January’s Book: Principle’s by Ray Dalio

Dear fellow Anti-MBA-ers,

Tis the time to announce this month’s book for The Anti-MBA Book Club.

Drum roll, please…

January’s book for The Anti-MBA Book Club is…Principles by Ray Dalio.

The reading schedule for the book is below. But first, let me explain why I chose this book.

The first reason is because of my fascination with Ray Dalio and his hedge fund Bridgewater.

If you don’t know anything about Ray and Bridgewater, here’s the gist:

  • Bridgewater is the largest hedge fund in the world with $150 billion in assets.
  • Ray’s a weirdo, which I love. He’s blunt, logical, unemotional, and bold.
  • The culture at Bridgewater is also odd. They record every meeting so others can listen, they group coworker’s by personality so they know who to trust, and everyone’s allowed to criticize one another so long as it’s in the open(25-year-olds can critique older bosses).

The background behind this book is also interesting.

Ray’s investment thesis is based on a series of algorithms, or principles, that he’s collected over decades of investing. For example, historically if interest rates hit a certain number, the likelihood that a recession is going to happen is high. Ray uses that likelihood to invest. This is an oversimplification, but you get the point.

As Bridgewater grew its headcount from just Ray to thousands of employees, he realized he had to meticulously write out his principles so his hired guns could put them in play. It worked. After a few decades in business, Bridgewater has outperformed nearly every other hedge fund out there.

Eventually, Ray got to thinking. “If I made my investment ideas into a concrete set of principles that my coworkers can follow, can I do the same for my management strategy?”

And so, he did. And that’s what Principles is about.

Years ago, around 2011, Ray actually made his entire list of principles available for free to the public as a tool for recruiting and training new Bridgewater hires. But that all ended recently when he made them private again.

However, last September Ray came out with Principles, a two part book that starts with his biography and ends with his original list of principles.

And finally, I’m interested also interested in this book because I am struggling to be a good manager.

As my company has grown, I’ve quickly learned that starting something vs. growing it requires completely different skillsets. To start something, you need to be aggressive, brute, and ambitious.

Managing though requires those attributes as well as a bunch more. Finesse, emotional intelligence, and patience…basically, people skills.

And that’s why I was drawn to this book. Ray isn’t just a great starter, but Bridgewater’s growth proves he’s a strong manager. Seeing his principles on how he thinks intrigues me.

So, hopefully this book will help all the stubborn assholes out there like myself.

The reading schedule for the month is below. I’ve broken it up so that it’s about 25% of the book per week. Keep in mind that weeks start on a Monday and end on a Sunday.

  1. Week 1: Part One: Where I’m Coming From. Pages 0 to 131.
  2. Week 2: Part Two: Life Principles. Pages 132 to 298
  3. Week 3: Part Three: Work Principles. Pages 299 to 449 (end at principle 10)
  4. Week 4: Principle 10: Manage as Someone Operating a Machine to Achieve a goal. Page 400 to end.

Interested in joining the book club? Enter your email below. I’ll send you notes on the book as well as access to the Anti-MBA Book Club Facebook group.


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