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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 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

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Your compass north guide on your life journey

I truly enjoyed this book and it was particularly beneficial being read by the author. Ray Dalio is a very successful person and it’s excellent for him to share, in full transparency, his Principles that shaped him and Bridgewater. This allows you to gain a very intimate insight on Rays compass north during all important and mundane decisions and can be used a guide for you as you develop your own principles.
Of course, this is the premise of the book that to achieve results it requires radical truth with radical transparency. Ray certainly delivers on this and I have begun to implement these within my career and life.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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An absolute gem!

This has to be there with the best book I have consumed in a very long time. So much so that I truly believe that any individual should listen to or read to add value and benefit their lives both personally and professionally. I could not switch it off!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A life changing boom

Thank you Ray Dalio for writing this! Business and life guidance from someone well read and most definitely experiences..

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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I personally didn't find it educational enough.

The book feels a lot like a linear autobiography. It talks about major events from the author’s past, including successes and failures the author has learnt from.

In the beginning, the book sounded to have been structured well and the author’s writing style seemed quite analytical. The author’s voice is clear and composed throughout. I really liked it when the author states he doesn’t wish to impose his beliefs on the listener and that the advice he’ll be sharing may not benefit everyone.

The author frequently speaks about how has helped companies run more efficiently. Most times, however, I struggled to extract value from his explanations unless he gave some sort of evaluation in the end.

The author also speaks a lot about his company Bridgewater, its challenges and achievements as well as constantly evolving culture and management. To me it sounded the author was more interested in describing, explaining and at times praising his business instead of looking to provide knowledge to the listener in a direct and understandable way.

Four hours in, the book appeared to have become an autobiography of Ray Dalio’s business and career. I decided to return it because the more I listened to it, the less I felt it benefited me.

I wouldn’t recommend the book to everyone but if you are into investing, finance and business management, you may really like the book.

22 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • J
  • Helsinki
  • 14-02-18

Mostly about Bridgewater

Not really a general self-help book, but has value if interested in the company.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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An absolute must read

The author is incredibly eloquent and down to earth person. Normal language is being used to explain complexity of company organisation etc.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Book of the year!

1.3 Don't let the fears of what others think of you stand in your way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great insights but very, very repetitive.

This book contained some really useful insights and offered a glimpse of how the world of financial services will someday look. That said, it was extremely repetitive and dragged on for about 9 hours longer than it needed to.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

I purchased this audiobook expecting it to be about money but I got so much more out of this and 16 hours thoroughly well spent. I will be purchasing the book so I can study life principles in more depth. I’m looking forward to investing and economic principles. Idea meritocracy anyone?

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A Fantastic Book

And one that will be talked about for years to come. Really enjoyable listen; Ray and the other narrator had fantastic reading voices without being either overly dramatic or dull and boring.

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  • Patrick Eberle
  • 30-06-18

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.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Belle Ho
  • 16-11-17

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.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert F. Jones
  • 08-10-17

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.

175 of 197 people found this review helpful

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  • James Adams
  • 22-11-17

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.

73 of 83 people found this review helpful

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  • Redmond2000
  • 01-10-17

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.

46 of 54 people found this review helpful

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  • Jon David Schein
  • 28-10-17

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.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Market Maven
  • 14-10-17

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.

33 of 40 people found this review helpful

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  • Christian
  • 26-09-17

I need to go through this book a few more times.

This is a great book to listen to and I found myself drifting off quite a lot thinking how to apply any given section to my life/work. I'll have to go through it a few more times for sure.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Dr. Scott K. Moffat
  • 30-06-18

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Lance
  • 09-11-17

Ray Dalio's ferocious fidelity to thought

In these days of social media we seem to have become pack creatures.

Someone pushes back, embarrasses you, just defriend them, circle yourself with people who understand you and you understand them. Or maybe you just pretend to because the social cost of disagreement is too high.

Ray Dalio describes a soul with ferocious fidelity to progressive thought, perhaps his or Bridgewater's collective version of the truth. A fidelity that has brought him scorn, ridicule, and ultimately undreamt of unhoped for success and attendant wealth. Bravo Mr. Dalio we should all take such care of something so seemingly small. Perhaps if we did the world would be a much better place.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful