Principles - Life and Work
Ray Dalio
Contributed by Roseanne Meinecke
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Part 3 - My Management Principles

The author first talks about management principles in general. He asserts that it is essential to have principles in the efforts of getting what one wants in life regardless of whether it is individually or as a group. However, Dalio says that in the cases involving a group of individuals, all the members must agree on the group’s values and principles (Dalio 40). This strategy is important as it helps eliminate confusion and failure in an organization. Dalio claims that his most fundamental work principle is to make work and passion one and the same. He says that it becomes even better when one opts to do it with the people he or she wants to be with in life.

Dalio describes an organization as a machine with two major parts one being people and the other being culture. He claims that the two parts influence each other since the people determine an organization’s culture while the culture determines the kind of people who will thrive in the organization. In addition, he says that great organizations have both great people and great cultures (Dalio 63). Nonetheless, the author affirms that getting both the people and the culture right is the most difficult process and yet it is the most important task of a leader. Additionally, Dalio emphasizes on the use of tough love, an approach involving pointing out mistakes and weaknesses (Dalio 56). Dalio credits his principle-driven approach to not only improve economic, investment, and management decisions, but also to better decisions in “every aspect” of life.

Besides, Dalio says that the most meaningful relationships are those where people can speak honestly about important matters, learn together, and be open to hold one another accountable to be excellent (Dalio 73). He says that having these type of relationships with coworkers is an effective way of helping people get through challenging work without any complications. He adds that the challenging work leads to closer and stronger relationships thus forming a self-reinforcing cycle that creates success (Dalio 53). After establishing the cycle, Dalio thinks that members of the organization have to be loyal to the mission while watching out for those who fail to operate in concert to the set goals. He asserts that everyone has to be on the same page especially regarding the expectations and all the non-negotiable things such as people considering themselves above others. In addition, Dalio believes in creating an environment where it is okay to make mistakes. He says that successful people learn from their mistakes while unsuccessful people do not. Therefore, he thinks that people should directly address the mistakes made to ensure that the workplace remains rampant and proactive (Dalio 36).

Dalio also talks about Bridgewater’s culture and people. The author sets it clear that the people he has chosen for his company are extensions of the principles that he thinks work best. In addition, his employees have to follow the steps he followed while he was trying to beat the stock markets as he believes that they are practical and effective (Dalio 42). The author sets out the correct process of getting the culture right. He talks about things such as truth in truth, creating a culture in which it is okay to make mistakes but unacceptable not to identify, analyze, and learn from them, and constantly getting coordinated (Dalio 44). The writer also shows the effective way of getting the people right in Bridgewater. Dalio claims that the most important decisions one makes are the individuals he or she chooses to be his or her responsible party. Ideally, these individuals determine a lot on the possibility of acquiring the set goals. It is also vital to recognize that people are different and thus they have different values, skills, and abilities (Dalio 46). The author thinks that it is important to evaluate people accurately and not ‘kindly’, and their training and testing should be through experiences. Dalio also talks about the effective methods of perceiving, diagnosing and solving problems while touching on effective decision-making (Dalio 51).


Dalio’s “Work Principles” are essentially the “Life Principles” applied to groups. Dalio believes that the work principles are even more important than the life principles because the power of a group is so much greater than the power of an individual. The work principles’ target audience is those who view work as a means of following a passion and achieving a mission. By talking about the principles of management in general, the author intends to familiarize the reader with the whole concept before he touches on a specific area. He mentions the importance of principles both at an individual level and at an organization level. Dalio stresses on the issue of members in a group agreeing on the values and principles to follow since diversions may bring confusions and failure of an organization. His ideologies are a clear indication that he is an experienced individual who has a substantial and vital knowledge to impact on other people. Dalio also mentions the type of people he chooses for Bridgewater. These individuals have to portray the principles he has followed his entire life, as they are the elements that have moved him to the position he currently holds. His method of choosing the people shows that he values his ideas, and he intends to uphold their practicality and effectiveness. The author also shares on the culture and the people of his company as a way of affirming that his methods are effective and will bring success to those who follow them. Nonetheless, people have to mind about the compatibility of their values and his principles to avoid misguidance and failure.

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