Tl;dr of Ray Dalio’s Principles

Dalio is a huge success and a brilliant guy, so I figured I’d really read his book (I skimmed it long ago).

My tl;dr, first draft –>

A very dull book — I have been stymied. But some powerful and awesome ideas here.

The first three are


The world is a “game”. It has rules and it has goals you choose. So you must observe, learn it, then you can try try try again and improve your results.


Doing work is about building machines — something D calls People and Culture (but I call People, Processes, and Tools). The essential insight is that doing a job means fielding a team to do it. But you cannot play every position on your team (or perhaps any position). So any job you try to do, you should think about how you can IDEALIZE the workflow and staff it better than YOURSELF laboring away.


There is a five step process of reflection to improving. Basically it is “identify problems”, “think about what makes this a problem or why it crops up”, “design a plan to fix the problem, which includes a bunch of tasks” then “do the tasks”. Hmm… that’s four. I guess I improved Dalio’s process!

The very concrete tactical thing on this is

— keep a LIST of problems

— schedule time to sit and discuss these problems with yourself or others

— make a list of to do’s when you complete these sessions

That’s it. I suspect if you ONLY did this, you would improve a ton and solve problems.


There is a hodgepodge of near randomly group principles that are ALL GOOD! I am reading them. 300 or so in all. When I read and re-read them I will be back to you.

You can read the book free here at