Ray Dalio Talks to Google About his “Principles”

In a recent talk at Google, Bridgewater Associates CEO Ray Dalio discusses his views on life stages, the evolution of Bridgewater and the “idea meritocracy” upon which the firm is built.

Dalio explains that an idea meritocracy is born of partnering meaningful work with meaningful relationships, and that this is accomplished through “radical truthfulness and radical transparency”. His presentation to the Google audience includes various slides and video clips that illustrate his approach. Within Bridgewater, he explains, this is implemented in part through a practice of recording and videotaping every meeting so that nothing it kept “behind the scenes.” This, he says, has been a key to his firm’s success.

“On the way to big, audacious goals,” he says, “you encounter failures.” But instead of viewing failures negatively, argues, Dalio, you should view them as puzzles to be studied. He describes how he has used this exercise over the years to develop the “Principles” that are outlined in his book.

These principles, explains Dalio, have been used to develop algorithms that Bridgewater uses in it investment decision-making.

In an idea meritocracy, Dalio says, “everyone has to put their honest thoughts on the table,” but also has to understand the art of “thoughtful disagreement.” The human brain, he explains, tends to react to disagreement with anger, but he suggests that disagreement should instead prompt curiosity.