7 November 2018; Ray Dalio, Founder, Co-Chief Investment Officer & Co-Chairman, Bridgewater Associates

“To be principled means to consistently operate with principles that can be clearly explained,” writes Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs.

Dalio has written and shared the principles that guide him in life and business in his best-selling book, Principles: Life & Work. He believes that writing down your principles helps you clarify them, builds trust, lets others know what you stand for, and increases effectiveness. He attributes his own achievements to his principles, which allowed him to build a unique culture of “radical truth and radical transparency”.

Ray Dalio is an American billionaire investor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist. Dalio is the founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge funds. In 2012, Dalio was featured in the Times 100 list of 100 most influential people in the world.


“If you’re not failing, you’re not pushing your limits, and if you’re not pushing your limits, you’re not maximizing your potential” ― Ray Dalio

“Having the basics, a good bed to sleep in, good relationships, good food – is most important, and those things don’t get much better when you have a lot of money or much worse when you have less. And the people one meets at the top aren’t necessarily more special than those one meets at the bottom or in between.” ― Ray Dalio

“I learned that if you work hard and creatively, you can have just about anything you want, but not everything you want. Maturity is the ability to reject good alternatives in order to pursue even better ones.” ― Ray Dalio

“Look for people who have lots of great questions. Smart people are the ones who ask the most thoughtful questions, as opposed to thinking they have all the answers. Great questions are a much better indicator of future success than great answers.” ― Ray Dalio

“the happiest people discover their own nature and match their life to it.” ― Ray Dalio

I just want to be right—I don’t care if the right answer comes from me.” ― Ray Dalio

“Most of life’s greatest opportunities come out of moments of struggle; it’s up to you to make the most of these tests of creativity and character.” ― Ray Dalio

“Listening to uninformed people is worse than having no answers at all.” ― Ray Dalio

“Every time you confront something painful, you are at a potentially important juncture in your life—you have the opportunity to choose healthy and painful truth or unhealthy but comfortable delusion.” ― Ray Dalio

“If you can’t successfully do something, don’t think you can tell others how it should be done” ― Ray Dalio

“I saw that to do exceptionally well you have to push your limits and that, if you push your limits, you will crash and it will hurt a lot. You will think you have failed—but that won’t be true unless you give up.” ― Ray Dalio

“Imagine that in order to have a great life you have to cross a dangerous jungle. You can stay safe where you are and have an ordinary life, or you can risk crossing the jungle to have a terrific life. How would you approach that choice? Take a moment to think about it because it is the sort of choice that, in one form or another, we all have to make.” ― Ray Dalio

“Because our educational system is hung up on precision, the art of being good at approximations is insufficiently valued. This impedes conceptual thinking.” ― Ray Dalio

“The greatest gift you can give someone is the power to be successful. Giving people the opportunity to struggle rather than giving them the things they are struggling for will make them stronger.” ― Ray Dalio

“It’s more important to do big things well than to do the small things perfectly.” ― Ray Dalio

“Unattainable goals appeal to heroes,” ― Ray Dalio

“first principle: • Think for yourself to decide 1) what you want, 2) what is true, and 3) what you should do to achieve #1 in light of #2 . . . . . . and do that with humility and open-mindedness so that you consider the best thinking available to you.” ― Ray Dalio

“To be effective you must not let your need to be right be more important than your need to find out what’s true. If you are too proud of what you know or of how good you are at something you will learn less, make inferior decisions, and fall short of your potential.” ― Ray Dalio

“I also feared boredom and mediocrity much more than I feared failure. For me, great is better than terrible, and terrible is better than mediocre, because terrible at least gives life flavor. The high school yearbook quote my friends chose for me was from Thoreau: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” ― Ray Dalio

“The most valuable habit I’ve acquired is using pain to trigger quality reflections. If you can acquire this habit yourself, you will learn what causes your pain and what you can do about it, and it will have an enormous impact on your effectiveness.” ― Ray Dalio

“Remember that most people are happiest when they are improving and doing the things that suit them naturally and help them advance. So learning about your people’s weaknesses is just as valuable (for them and for you) as is learning their strengths.” ― Ray Dalio

“Remember that in great partnerships, consideration and generosity are more important than money.” ― Ray Dalio

“Time is like a river that carries us forward into encounters with reality that require us to make decisions. We can’t stop our movement down this river and we can’t avoid those encounters. We can only approach them in the best possible way.” ― Ray Dalio

“Principles are fundamental truths that serve as the foundations for behavior that gets you what you want out of life. They can be applied again and again in similar situations to help you achieve your goals.” ― Ray Dalio

“Remember that the only purpose of money is to get you what you want, so think hard about what you value and put it above money. How much would you sell a good relationship for? There’s not enough money in the world to get you to part with a valued relationship.” ― Ray Dalio

“Thoughtful disagreement is not a battle; its goal is not to convince the other party that he or she is wrong and you are right, but to find out what is true and what to do about it.” ― Ray Dalio

“Managers who do not understand people’s different thinking styles cannot understand how the people working for them will handle different situations.” ― Ray Dalio

“My approach was to hire, train, test, and then fire or promote quickly, so that we could rapidly identify the excellent hires and get rid of the ordinary ones, repeating the process again and again until the percentage of those who were truly great was high enough to meet our needs.” ― Ray Dalio

“Pay for the person, not the job. Look at what people in comparable jobs with comparable experience and credentials make, add some small premium over that, and build in bonuses or other incentives so they will be motivated to knock the cover off the ball. Never pay based on the job title alone.” ― Ray Dalio

“When a problem occurs, conduct the discussion at two levels: 1) the machine level (why that outcome was produced) and 2) the case-at-hand level (what to do about it).” ― Ray Dalio

“The most important thing is that you develop your own principles and ideally write them down, especially if you are working with others.” ― Ray Dalio

“Choose your habits well. Habit is probably the most powerful tool in your brain’s toolbox.” ― Ray Dalio

“in most companies people are doing two jobs: their actual job and the job of managing others’ impressions of how they’re doing their job.” ― Ray Dalio

“What you will be will depend on the perspective you have.” ― Ray Dalio

“Having nothing to hide relieves stress and builds trust.” ― Ray Dalio

“Never say anything about someone that you wouldn’t say to them directly and don’t try people without accusing them to their faces.” ― Ray Dalio

“While I used to get angry and frustrated at people because of the choices they made, I came to realize that they weren’t intentionally acting in a way that seemed counterproductive; they were just living out things as they saw them, based on how their brains worked.” ― Ray Dalio

“Because most people are more emotional than logical, they tend to overreact to short-term results; they give up and sell low when times are bad and buy too high when times are good. I find this is just as true for relationships as it is for investments—wise people stick with sound fundamentals through the ups and downs, while flighty people react emotionally to how things feel, jumping into things when they’re hot and abandoning them when they’re not.” ― Ray Dalio

“Find the most believable people possible who disagree with you and try to understand their reasoning. Having open-minded conversations with believable people who disagree with you is the quickest way to get an education and to increase your probability of being right.” ― Ray Dalio

“Every leader must decide between 1) getting rid of liked but incapable people to achieve their goals and 2) keeping the nice but incapable people and not achieving their goals. Whether or not you can make these hard decisions is the strongest determinant of your own success” ― Ray Dalio

“It’s senseless to have making money as your goal as money has no intrinsic value—its value comes from what it can buy, and it can’t buy everything. It’s smarter to start with what you really want, which are your real goals, and then work back to what you need to attain them. Money will be one of the things you need, but it’s not the only one and certainly not the most important one once you get past having the amount you need to get what you really want.” ― Ray Dalio

“If you can think for yourself while being open-minded in a clearheaded way to find out what is best for you to do, and if you can summon up the courage to do it, you will make the most of your life.” ― Ray Dalio

“beneficial change begins when you can acknowledge and even embrace your weaknesses.” ― Ray Dalio

“Any damn fool can make it complex. It takes a genius to make it simple” ― Ray Dalio

“If you don’t look on yourself and think, ‘Wow how stupid I was a year ago,’ then you must not have learned much in the last year.” ― Ray Dalio

“Don’t just pay attention to your job; pay attention to how your job will be done if you are no longer around.” ― Ray Dalio

“Some people go through life collecting all kinds of observations and opinions like pocket lint, instead of just keeping what they need. They have ‘detail anxiety’, worrying about unimportant things.” ― Ray Dalio

“The people who work for you should constantly challenge you. Don’t hire people just to fit the first job they will do; hire people you want to share your life with.” ― Ray Dalio

“Don’t mistake possibilities for probabilities. Anything is possible. It’s the probabilities that matter. Everything must be weighed in terms of its likelihood and prioritized.Believe it or not, your pain will fade and you will have many other opportunities ahead of you.” ― Ray Dalio

“If you don’t own gold, you know neither history nor economics.” ― Ray Dalio

“There are two broad approaches to decision making: evidence/logic-based (which comes from the higher-level brain) and subconscious/emotion-based (which comes from the lower-level animal brain).” ― Ray Dalio

“Recognize that having an effective idea meritocracy requires that you understand the merit of each person’s ideas.” ― Ray Dalio

“Experience taught me how invaluable it is to reflect on and write down my decision-making criteria whenever I made a decision, so I got in the habit of doing that.” ― Ray Dalio

“I believe that all organizations basically have two types of people: those who work to be part of a mission, and those who work for a paycheck.” ― Ray Dalio

“I came to see that people’s greatest weaknesses are the flip sides of their greatest strengths.” ― Ray Dalio

“Great people are hard to find so make sure you think about how to keep them.” ― Ray Dalio

“Making a handful of good uncorrelated bets that are balanced and leveraged well is the surest way of having a lot of upside without being exposed to unacceptable downside.” ― Ray Dalio

“I believe one of the most valuable things you can do to improve your decision making is to think through your principles for making decisions, write them out in both words and computer algorithms, back-test them if possible, and use them on a real-time basis to run in parallel with your brain’s decision making.” ― Ray Dalio

“To be ‘good’ something must operate consistently with the laws of reality and contribute to the evolution of the whole; that is what is most rewarded.” ― Ray Dalio

“If you are not aggressive, you are not going to make money, and if you are not defensive, you are not going to keep money.” ― Ray Dalio

“Idealists who are not well grounded in reality create problems, not progress.” ― Ray Dalio

“Remember that weaknesses don’t matter if you find solutions.” ― Ray Dalio

“Almost nothing can stop you from succeeding if you have flexibility and self-accountability.” ― Ray Dalio

“Most fundamental work principle: Make your passion and your work one and the same and do it with people you want to be with.” ― Ray Dalio

 “School typically doesn’t prepare young people for real life – unless their lives are spent following instructions and pleasing others. In my opinion, that’s why so many students who succeed in school fail in life.” ― Ray Dalio

“More than anything else, what differentiates people who live up to their potential from those who don’t is a willingness to look at themselves and others objectively.” ― Ray Dalio

“Don’t worry about looking good – worry about achieving your goals.” ― Ray Dalio

“Every game has principles that successful players master to achieve winning results. So does life.” ― Ray Dalio

“If your objective is to be as good, as you can be, then you’re going to want criticism.” ― Ray Dalio

“Treat your life like a game.” ― Ray Dalio

On Amazon: Principles: Life & Work by Ray Dalio


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