by Ian Almasi

April 1, 2021

When building your own business, what do you think is the best principle to follow? Is it having a quality product? Is it proper marketing? Is it knowing what your customer needs? Could be. But according to this book, it is more than these. Author, Ray Dalio, divided his book into three parts — his personal, entrepreneurial, and his principles.

Personal journey

Ray’s personal journey to success comes from humble beginnings which makes it relatable to readers. His general view on philanthropy and how almost every member of his family is caught in this giving attitude is a factor of his success. His first son is into inexpensive, effective computing during the developing era. His second son is into giving donations for mental health. His son’s wives are into fighting climate change and the welfare of animals. His own wife is into providing education for detached and disengaged children. He is personally passionate about ocean life, while as a family, they support veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Entrepreneurial journey

He emphasizes starting young, making bigger investments in management firms that cater to foundations, corporations, and banks all over the world. It is very enticing for readers to know how he explained the mistakes and risks he took before he was successful. 

Principles in life

The principles he espouses are of great consequence. The importance of governance in a company, the unfamiliar concept of idea meritocracy and of course, the 5-Step Process. He also speaks about being radically open-minded and mentions his take on how to significantly raise your probabilities of making the right decisions by open-mindedly triangulating with subject matter experts. 

Dalio’s principles in life:

  • Embrace reality and deal with it — Dalio shares an important equation, which in his perspective makes for a successful life: dreams, combined with reality  and determination result in a successful life. For the ‘reality’ component of this equation to achieve its result, Dalio emboldens his readers to be open minded and radically transparent to any situation.
  • Pain + Reflection = Progress — Dalio’s point about “going to the pain rather than avoiding it” reaches the readers. It’s easy to dismiss this statement because it’s coming from a highly successful man, but it flips the audience as they can see how someone like Dalio has gone through his own share of pain to get to where he’s gotten to, and understood the process along the way to success.
  • Using the 5-step process to get what you want out of life — Start with having concise goals starting with the first step, followed by identifying but not tolerating the problems that stand in the way of you achieving these goals. Next step is to accurately diagnose the issues to get at the root cause. The third step is to design plans that will get you around them and finally, do what’s necessary to push these designs to get results. Dalio portrays this as a continuous process and people can benefit greatly from applying the principles to achieve their goals.
  • Understand that people are wired differently — Dalio cannot stress the fact that all people are wired differently, and the differences between left and right thinking of people. 

All in all, the book is a great read for people who want to understand the journey of a young man who succeeded. It is also interesting that the book did not emphasize his special abilities or talents, but rather his journey, risks, and personal experiences.

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