Life & Work Principles – Ray Dalio

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This book definitely worth reading. It consists of three parts: First one is more or less biography of Ray Dalio. I’d recommend you to read this part carefully – it’s really interesting. The other two parts, in retrospect, have a low „new information/words“ density.  Meaning, there are many repetitions and some obvious statements. They describe life and work principles that Ray Dalio acquired and optimized during his career.


I vividly remember one „can’t lose“ bet that personally cost me about $100.000. That was most of my net worth at the time.“ – p.22

In the beginning of 2017 i lost around $25k on the stock, forex and crypto market. That was all my worth. It’s relieving to know that even one of the most successful Hedge Fund Managers Ray Dalio was once making foolish investment decisions.

[…] I required that all our meetings be recorded and made available to everyone, with extremely rare exceptions. At first I sent tapes unedited […] that was a huge burden on people’s time. I build a team to edit the tapes, focusing on the most important moments.“ – p. 74

That’s a pretty wild approach and you’ll see there is more where that came from. When i’ll be leading my company, that’ll be a part of our management too. With the advancements in AI, one could enhance those recording with Natural Language Processing and Sentiment, Logic Analysis.

Extremely honest and beautiful words are to be found on pages 122-124. In short, Ray explains you what „The path is the goal“ means. He uses the word „struggling“ for „path – and that makes sense. If you would achieve your wildest dreams by the end of today, after a while of relaxed and happy moments you’d find new goals and thus new ways to „struggle“.  

You don’t know whether you’ll achieve your goals or not. But you can be certain that you’ll have to struggle. It only makes sense to master your struggle – it will be your inevitable time occupant until you die.

If you limit your goals to what you know you can achieve, you are setting the bar way too low.“ – p. 173

That sentence instantly reminded me of „The 10X Rule“ by Grant Cardone. This life interpretation of your own skills and your projection of your own future is extremely important. Set your goals much higher than you gut feeling tells you to. I encourage you to read more about Limiting Beliefs and Self fulfilling prophecy.

From here on Ray Dalio repeats many times over how important it is to be open minded, describing all the benefits. 

Radical open-mindedness allows you to escape from the control of your lower-level you and ensures your upper-level you makes the best possible decisions.“ – p. 187

While „lower-level“ and „upper-level“ are referring to „1. System“  and „2. System“ respectively. Those „Systems“ are described in depth in „Think Fast & Slow“. I’m training myself to distance my ego from the point of view i am defending. Since my ego is detached from the point of view, there is no Ego that could be hurt, if i turn out to be wrong. This gives makes me open-minded and allows me consume and internalize new facts, world views, etc.

There were many parts and tips in this book regarding managing people and a company that i found very helpful for my startup-ideas. Here are some of them: 

Steve Jobs , who everyone thought was the secret to Apple’s success, said, ‚The secret to my success is that we’ve gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.“ – p.395

It’s your responsibility to make sure communications from your people flow freely, so encuorage it by giving them plenty of opportunity to speak up. Don’t just expect them to provide you with regular and honest feedback – explicitly ask them for it.“ – p. 479

Don’t confuse the quality of someone’s circumstances with the quality of their approach to dealing with the circumstances“ – p. 489

Here is a very contrasting example from my life for quote above: In my new work i learned two young co-workers, both had Diabetes Type 1. One of them chose to stop doing sport, because the low-sugar periods could end deadly. The other one chose to use Insulin (the medication that a Diabetes Type 1 Patient has to inject for the rest of her life) to enhance her/his body fitness. Now, both co-workers have the same starting circumstance. Their approach is radically different, leading to radically different results. One is chubby and unhealthy, the other one muscular and healthy. 

Investigate and let people know you are going to investigate“ – p. 513

2017 ISBN: 978-1-5011-2402-0

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