Principles by Ray Dalio

  • Author: Ray Dalio
  • Genre: Biography / Career & Success

Audio version available:

About Ray Dalio

 Ray Dalio is an American hedge fund manager and a philanthropist. In 2020, Bloomberg ranked Ray Dalio as the 79th wealthiest man on earth. He is the author of Principles, Principles for navigation, Principles for success, and Changing the world order. Additionally, Dalio founded the famous investment management company, Bridgewater associates.


Principles by Ray Dalio is essentially a combination of Ray Dalio’s biography and life lessons he has learned. In the book, Dalio provides valuable advice about life & work through personal stories. Unlike other books, Principles does not require continuous reading, you can easily flip to the chapter you wish to read and start taking notes.

Who is it for

Since Principles is essentially a biography, anyone interested in Ray Dalio or investing should definitely read Principles. It’s an interesting book with lots of insight anyone can benefit from. Whether your a 60-year-old retiree or a 20-year-old college graduate, Principles can add lots of value to you.

Part I

Principles is essentially divided into 3 parts. The first part is Ray Dalio’s story, how he started, times he failed, times he was successful, and his pursuit of meaningful work and meaningful relationships. While part one does not offer direct advice, you can still learn from Ray Dalio’s experiences. Particularly his failures.

Part II

Topic: Life principles

  1. Embrace reality and deal with it
  2. Use the 5 step process to get what you want out of life – Set goals, admit and confront mistakes, educate yourself on how to improve, change your behavior, and push forward
  3. Be radically open-minded
  4. Understand that people are wired very differently
  5. Learn how to make decisions effectively

Part III

Topic: Work Principles, part III is divided into 3 parts. The first part is about company culture, second is about working with people and the third part is about general work principles.

To get the culture right…

  1. Trust in radical truth and radical transparency – Have a radically transparent and honest company culture
  2. Cultivate meaningful work and meaningful relationships
  3. Create a culture in which it is okay to make mistakes and unacceptable not to learn from them
  4. Get and Stay in sync – Always be on the same page with your associates and employees
  5. Believability weight your decision making – Be evidence-based and encourage others to be the same.
  6. Recognize how to get beyond disaggregate – Develop principles for decision making in your company

To get the people right…

  1. Remember than WHO is more important than WHAT
  2. Hire Right, because the penalties for hiring wrong are huge
  3. Constantly Train, Test, Evaluate, and sort people

To build and evolve your machine…

  1. Manage as someone operating a machine to achieve a goal
  2. Perceive and don’t tolerate problems
  3. Diagnose problems to get at their root cause
  4. Design improvements to your machine to get around your problems – Create principles to get around problems in life
  5. Do what you set out to do – Make sure you’re staying on track with your goals
  6. Use tools and protocols to shape how work is done
  7. And for heaven’s sake, don’t overlook governance! – Place authority in the system rather than individuals


It is hard for us to capture all of the lessons taught in Principles. We are going to be releasing content teaching lessons from Principles soon, stay tuned!

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Reflection Form

Reflection Form

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