Book Review: Principles
The book is broken into three sections, almost three different books: Where I’m Coming From; Life Principles; Work Principles; Conclusion. The opening is about Ray Dalio and how he found his career passion, his journey to find and lead a team, and ultimately the growth of Bridgewater Associates.
The primary focus is Mr. Dalio’s ‘idea meritocracy’ concept in which he works through defining what that means personally and in his business, and the principles he has developed over the years to live-out this concept. As the company grew, clarifications were needed to the guiding principles. He set out to provide principles for hiring, training, and retaining employees.
A big part of the idea meritocracy is the focus on radical truth and radical transparency. He provides many examples and stories of what has worked, adjustments that had to be made (trade secrets, privacy laws, etc.), as well as times when there were failures. In all the examples, he continued to refine his principles in a formal structure that could be shared with staff and incorporated in the on-boarding process.
Many topics are covered. He talks about his personal journey including family; understanding people; work culture; the risk of radical truth and transparency, both personally and in the work environment; hiring; training, especially to transition important roles to the next leaders; and much more. He’s definitely passionate on this topic and has provided some online resources. Recommended, if you have the time! – CMW