sentence. People should “stop making excuses, stop blaming others, and take ownership of everything in their lives.” With the thoughtful caveat, “The principles are simple, but not easy.” After Willink and Babin left military service, they started a business-consulting firm. Their book is a collection of good (and harrowing) war stories. These are worth the purchase price. Each war story is followed by an example of how what was learned in training and combat can be applied to business. These are worth a bit less. It’s always tempting for business-book writers to apply what they learned elsewhere to business. “What I Learned About Business From Cooking,” “What I Learned About Business From Skydiving,” “What I Learned About Business From Running Naked Through the Streets.” But... Business isn’t war. We can’t shoot our competitors, customers, employees, or bosses. Not that Willink and Babin suggest doing any such thing. Their advice is commonsensical – sometimes so commonsensical that the Grump wonders why it needs to be given. Although Willink and Babin are, the Grump
suspects, excellent business consultants anyway. There are pictures of them in the book. They look like two guys who, when they give us advice, we listen . “Yes, sir!” But usually, being human, we don’t listen to advice... even though we could all use some. Which may be why we buy advice books – not so much to get advice but to get ourselves into a habit of listening to it. I would not, however, start that habit with Principles: Life andWork by Ray Dalio. Dalio founded Bridgewater Associates, “the largest hedge fund in the world and the fifth- most-important private company in the U.S.,” according to the dust-jacket copy (dust-jacket copy always being sworn to the highest level of truth). Be Dalio’s credentials what they may, the Grump got no further than the headings on his contents page. “Embrace Reality and Deal With It”... as opposed to what? Embrace a bottle of Jack Daniels and drink it? “Be Radically Open-Minded”... you’re getting a species-change operation?! Awesome! I love your gills! “Believability Weight Your Decision Making”... that’s not even English. Does Dalio mean you shouldn’t first decide to go to the beach and then step on the bathroom scale? “Do What You Set Out to Do”... what if the Grump set out to get drunk? – TBG
Usually, being human, we don’t listen to advice... even though we could all use some.
American Consequences 83
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