- Bridgewater founder and co-CIO Ray Dalio reads an advertisement from 1901 the explorer Ernest Shackleton posted in hopes of finding a crew for an expedition to the South Pole. Dalio says he wants to be as blunt as Shackleton was about the challenges of working at Bridgewater so that he can find the best employees.
- Bridgewater Associates
Ray Dalio isn’t like other investors.
His firm, Bridgewater Associates, is the world’s largest hedge fund – with about $160 billion in total assets under management – and it’s run according to a culture of “radical truth” and “radical transparency.”
Dalio has built a workplace according to his vision of the world, and that entails meetings that are filmed to be potentially analyzed for lessons and an iPad app where employees rate each other’s performance in real time.
Dalio is the co-CIO and chairman of Bridgewater, but stepped away from daily office management earlier this year. To mark the occasion, he published the first of two planned books, the first called, “Principles: Life and Work.” It’s both a short autobiography and an expanded version of his intensive list of management principles that every Bridgewater employee reads when they’re hired.
During his book tour, he spoke with “The 4-Hour Workweek” author Tim Ferriss for an episode of Ferriss’ podcast. Ferriss asked Dalio what books he would recommend to any new college graduate, and Dalio responded with three titles he thinks everyone should read. The books, which have nothing to do with finance, offer a glimpse into Dalio’s mind.
‘The Lessons of History’ by Will and Ariel Durant
- Simon & Schuster
The husband-and-wife team of Will and Ariel Durant wrote 11 volumes on Western history from 1935-1975, ending with Napoleonic era only because they died weeks apart from the other. They won a Pulitzer Prize for the tenth volume of that series.
Dalio recommended their brief 1968 book “The Lessons of History,” which is an overview of recurring themes they found through analyzing thousands of years of history
‘River Out of Eden’ by Richard Dawkins
- Basic Books
Dalio told Ferriss that he thinks “evolution is the greatest force in the universe. I think the purpose of everything is to evolve. I think individuals are just vessels for our DNA evolving.”
He recommended “River Out of Eden,” from 1995, by the prominent English biologist and New Atheist thinker Richard Dawkins.
“Phew. It just really puts things in perspective,” Dalio said.
‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’ by Joseph Campbell
- New World Library
Dalio told Bloomberg that several years ago his son Paul, a filmmaker, gave him Joseph Campbell’s 1949 classic “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.” By studying the greatest myths throughout all of human history, Campbell discovered narrative structures that resonate with the human spirit.
When Dalio read it, he put his own life into these perspectives, and thinks it’s useful for others to do so, as well.
He decided that he was about to enter the third stage of his life, in which he would pass on the lessons he learned throughout his career. It’s why he he is reluctantly a public figure who wants to pass on a “parting gift” to the world through his new book and the upcoming second volume, he previously told Business Insider.
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