow and one day help another elevate themselves by sharing your learnings in an intuitive manner.

10. Mistakes should be embraced in the same we celebrate blessings. For in a lost or failure, we have an opportunity to learn and increase our aptitude around problem solving for that specific issue.

Bonus: never give up and let your humility serve as the honey that will capture the hearts and minds of your counterparts.

19 of 24 people found this review helpful

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Could have been much shorter

Slow in topic and performance. I had to listen to it on 2.0x. Some of this is very interesting, but overall it feels rather verbose and repetitive. I understood from the outset that this would be quite different from Shoe Dog, but I was hoping for something a little more exciting Than it turned out to be.

The first part of the book was the most interesting to me. It focuses on the background of the company and its Ascension.

2 of 2 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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • J
  • 02-14-18

Mostly about Bridgewater

Not really a general self-help book, but has value if interested in the company.

3 of 3 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!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas Sichel
  • 09-30-17

A life changing boom

Thank you Ray Dalio for writing this! Business and life guidance from someone well read and most definitely experiences..

15 of 18 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.

16 of 20 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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-26-17

Great insights but very, very repetitive.

This book contained some really useful insights and offered a glimpse of how the world of financial services will someday look. That said, it was extremely repetitive and dragged on for about 9 hours longer than it needed to.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. Ce Evans
  • 08-04-18

Very bad writing

I’m absolutely certain Ray Dalio is an extremely intelligent person whose massive success is well deserved.

However, he is no author! The concepts and ideas are all over place. He uses the words; ‘principles’ ‘radical’ and ‘idea metrocity’ so much it will make your head spin.

Please employ a ghost writing next time.

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  • Catriona Ferris
  • 07-29-18

Print out pdf. Makes it easier going

This is a disruptive book that really pushed the thought of performance based management. Worth listening.

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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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-07-18

Too lengthy, internal code for BridgeWater's staff

The book can be cut to one-tenth in volume without losing much detail.
The gist of the book is about how the author sees his organizstion as a machine with people as its parts. The principles given in this regard are blueprints without much delving into reasoning. Mostly useful as a code of conduct and practice for BridgeWater people.
I expected much more from this book.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Prophetmines
  • 01-23-18

Management consultant soup, not for investors

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

A small business growing into a medium size business may appreciate the exhausting list of principles.

Would you ever listen to anything by Ray Dalio again?

If he releases his investing principles, as promised, I'd be very interested. Most buyers would be shocked to hear that this 'investing great' does not write much about investing in this very long book.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Ray Dalio narrates half the book but a backup narrator is left to churn through a lot of the repetitive sounding chapters.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointing because Ray Dalio has presented his organisational principles and held back on his investing strategies. He posits that to emulate his investing success, others should consider following his work principles. This is most likely an illusion of causality. It is more likely a coincidence that he has been wildly successful in picking market moves as well as instituted a certain type of management, not because of it.

Any additional comments?

Ray Dalio trumpets radical transparency and openness to feedback which is why i don't feel insubordinate in labelling his manuscript a misguided and futile contribution. Ray, you're a legend because of your investing, not your management. Just read your mixed Glassdoor reviews.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

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.

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.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-11-18

must buy

This book is very good value. all 16 hours are absolutely fantastic! Thank you Ray Dalio.

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  • Brennan
  • 08-08-18

Terrible

A book on principles that doesn’t explain any principles. Boring and a waste of time. Ray should’ve let someone capable tell his story.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-01-18

Really enjoyed the story

Really enjoyed the first part which is the story of how Ray built Bridgewater - highs and lows etc was very interesting and his perseverance through the adversity he faced.
Second part is the principles which are very interesting but a bit hard to follow on the audio version so I think the supplementary material (or better yet, the full hardcopy) would be great to have.

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  • winston
  • 07-23-18

some great principals

if you are in and organisation or trying to build one there are some wonderfully insightful principals to achieve better efficiently and levels of success.
pretty deep in the minutia of bussiness and organisational engineering but everyone can take something away from this book.

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  • kirston
  • 06-17-18

whats possible

I loved the principals in this audio, especially coming to the end, their values and systems, was eye opening

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  • Amit Tripuraneni
  • 06-06-18

Must listen for all entrepreneurs, managers and employees alike

Some repetition of principles in different sections but a brilliant book still. Ray has gravitas in his voice that drives his points home.