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Review of Principles by Ray Dalio


For those of you that haven’t heard of him, Ray Dalio is a genius investor. He was (and still is) an entrepreneur that spent most of his adult life building up his firm, Bridgewater, which has been wildly successful. Additionally, he is a devoted philanthropist that has given away vast amounts of his fortune in ways that he thinks will make an economic impact; in other words, he’s helping the world’s poor use capitalism to rise out of poverty. So, we are all very lucky that he wrote his autobiography, which is entitled Principles.

Summary of Principles by Ray Dalio

Principles by Ray Dalio is a fantastic autobiography; it chronicles his upbringing, early adulthood, time spent founding and building Bridgewater, and his time as a retired (somewhat) adult doing philanthropy.

But, really it’s more than that; Principles isn’t just a paean to his genius and success. It’s a collection of his principles from both life and work that enabled him to succeed. Through writing them, he hopes to enable others to succeed. Why did he write it? Because he wants others to use the lessons in it to develop their own life and work principles

As part of that, one particularly significant part of the book is when he discusses how great it would be if all political and business geniuses wrote down the principles by which they lived their lives. Marcus Aurelius did to some extent in Meditations, which is a book I occasionally quote, and Ulysses Grant did in his memoirs, but few other great leaders or visionaries have done the same. As Dalio notes, Steve Jobs didn’t, Bill Gates hasn’t, George Washington didn’t, etc. Imagine the vast amount of character-building knowledge that would be contained in those works. If only we had them to read and study!

Principles is too long to adequately summarize piece by piece, so I’ll just tell you what it boils down to; using a well-defined list of principles to succeed in your daily life through a continual cycle of innovation and personal betterment. In that respect, it is similar to Rich Habits, only far more thorough and well-supported by his personal experiences.

So, in short, Principles boils down to using the experiences life throws at you to learn from both your mistakes and successes, work as hard as possible to build something great, never give up, and focus on what is important, such as family and living well. Dalio’s insight is far more nuanced than that, but that simplistic list hopefully gives you a taste of what to look forward to if you read Principles.

Buy Principles here, on Amazon:

Analysis of Principles by Ray Dalio

I often don’t enjoy reading autobiographies. They feel too hubristic, even if they contain excellent lessons or information. But Principles felt different; I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Ulysses Grant’s autobiography was interesting but clearly self-serving; he wanted the money fro it for his family and the personal recognition contained in it. While I, of course, understand that from a capitalist perspective, it makes the autobiography seem less sincere.

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Principles didn’t seem the same way. Instead, it seemed more like Dalio simply wanted to educate readers both on how to take Aurelius’s advice to get out of bed and build something, and how to understand how professionals learn how to invest in the different asset classes. That perceived sincerity makes it much more interesting of an autobiography. Therefore, it is an autobiography that I can recommend above all the others. It’s simply more sincere.

Finally, I love Dalio’s work because it shows why Equal is Unfair is so true. Dalio worked harder than anyone else to succeed. And in doing so, he proves the point that wage inequality arguments are ridiculous and wage inequality isn’t a problem. And he even mentions that in the book! In the (very) brief section in which he mentions his political views, Dalio mentions that he was a liberal when being a liberal meant supporting those mentioned in The Best and The Brightest, but he recognized the strength of the conservative movement when being a liberal meant supporting endlessly expanding rights and constant new entitlements. Even a hedge fund manager understands the dangers of socialism!

Buy Principles here, on Amazon:


So, do I recommend you read Principles by Ray Dalio? Absolutely I do.

It’s an excellent book written by a genius of a man that fully understands almost every aspect of our financial investment system, was able to use data and computer modeling to learn how to take advantage of that system and wants to teach others how to get to where he got. And, he is well-read; he cites books such as The Power of Habit, which I reviewed yesterday.

The cycle of making mistakes, learning, and adjusting one’s decisions based on those mistakes and learning that Dalio describes is interesting to read about and makes sense. Everything Dalio writes about is both interesting and educational, which is exactly what I want in a book. You should read it

By: Gen Z Conservative