Principles by Ray Dalio (Book Summary)

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Ray Dalio is the founder of the biggest hedge fund in the face of the earth, Bridgewater Associates. To give you an idea, a big hedge fund is 20 billions, but Bridgewater manages 160+ billions which makes it multiple times bigger than several next in line competitors combined.

You should have your audacious goals, be prepared and not afraid to fail, develop your Principles which are basically recipes to deal with situations, improve them, and repeat.

Dalio makes a case for decision-making Principles to guide your life and work. In the first part of the book, he tells the story of his life, then he integrates what he learned with his “life” principles to which he attributes whatever succeed he may have had, and finally he connects these with the work principles he developed to create a culture of meaningful work and radical transparency.

Look over nature to understand reality and be guided by rational and not emotional thinking. Don’t focus on yourself and triangulate your theories with people that disagree with you so you can determine through thoughtful disagrement, a system idea-meritocracy where the best ideas win out.

Start with the premise that nature is smarter than you and try to let nature teach you how reality works. We need to be analytical rather than emotional to get the best results possible.

Take responsability for the outcomes of your life and develop Principles to make the best decisions possible that will bring you the best possible life and don’t complain about things you can’t control. Psychologists call this having an “internal locus of control” and studies consistently show that people who have it outperform those who don’t. So don’t focus on whether you like your situation or not. Life doesn’t care about what you like. It’s up to you to pursue what you need first, to then get what you want. Learn to differentiate between needs and wants.

To be responsible in life, you need to evaluate your decisions, control your emotions, and understand that we cant’ simply live our life doing everything we “want”.

We are everything and nothing. In the eyes of nature, we are insignificant. The reality is that each of us is only one of about seven billion of our specifies alive today and that our species is only one of about ten million species in our planet. Earth is just one of about 100 billion planets in our galaxy, which is just one of about two trillion galaxies in the universe. Our lifetimes are only about 1/3,000 of humanity’s existence. In other words, we are tiny and short-lived and no matter what we accomplish, our impact will be insignificant, but we can matter a bit, and it’s all those bits that add up to drive the evolution of the universe.

Use the 5-Step Process to get what you want out of life:

  1. Have clear goals.
  2. Identify and don’t tolerate the problems that stand in the way of your achieving those goals.
  3. Accurately diagnose the problems to get at the root causes.
  4. Design plans that will get you around them.
  5. Do what’s necessary to push these designs through to results.

Understand your “ego” barriers as defense mechanisms that prevent you from accepting your mistakes and weaknesses. Your deepest needs and fears reside in the primitive lower-level parts of your brain such as the amygdala, which is where emotions are processed. At the same time, higher-level consciousness resides in your prefrontal cortex. This is where conscious awareness resides as well as the application of logic and reasoning.

These are the two “yous” that fight to control you. When you do something you knew you should not have done and that it is not good for you, it means that the lower-level part of your brain won out over the thoughtful, higher-level you. By the way, you can learn to control this pattern by conditioning and rewiring your brain differently. When you deal with other people, understand you are also dealing with their two “thems“.

We see things our own way and we can’t appreciate what we can’t see. If you are like most people, you have no clue how other people see things and aren’t good at seeking to understand what they are thinking, because you’re too preoccupied with telling them what you yourself think is correct. This means you are closed-minded and this is a tragedy because it makes you to miss out on all sort of infinite possibilities.

This is one of the best books I have read in my life, and I can’t recommend it enough.

This post is nothing but a glimpse of what you can discover in the book.

Get the book: Ray Dalio – Principles (Life & Work)

Related Blog Post: Ray Dalio Life Principles

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