Principles – Ray Dalio Book Summary

Principles – Ray Dalio | Free Book Summary

Principles – Ray Dalio

The outlined principles are great for both work and personal life.

Put Yourself On The Road To Success

  • Seek out the smartest people you disagree with and try to understand their logic.
  • Know when it’s best not to have an opinion.
  • Develop, test, and systematize timeless and universal principles
  • Balance risks in ways that maintain the big upside while reducing the downside.

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How To Solve Disagreements

Express your sincere, authentic thoughts

Have considerate debates in which people are willing to shift their opinions as they learn new perspectives

Have agreed-upon ways of deciding (voting, authorities, etc.) if disagreements remain so you can move on without resentment.

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Clarify Your Own Principles

The most important thing for you to do is write down your principles to clarify them.

Write down every type of interaction you had and how you handled it (taking the future into consideration as well). Test your assumptions and update your data when necessary.

Record why you made certain decisions, then check in on that logic later.

I believe that life consists of an enormous number of choices that come to us and that each decision we make has consequences, so the quality of our lives depends on the quality of the decisions we make.

Understand Reality and Deal With It

  • A correct understanding of reality is the essential foundation for any good outcome.
  • Don’t get attached to your views about how things should be; there should always be space for learning.
  • Evolution is the single greatest force in the universe.
  • Evolving is life’s greatest accomplishment and its greatest reward.
  • “No pain, no gain”. Evolution won’t always feel good.

Understand Reality and Deal With It Part 2

  • Pain + Reflection = Progress. The quality of your life will depend on the decisions you make at those painful moments.
  • Weigh second and third-order consequences.
  • Think of yourself as a machine operating within a machine and know that you have the ability to alter your machines to produce better outcomes.
  • Distinguish between you as the designer of your machine and you as a worker with your machine.

Confront Your Weaknesses

  • Don’t confuse reality with the way you wish reality to be.
  • Don’t overweight first-order consequences relative to second and third-order ones.
  • Don’t let pain stop you from progressing.
  • Don’t blame negative results on anyone but yourself.

Getting What You Want Out Of Life

Use this five-step process:

  • Set clear goals.
  • Identify the issues that stand in the way of you achieving those goals.
  • Diagnose the issues correctly to get at their root causes.
  • Draft plans that will get you around them.
  • Do what’s necessary to push these plans through to results.

How To Set Clear Goals:

  • Prioritize: you can’t have everything you want
  • Don’t confuse goals with desires. 
  • Don’t give up on the goals that seem impossible.
  • Don’t confuse the signs of success with success itself.
  • Learn how to deal with your setbacks; this is as important as knowing how to move forward.

How to Make Decisions Effectively

  • Know and understand the biggest threat to good decision-making – harmful emotions
  • Decision-making is a two-step process: first learning, then deciding
  • Synthesize the situation you’re dealing with
  • Make your decisions as expected value calculations
  • Prioritize by weighing the value of additional information against the cost of not deciding
  • Use principles and convert them into algorithms, then have the computer make decisions alongside you.

Work Principles

  • Value knowing the truth. You have nothing to fear from knowing it
  • Cultivate meaningful work and meaningful relationships
  • Foster a culture that allows mistakes and encourages learning from them
  • Weight your decision-making in a realistic way
  • Recognize how to get beyond disagreement
  •  Hire right, because the costs of hiring wrong are huge
  • Constantly train, test, evaluate, and sort people
  • Identify and don’t tolerate problems
  • Diagnose problems to get at their root causes
  • Design improvements to your machine to get around your problems
  • Do what you set out to do
  • Use tools and protocols to shape how work is done
  • Don’t overlook governance.

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