Principles by Ray Dalio
What follows are three distinct parts that can be read either
independently or as a connected whole. Part 1 is about the purpose and
importance of having principles in general, having nothing to do with
mine. Part 2 explains my most fundamental life principles that apply to
everything I do. Part 3, explains my management principles as they are
being lived out at Bridgewater.
Since my management principles are simply my most fundamental life
principles applied to management, reading Part 2 will help you to better
understand Part 3, but it’s not required—you can go directly to Part 3
to see what my management principles are and how Bridgewater has been
One day I’d like to write a Part 4 on my investment principles. If you
are looking to get the most bang for your buck (i.e., understanding for
the effort), I suggest that you read Parts 1 and 2, and the beginning of
Part 3 (through the Summary and Table of Principles) which will give you
nearly the whole picture. It’s only about 55 pages of a normal size
Above all else, I want you to think for yourself—to decide 1) what you
want, 2) what is true and 3) what to do about it. I want you to do that
in a clear-headed thoughtful way, so that you get what you want.
I wrote this book to help you do that. I am going to ask only two things
of you—1) that you be open-minded and 2) that you honestly answer some
questions about what you want, what is true and what you want to do
about it. If you do these things, I believe that you will get a lot out
of this book. If you can’t do these things, you should reflect on why
that is, because you probably have discovered one of your greatest
impediments to getting what you want out of life.
Part 1: The Importance of Principles …… 原则的要害
Part 二: My Most Fundamental Life Principles …… 笔者为主的活着标准
Part 三: My Management Principles …… 笔者的管理规范
© 2011 Ray Dalio
Principles are concepts that can be applied over and over again in
similar circumstances as distinct from narrow answers to specific
questions. Every game has principles that successful players master to
achieve winning results. So does life. Principles are ways of
successfully dealing with the laws of nature or the laws of life. Those
who understand more of them and understand them well know how to
interact with the world more effectively than those who know fewer of
them or know them less well.
Different principles apply to different aspects of life—e.g., there are
“skiing principles” for skiing, “parenting principles” for parenting,
“management principles” for managing, “investment principles” for
investing, etc—and there are over-arching “life principles” that
influence our approaches to all things. And, of course, different people
subscribe to different principles that they believe work best.
I am confident that whatever success Bridgewater and I have had has
resulted from our operating by certain principles. Creating a great
culture, finding the right people, managing them to do great things and
solving problems creatively and systematically are challenges faced by
What differentiates them is how they approach these challenges. The
principles laid out in the pages that follow convey our unique ways of
doing these things, which are the reasons for our unique results.
Bridgewater’s success has resulted from talented people operating by the
principles set out here, and it will continue if these or other talented
people continue to operate by them. Like getting fit, virtually anyone
can do it if they are willing to do what it takes.
What is written here is just my understanding of what it takes: my most
fundamental life principles, my approach to getting what I want, and my
“management principles,” which are based on those foundations. Taken
together, these principles are meant to paint a picture of a process for
the systematic pursuit of truth and excellence and for the rewards that
accompany this pursuit. I put them in writing for people to consider in
order to help Bridgewater and the people I care about most.
Until recently, I didn’t write out these principles because I felt that
it was presumptuous for me to tell others what would work best for them.
But over time, I saw the people who I cared about most struggling with
problems and wanted to help them; I also found that their problems were
almost always the result of violating one or more of these principles,
and that their problems could be solved by applying these principles. So
I began writing down the types of problems and the broken principles
that caused them. When I began, I didn’t know how many principles I
would end up with but, through this process, I discovered that about 200
principles pretty much cover all the problems.1 I’m sure that I will
come up with more as I learn more.
When I say that these are my principles, I don’t mean that in a
possessive or egotistical way. I just mean that they are explanations of
what I personally believe. I believe that the people I work with and
care about must think for themselves. I set these principles out and
explained the logic behind them so that we can together explore their
merits and stress test them. While I am confident that these principles
work well because I have thought hard about them, they have worked well
for me for many years, and they have stood up to the scrutiny of the
hundreds of smart, skeptical people, I also believe that nothing is
certain. I believe that the best we can hope for is highly probable. By
putting them out there and stress testing them, the probabilities of
their being right will increase.
I also believe that those principles that are most valuable to each of
us come from our own encounters with reality and our reflections on
these encounters – not from being taught and simply accepting someone
else’s principles. So, I put these out there for you to reflect on when
you are encountering your realities, and not for you to blindly follow.
What I hope for most is that you and others will carefully consider them
and try operating by them as part of your process for discovering what
works best for you. Through this exploration, and with their increased
usage, not only will they be understood, but they will evolve from
“Ray’s principles” to “our principles,” and Ray will fade out of the
picture in much the same way as memories of one’s ski or tennis
instructor fade and people only pay attention to what works.2 So, when
digesting each principle, please…
…ask yourself: “Is it true?”
Before I discuss the management principles themselves, it’s important
for me to articulate my own most fundamental life principles because my
management principles are an extension of them.
In Part 1, I explain what I mean by principles, why I believe they are
important, and how they are essential for getting what you want out of
Part 2 explains my most fundamental life principles. I describe what I
believe are the best ways of interacting with reality to learn what it’s
like, and how to most effectively deal with it to get what you want. I
also discuss what I believe are the most common traps that people fall
into that prevent them from getting what they want, and how people’s
lives can be radically better by avoiding them. I wrote this so you can
better understand why my other principles are what they are, though you
don’t need to read this part to understand the others.
Part 3 is about my management principles. As I have run Bridgewater for
more than 35 years, it explains Bridgewater’s approach up till now. It
begins at the big-picture, conceptual level, with an explanation of why
I believe that any company’s results are primarily determined by its
people and its culture. It then drills down into what I believe are the
important principles behind creating a great culture, hiring the right
people, managing them to achieve excellence, solving problems
systematically and making good decisions.
There are of course lots of other types of principles. For example, I
hope to one day write about my investment principles. However,
management principles are now what we need most, so here are the ones
that I think make sense and have worked for me.
Part 一: The Importance of Principles原则的重大
I believe that having principles that work is essential for getting what
we want out of life. I also believe that to understand each other we
have to understand each other’s principles.3 That is why I believe we
need to talk about them.
We will begin by examining the following questions:
What are principles?
Why are principles important?
Where do principles come from?
Do you have principles that you live your life by? What are they? How
well do you think they will work, and why?
ca88手机老虎机登录，Answer all questions with complete honesty, without worrying what I or
others might think. That honesty will allow you to be comfortable living
with your own principles, and to judge yourself by how consistently you
operate by them. If you don’t have many well-thought-out principles,
don’t worry. We will get there together, if we remain open-minded.
- What are principles?
Your values are what you consider important, literally what you
“value.” Principles are what allow you to live a life consistent
with those values. Principles connect your values to your actions;
they are beacons that guide your actions, and help you successfully
deal with the laws of reality. It is to your principles that you
turn when you face hard choices.
- Why are principles important?
All successful people operate by principles that help them be
successful. Without principles, you would be forced to react to
circumstances that come at you without considering what you value
most and how to make choices to get what you want. This would
prevent you from making the most of your life. While operating
without principles is bad for individuals, it is even worse for
groups of individuals (such as companies) because it leads to people
randomly bumping into each other without understanding their own
values and how to behave in order to be consistent with those
- Where do principles come from?
Sometimes we forge our own principles and sometimes we accept
others’ principles, or holistic packages of principles, such as
religion and legal systems. While it isn’t necessarily a bad thing
to use others’ principles—it’s difficult to come up with your own,
and often much wisdom has gone into those already created—adopting
pre-packaged principles without much thought exposes you to the risk
of inconsistency with your true values. Holding incompatible
principles can lead to conflict between values and actions—like the
hypocrite who has claims to be of a religion yet behaves counter to
its teachings. Your principles need to reflect values you really