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Principles by Ray Dalio, Week 2

  • Think for yourself to first decide what do you want.
  • Find out what’s true.
  • Ask “what should you do to achieve what you want in light of what’s true?”

Those are the 3 things Ray Dalio says someone must do in order to find their principles.

For next week, read Part Two: Life Principles. Pages 132 to 298

Now, time for a quick recap.

Last week we read Where I’m Coming From, the first section of Principles.

Dalio told us about growing up, starting his hedgefund, and a little bit about his philosophies.

Now, in the past I’d take a few hours to write a summary and my takeaways. But, a few of you posted some great stuff in The Anti-MBA Facebook group, so I’ll share those instead:


“I find it particularly interesting how he builds his systems around historical data, while Elon Musk really makes it a point to not look at history when making decisions, and that you can’t just assume things are the same.” 

-Ben Levey

Hear ya, Ben. There’s so much conflicting advice out there from successful people. One of my favorite entrepreneurs is a guy named Kevin Ryan. He started Gilt, Business Insider, and DoubleClick and has sold billions of dollars worth of companies.

When I asked him if he looked at the numbers before starting a business, he said something like “Not really. I just look to make sure the market is big enough and that’s it. If the topic interests me, I do it.”

But there are plenty of people who do the opposite. Like James Simons, a mathematician billionaire who runs a hedgefund.

Basically, there are thousands of ways to get something done, and I’m pretty sure I can point to a ‘successful’ person who’s made a specific way work.


“The man helped McDonald’s usher in the McNugget in 1983!” 

– Paresh Jha

Loved that story (page 25). Basically, Dalio showed cattle farmers how to use futures. This made the price of chicken less volatile, which meant McDonalds could buy a ton of it, inspiring them to create the McNugget.


“I wish he had gotten into more details about certain practices he put in place. For instance, with new hires. How does he put them through training to discern what their strengths and weaknesses are beside having them take personality tests?” 

– Evie Gold

Completely agree. This book is about 450 pages. Most it is on the principles, not Dalio’s bio. I find biographies to be more actionable than other types of storytelling, so I think Dalio missed the mark by making this section short.

Anyone here work at Bridgewater? Comment in the group and tell us what work there is like.


“I continue to be amazed at the help of people who seem “self-made” receive at some point or another. Examples: Ray’s father giving him a loan, Bill Gates being from a well off family that could afford a computer when many other couldn’t

“I continue to be amazed at the help of people who seem “self-made” receive at some point or another.

…It’s reassuring to learn that very few people are truly “self-made” who have accomplished a great deal without some level of help or support at some point.”

– Austin Gaydos

I also found it inspiring to hear that Dalio went broke in his early to mid 30’s. The guy’s one of the 100 richest folks in the world. Yet, he was far from an early success.


OK folks, that’s it for tonight.

Please comment in the FB group with your thoughts and feedback: https://www.facebook.com/groups/theantimba/

– Sam (https://twitter.com/thesamparr )

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