This is one of those books that will make you smarter! Reading it feels like getting an MBA and a Philosophy degree simultaneously. Ray Dalio is the billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates, one of the largest hedge funds on the planet. In Principles: Life and Work, Ray shares in detail what has made him successful. Below are my top 7 takeaways from this terrific book:
1. Write down your Principles. Ray advocates writing down your principles for your own life and work. He believes writing down our principles helps us create an operating system for our lives that can help us live life fully and successfully. After reading this book, I am inspired to write down my life and work principles. Maybe this blog is part of how I'll do it.
2. Face Reality and Deal With It. Ray is a strong proponent of the "Confront the Brutal Facts" principle that I first read about in Jim Collin's epic book, Good to Great. Ray and Jim both advocate being absolutely clear about a situation so that you can do something about it. If you're being too positive or too negative about something, you'll miss the clear next step to take.
3. Be Radically Open-Minded. Ray believes, rightly, that none of us know everything. We always need to continue learning. However, we can often be our own worst enemy by believing that we do indeed know everything about a subject. We need to cultivate a "beginner's mind" and always remain open to learning.
4. Trust in Radical Truth and Radical Transparency. Ray leads his company by being as open as he possibly can with his employees. He doesn't try to spin a situation to make it seem more positive than reality. If things are not going well, he communicates it. He has found in his career that being truthful and transparent with his employees has helped build a successful company and team over the years.
5. Create a culture in which it is okay to make mistakes and unacceptable not to learn from them. I really like this principle. We all make mistakes in life and work. And that should be okay. (Within reason and boundaries, such as laws.) However, if we don't learn from our mistakes then we've truly failed. We need to be okay with our employees making mistakes, as long and they learn and grow from the mistakes.
6. Diagnose Problems to get at their Root Cause. Ray believes that we often stop short of getting to the root cause of a problem by not asking enough "Why" questions. When you have a problem in work or life, it is a great idea to ask "Why" you have that problem. But don't stop there. One you answer the first why, ask another why about that answer. And another why, and so on, until you truly get to the root cause of the problem. We too often stop after asking just the first "Why" as if we don't really want to know or go to the true root cause.
7. Ray Dalio's TED Talk titled "How to build a company where the best ideas win" gives a nice snapshot of some of his principles in this book:
These are some quick takeaways from a 592-page book. I will say that you could skim or skip the first part of the book where Ray shares his autobiography. Part two of the book is where Ray details his life principles and part three is where he details his work principles. These are the two must-read sections of this great book.
I'm curious if anyone else has read this book and what are your takeaways? Did this book leave you inspired to write down your life and work principles? Please share in the Comments section below!
p.s. I plan to blog about Work-Life Happiness at least weekly in 2018. I'd be honored if you'd subscribe to my blog's emails on my website at: www.mikepritchard.com/subscribe.html
- Top 5 Regrets of the Dying (Book #2 in 2018)
- Email Inbox Zero! Is it even possible? 11 tips.
- Have you met Brad Feld? Here's your chance! + Brad's great blog.
- Got 2018 Goals? Advice here! 10 tips.
- Book: Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt (Book #1 in 2018)
- 30 books I read in 2017. Top 4. Reading tips. 2018 recommendations?
- I lost 20 pounds in 2017. Here are 10 tips.