Get a free audiobook

Principles

Life and Work
Written by: Ray Dalio
Narrated by: Ray Dalio, Jeremy Bobb
Length: 16 hrs and 5 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (933 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Ray Dalio, one of the world's most successful investors and entrepreneurs, shares the unconventional principles that he's developed, refined, and used over the past 40 years to create unique results in both life and business - and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.

In 1975, Ray Dalio founded an investment firm, Bridgewater Associates, out of his two-bedroom apartment in New York City. Forty years later, Bridgewater has made more money for its clients than any other hedge fund in history and has grown into the fifth most important private company in the United States, according to Fortune magazine. Dalio himself has been named to Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Along the way, Dalio discovered a set of unique principles that have led to Bridgewater's exceptionally effective culture, which he describes as "an idea meritocracy that strives to achieve meaningful work and meaningful relationships through radical transparency". It is these principles, and not anything special about Dalio - who grew up an ordinary kid in a middle-class Long Island neighborhood - that he believes are the reason behind his success.

In Principles, Dalio shares what he's learned over the course of his remarkable career. He argues that life, management, economics, and investing can all be systemized into rules and understood like machines. The book's hundreds of practical lessons, which are built around his cornerstones of "radical truth" and "radical transparency", include Dalio laying out the most effective ways for individuals and organizations to make decisions, approach challenges, and build strong teams. He also describes the innovative tools the firm uses to bring an idea meritocracy to life, such as creating "baseball cards" for all employees that distill their strengths and weaknesses and employing computerized decision-making systems to make believability-weighted decisions. While the book brims with novel ideas for organizations and institutions, Principles also offers a clear, straightforward approach to decision making that Dalio believes anyone can apply, no matter what they're seeking to achieve.

Here, from a man who has been called both "the Steve Jobs of investing" and "the philosopher king of the financial universe" (CIO magazine), is a rare opportunity to gain proven advice unlike anything you'll find in the conventional business press.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 Ray Dalio (P)2017 Simon & Schuster Audio

What listeners say about Principles

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    664
  • 4 Stars
    184
  • 3 Stars
    56
  • 2 Stars
    24
  • 1 Stars
    5
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    542
  • 4 Stars
    166
  • 3 Stars
    57
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    6
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    522
  • 4 Stars
    164
  • 3 Stars
    55
  • 2 Stars
    29
  • 1 Stars
    8

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

I'm surprised this book has such great reviews

I'm a casual reader of this genre and found very little original content here. All the principles boil down to common sense with little advice on actual application. The entire book revolves around: identify issues, solve them, voila! it wasn't that hard was it?! At no point in this book I was persuaded that Dalio's principles actually made his company successful and not simply the fact that he made good calls on the market and made a ton of money... which by the way Dalio seems to make clear is the only definition of greatness that anyone cares about... money. Dalio also seems completely oblivious to his privileged position and seems to assume everyone has the option to consult 4 Chief of Staff Physicians across the country when validating a medical diagnosis... easy right? why doesn't everyone do it? He often repeats how he started from "nothing"; his version of nothing being married rich with Harvard degree in tow The biography part of the book is pretty much a long backdoor bragging narrative; in fairness, Dalio warns about it. The life principles are just common sense with no original take nor any practical approach. The work principles are the same life principles (literally) but from a work angle. Useful of course if you run your own Fortune 500 company because if you are just an employee (even a high level one) you will have no chance to even try these (almost all revolve around hiring and firing people anyway) Finally, and perhaps in an effort to sound original, Dalio comes up with his own terms for ideas that already exist but as the book progresses he essentially betrays them. "Radical Transparency" ends up being not even "total transparency", just basically a tad more transparent than other companies?... "Radical open mindness" sure, accept other more "believable" (his word for "credible") people no matter what... unless you are the owner because principle 11 says "always hold the last word". Anyway, there are better, more practical and evidence based books out there... skip this one.

71 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

superb recap of a business well built.

an instruction manual of sorts, for the CEO who grows the company through continuous improvement and objective metrics

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Overfit

There are some really good ideas in this book but there is so much data that the model is so overfit that it's useless to anyone outside of Bridgewater and I have a feeling it's likely even overfit for Bridgewater itself. It's certainly the result of a lot of careful learning over a lifetime but it has become too rigid. Also for a book that seems to endorse an 'idea meritocracy' it sure reads like a dictatorship. There were a lot of times when I had to switch to another book because it felt like I was being nagged at by some grandpa saying "If you don't do things my way, you will fail!". If you have a lot of time and patience to wade through this book, there are some gems to be found but this book has little practical advice or use.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book, could not stop listening

I started listening and had a hard time to stop, finished in only two sessions. I found many of the principles very interesting and several I already use in my daily life. I believe that it is a must read for new supervisors or those who are in management positions. Some of the teachings I believe would benefit many of the organizations I have been a part of in the past. Will definitely give it another listen and know that I will pull something new out every listen. I will most likely listen to the audiobook a couple of times a year.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Can't wait for another book for Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio is truly one of the greatest minds alive and having him share his story is priceless for me. I feel like I have got upgraded from level 3 to level 7 by reading this book. It covers all the bases for you to succeed in any work environment. One thing to note: do NOT miss the first part of the book where he talks about his life experience rather the principles. That part was AMAZING and I wish he would expended on that more (an this is a 16 hour book). I can't wait when he is going to release the Principles of Economics and Investments.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great concept, but repetitive

Loved the book and its core concept but was unable to finish it due to how repetitive it was. it was so repetitive that I didnt feel the need to listen to the last 6 hours of the book. Definitely a must-read, but there's no need to listen to it in its entirety.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great listen! Highly recommend to everyone!

This was by far the best book I've ever listened to or read in regards to improving my work life, investment decisions and all reaching to new higher goals. I came away with quite a few ways to improve my approach to life in all its aspects creating a better me : )

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

this is the first time hearing Ray's content 👍

Detailed, intelligently organised and useful. I will look for more of Ray's content. Thank you

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book !

Love it ? life & work guidance. cant wait for the next book Investment & Economy principles. Thank Ray for sharing your experience

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great book if you have a business

read book if you have a business and are looking to increase your ability to run the business effectively and efficiently

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Patrick Eberle
  • 2018-06-30

Idea-meritocracy/Principles Reference

This work is a reference to Ray Dalio's principals & a brief history of how he created them to get where he is now. I throughly enjoyed the first 5 hours of this book. Most everything after seemed redundant. So much so, that Ray often sites the same example for the same points over and over again. These instances took value away from this book's readability and message. This book is not very clear that it serves as more of a reference and that it is intended to be two reference volumes combined. Albeit, the title's subscript mentions Work & Life. This work reads more like a dictionary after you remove the first few hours of Dalio's life story. Besides your ability to create a drinking game from the number of times Ray states, "Idea-meritocracy", "Radical Truthfulness", "Believability", & each time he retells you about starting Bridgewater, you will find helpful advice on this book. I have listed general themes below Ray could've summarized this book into less than a 10 hr read and kept the same quality in the 16 hr behemoth of reiderations. See my recommendation on his YouTube video below. 30 min. Overall: This book poses interesting ideas on how to improve life and business results. Obviously Bridgewater stands as a shining example of the success from Ray's points. I find that this melds well with Thinking Fast & Thinking Slow as well as many other jobs on how we think and make decisions. It makes our circle of knowledge a little bit wider on how to meet our goals/be successful. I am not sure I would recommend this book, but I believe it does actively challenge you to improve yourself and your processes in life and business. What to take away: Principles are useful for helping us get what we want out of life. They help guide us to meet our goals. You could argue they are algorithms that make us the best we want to be when we follow them. We can use a 5 step plan to adjust our learn from our mistakes and become better, thus updating ourselves or our Principles. It's best to write these principles down. It's best to take the opinion of the whole to make decisions, rather than to think your opinion holds more weight. Seek out experts that are more "Believable" than you and weight their advice higher in their strengths. Ray's YouTube videos are a greater & FREE synopsis of this book that cuts everything down to 30 minutes. I'd highly recommend reviewing that first of you're interested in this book.

166 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Belle Ho
  • 2017-11-16

Insightful but repetitive

I listened to the entire book to understand the context of the principles. However that led me to become easily bored by the constant repetition of the words "idea maritocracy" and "radical honesty". I would suggest skipping to the second portion of the book when the author explains the life and work principles.

59 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Dr. Scott K. Moffat
  • 2018-06-30

Could have been much shorter

Slow in topic and performance. I had to listen to it on 2.0x. Some of this is very interesting, but overall it feels rather verbose and repetitive. I understood from the outset that this would be quite different from Shoe Dog, but I was hoping for something a little more exciting Than it turned out to be. The first part of the book was the most interesting to me. It focuses on the background of the company and its Ascension.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Robert F. Jones
  • 2017-10-08

Personal

Two stars - meh
three stars - good
four stars - worth a second read
five stars - life-changing - my top 50 of all time

Worth a second read because the ideas at the core of the book seem contrary to what has been my life experience.

I'd love to spend a couple of days at Bridgewater or extensively interview some longtime employees to find out if it works as the author suggests.

My experience has been that 'Idea Meritocracies' and 'Radical honesty' work great for those at the top, who's positions cannot be threatened because they deem what is valued and right.

I've also always been told that attempting to fit market movements to algorithms cannot predict the really important swings. This is because we cannot properly summarize all of the market conditions that existed historically, nor can we know all of the factors that effect markets currently because our information is incomplete. I should be able to tell if his approach works by comparing Bridgewater's performance to that of its peers, but I have not yet done this.

The author does make a telling comment early in the book, regarding the computational nature of reality. He states that if we knew we had a perfect description of the current state of the universe, we'd be able to predict what would happen next. This is by no means an established fact. Chaos theory, quantum mechanics and and Heisenberg would probably disagree.

I cannot decide if the 'Baseball Card' approach to personnel makes sense. Baseball stats are more objective that job performance or personality types based on standardized tests.
I'd love to believe that keeping stats on everyone would help predict future performance, but as Sabermetrics showed, which stats one calculates and how they are weighted have significant impact on outcomes.

I'd love to believe that his basic assumptions are correct, but I'm really ambivalent. This book raised many more questions than it answered.

If I check the facts and they seem to hold water, I will make changes to my life and thus this would qualify as a five-star book.

195 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • James Adams
  • 2017-11-22

The Management/CEO’s Handbook

Having fewer reports (zero), than the author, this book - while very interesting, insightful and practical - comes across as directed towards folks way above my pay grade. CEOs and VPs in particular. Still, as a small cog in a very big wheel, I recommend it for both perspective on what good management looks like, and for straight-up honorable principles to live by.

80 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • MazamaCoffeeCo
  • 2017-10-01

Bored to Tears

I don't usually give up on a book, especially one being read to me during a long drive when the only other option is silence. But, geesh. Some of the lead up stories to what I thought was the meat forthcoming were interesting but all in all no meat delivered. At least nothing up to the point where I threw up the white hankie and hit the stop button. The advice was generic and lacked the, for instance, this is how you'd apply this. I do know that he knows all about the ins and outs of pork bellies and the crops they eat and weather patterns ad nauseam. And he mentioned many times how he rubbed elbows with the rich and famous. Got it - you're a big deal.

61 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jon David Schein
  • 2017-10-28

phenomenally replete with wisdom

if you're building a business or hold a management role in one or even if you're looking to improve your day-to-day life, I bet this book will serve you well.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • McKenzy Germain
  • 2017-10-15

The Blueprint — Lessons From Reformed New Yorker

The Blueprint — 10 Lessons From Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

What makes this book a gold mine for me and like-minded people:

1. Understanding why a meritocratic environment works best for my personality has helped me shed imposter syndrome; mask off.

2. Ray defines a valid solution around a psychological dichotomy and process that stems to eliminate a ton of common misconceptions. Supportive ideologies around the power of numbers & group theory, associated with machine learning seem to be a great formula for creating an effective symbiotic ecosystem. If practiced by those who are open to change and constructive criticism.

3. The opening line made me want to get on plane to NYC, take a train over to CT, give Ray a high five, then head back to the concrete jungle to engage in shenanigans.

4. Machine learning (ai) can have a positive outcome as long as its used as supportive component for analytics and behavioral studies.

5. Ai, when done right, has the ability to yield some highly beneficial outcomes around structuring teams and making business decisions. At the same time, it can aid in studying your personal history, train of thought, and help predict what environments are good for personality.

6. It’s good to be open to constructive criticism.

7. Arguments should occur with the intention of arriving at new learnings, not to generate hatred or sense of detachment from the opposing party.

8. Some personalities just don’t work for the environment or culture that you are trying to creates. And in certain cases YOU actually create the high level of toxicity that destroys the environment that you are attempting to create.

9. The goal of learning is to grow and one day help another elevate themselves by sharing your learnings in an intuitive manner.

10. Mistakes should be embraced in the same we celebrate blessings. For in a lost or failure, we have an opportunity to learn and increase our aptitude around problem solving for that specific issue.

Bonus: never give up and let your humility serve as the honey that will capture the hearts and minds of your counterparts.

30 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Market Maven
  • 2017-10-14

Two-thirds full.

I am a fan of Ray Dalio, the legendary hedge-fund manager. This book has three sections: a bio of Ray, followed by his "life principles," followed then by his "work principles." I found his life story to be very interesting indeed. And his "life principles" were excellent, especially the notion of "radical transparency" and "radical openness" and honestly confronting ones problems. So far great. But I got really bogged down in the third section, his "work principles." This seemed more like a corporate human resources manual than anything one could use in life. Even if you were a CEO or department head of a several hundred person organization, his principles often seemed like cliches. So much depends on what people are charged to do, but he has very little of that. I wish he had spent more time on his investment philosophy. This is where is his genius lies. He is not Tony Robbins. But I did learn from this book to confront my own problems more honestly and directly.

37 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • T. Herman
  • 2017-10-05

Narrow Perspective on Modern Workplace

Some of the ideas here are interesting but this really feels like the thoughts of someone who has been "the boss" their entire career, and never experienced other work cultures. Ray is clearly not shy about conflict and I doubt any introverts have ever worked at Bridgewater. If you were starting a hedge fund with a bunch of alpha males this would be the goto strategy for success but I don't think a lot of this advice carries over to other fields and a lot I would consider harmful for creating a truly creative environment.

15 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Pierre Gauthier
  • 2018-03-31

Disappointing!

In this lengthy work, Ray Dalio, the founder and principal owner of the Bridgewater investment firm, publicly shares the principles behind its undeniable success: radical transparency and radical meritocracy.

Though the author claims the contrary in the introduction, the most interesting part of the book is by far the long professional autobiography that makes up the first section.

Sadly, the principles themselves which are presented in the following chapters are too numerous, repetitive and plainly confusing. They remain abstract, very few examples of their application being provided. Overall, the train of thought and general organization is very difficult to follow.

This is particularly true in the audio format, despite the massive PDF that is provided and that connects imperfectly with what is heard. In addition, narration shifts, according to no discernible pattern, from the author himself to a professional reader. These factors give a regrettable amateurish tint to the audiobook.

Also, one wishes the author were more explicit on many points. How practical and truly useful is it to have recordings of all meetings in a firm with 1500 employees available to all? Why does he trust so much psychology which many see as a pseudo-science? Why did he locate his financial firm in suburban Connecticut rather than in Manhattan? How actually connected is the author with the daily operations of his company?

In the end, one wonders if the whole book is not an indulgence to the firm’s founder who recently retired and an investment to maintain its mystique.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Massimiliano Neri
  • 2017-11-06

Outstanding catalog of principles

The point is not if you agree with these principles, but rate to explain how the author came up with his principles, and you can develop your ones.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-04-28

Inspiring.

It's certainly a loong book, but it's definitely a must have for every individual who aim to go farther in life. Especially when it comes to work ethic, self confidence and professional evaluation. A must have.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Coinmunity
  • 2020-05-25

One of my top 5 books of all time !

This book, I mean this masterpiece is legendary! The level of generosity brought by Ray Dalio is tremendous . He shares some information that are worth millions of dollars. I’m really grateful to have finally read this book and also to have met him in person last January in Davos. If you wanna go to the next level with really objective principles and not only mindset personnal development stuffs, this book is for you !

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Adrian Marandiuc
  • 2019-11-30

A reference

This is one of the best non fiction books I've read so far. Just read it, you will not regret

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Andrea B.
  • 2019-11-26

Intéressant

L'auteur nous présente de façon claire et bien organisée, et en bon Anglais, sa philosophie de vie et de travail. Et en lisant on découvre des choses très intéressantes qui peuvent vraiment, à mon avis, nous aider à mieux gérer notre vie professionnelle et personnelle. Et, pourquoi pas, avoir du succès Andrea Bastreghi- Genève

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maya
  • 2019-07-28

Excellent!

Didn t like the very first part...which made me put down the book for few weeks..then I continued it and there was it...all I expected from it. It iq quite complete. I am glad I have the actual book too so I can jump straight to a chapter I want to re read easily. i like the audionooks a lot- super convenient when carrying big books is not.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • tetard_nc
  • 2018-12-30

Principle something really interesting.

I love listening to this as it was really helpful to understand how to create some tools to help you in your everyday decisions. And automate that. Like you are not with your emotion and with logic.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-11-21

Invaluable.

wonderful. Clear, real & pragmatic. The book is rich. It could be studied all life long.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-10-18

Life changer (if ones follow through)

really inspiring and motivating and I appreciate the initiative of Ray to share a life of leanings for everyone to benefit, courageous and benevolent