Speakeasy Marketing May 2018

The Radical Transparency of Ray Dalio’s ‘Principles’


From the outside, it might seem that such an uncompromisingly honest vision would create problems. After all, Bridgewater employees describe “public hangings” of those who don’t rigorously follow Dalio’s rules and meetings that sometimes stretch for hours due to disagreements about a single item on the agenda. But Dalio argues that creating this fluid back- and-forth is a vital component of a healthy organization. SYSTEMATIZE THE DECISION- MAKING PROCESS. Aside from Dalio’s trademark transparency and sometimes brutal honesty, “Principles” has one thread that runs through the whole book: Everything can and should be boiled down and understood with a simple system. By acknowledging how reality operates, you can transform your business and achieve clarity in every aspect of your life.

If you grew up in an ordinary, middle-class neighborhood on Long Island, proceeded to found an investment

Since its publication last year, Dalio’s book has risen to No. 5 on Amazon’s charts, become a No. 1 New York Times best seller, and been touted as revolutionary by some of the most successful businesspeople of our time. It’s a thick volume of just under 600 pages but nonetheless compelling. Dalio’s dedication to the idea of openness in all things is evident through the organization of his life’s work into a detailed and actionable program.

firm out of your apartment in NYC, and went on to make more money for your clients than any other hedge fund in the history of the industry, you would assume there was something uniquely special about you, right? Not according to Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates and one of the most successful — and influential, as 2012’s Time magazine attests — men in the world. He’ll be the first to tell you that there’s no secret to his genius. Just open his book and memorize the 200-plus “Principles” he honed over his career. Dalio believes these are the real reason he stands in such a prominent position today.


Dalio’s transparency extends to creating an open forum for

disagreement. In an earlier 2011 draft of Dalio’s “Principles,” he wrote of the importance of “creat[ing] an environment in which everyone has the right to understand what makes sense and no one has the right to hold a critical opinion without speaking up about it.”


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