Book Summary: Principles – Ray Dalio


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 forty years to create different results in both life and business — and which any person or organisation can adopt to help achieve their goals.

1. Think for yourself to decide the following: what you want, what is true, and what you should do to achieve X in light of Y.
2. He who lives by the crystal glass is destined to eat ground glass.
3. Good principles are effective ways of dealing with reality.
4. Embrace reality and deal with it.
5. Dreams + Reality + Determination = a successful life.
6. Radical open-mindedness and radical transparency are invaluable for rapid learning and effective change.
7. Evolving is life’s greatest accomplishment and its greatest reward.
8. Reality is optimising for the whole — not for you.
9. Pain + Reflection = Progress.
10. The biggest mistake people make is not to see themselves and others objectively, which leads them to bump into their own and other’s weaknesses over and over again.
11. Successful people are those who can go above themselves to see things objectively and manage those things to shape change.
12. While you can have virtually anything you want, you can’t have everything you want.
13. Don’t confuse goals with desires.
14. Don’t mistake the trappings of success for success itself. People obsess over a pair of shoes or a watch or whatever.
15. Almost nothing can stop you from succeeding if you have flexibility and self-accountability.
16. Knowing how to deal with your setbacks is as important as knowing how to move forward.
17. Be specific in identifying your problems.
18. Focus on ‘what is’ before you decide ‘what to do about it’.
19. Everyone has one big thing that stands in the way of their success. Find yours and deal with it.
20. Appreciate the art of thoughtful disagreement.
21. Open Mind vs Closed Mind. Closed Mind = Don’t want their ideas challenged, make statements, don’t ask questions, block others from speaking and lacking humility. Open Mind = More curious, ask genuine questions, see things through the eyes of others, listen more and build on thoughts of others.
22. Be evidence-based and encourage others to do the same.
23. The constant struggle is between feeling and thinking
24. The biggest threat to good decision making is harmful emotions.
25. There is a big difference between the acceptable bar and the excellent bar.
26. Make your passion and your work the same.
27. Realise that you have nothing to fear from knowing the truth.
28. Don’t let loyalty to people stand in the way of truth.
29. Be loyal to the common mission and not to anyone who is not operating consistently with it.
30. Make sure people understand the difference between fairness and generosity.
31. Generosity is good, but entitlement is bad, and they can be easily confused.
32. The size of an organisation can pose a threat to meaningful relationships.
33. Create a culture in which it is okay to make mistakes and unacceptable not to learn from them.
34. Observe the patterns of mistakes to see if they are products of weaknesses.
35. Recognise that conflicts are essential for great relationships.
36. Recognise that getting in sync is a two-way opportunity.
37. If it is your meeting to run, you manage the conversation.
38. Be precise in your communication to avoid confusion.
39. Lead the discussion by being assertive and open minded.
40. In a meeting think, whether you are playing the role of a teacher, a student or a peer
41. It is more important for a student to understand and appreciate the teacher.
42. Disagreement must be done efficiently.
43. Recognise how to get beyond disagreements.
44. Principles cannot be ignored by agreement in any organisation.
45. Make sure people don’t confuse the right to complain, give advice, and openly debate with the right to make decisions.
46. Think of your teams the way that sports managers do. No one person possesses everything required to produce success, yet everyone must excel.
47. Think about the accuracy, not implications.
48. Understand the difference between managing, micromanaging and not managing.
49. Hold yourself and your people accountable and appreciate them for holding you accountable.
50. Keep your strategic vision the same while making appropriate tactical changes as circumstances dictate.
51. Think about the big picture and the granular details and understand the connections between them.
52. Have good controls so that you are exposed to the dishonesty of others.
53. Have the clearest possible reporting lines and accurate description of responsibilities.

Grab the book: Principles: Life and Work


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