Book Review "Principles" by Ray Dalio

Recently, I finished reading the book “Principles” by Ray Dalio. This is a short review of my most important take-aways from the book.

First of all, the design and font of the book really resonates with me. That’s the kind of design I choose for my own book …

“Principles” contains many thoughts I agree with, but also a lot of concepts I cannot apply in my life. I’ll focus on the ones I liked, for example “try things, fail well, learn, try again”. This is often repeated in some form or another, like this: “Understand life as a game with a series of puzzles to solve”. Very recently, a good friend of mine commented that I would live exactly this mindset. In doing so, I realize that there will be discomfort and pain. I try to accept this and even search for the discomfort, because that is where progress is. While that does not mean that I will choose exceptionally hard or even impossible tasks, it means that I will choose the option that promises the most learning opportunity even when it will be burdensome.

Reading the book, I meet a lot of “old friends” like “separate planning from doing”, “invest most time in the things that bring the most benefit” and of course “meditate!”. Those concepts boosted my productivity and well-being greatly, so reading repeatedly about them shows that others benefit from them as well.

Of course, the book contains new and interesting concepts, too. One of them is “recognize your two barriers”, which are “ego” and “blind spots”. Ego is the unwillingness to accept own mistakes and weaknesses, blind spots are areas where the individuals own way of thinking prevents one from seeing things accurately. I fell for both of those barriers multiple times and will be more aware in the future. In discussions, I will try to ask myself more often “What does the other person know that I don’t know?”, which will hopefully avoid me crushing into the second barrier.

Another interesting thought is “separate must-dos from like-to-dos and work on the must-dos first”, as well as “don’t confuse goals with desires”. Often enough, less important wishes disguise themselves as highly crucial. For me personally, one of those desires is owning a Tesla car. I don’t really need a car. I commute via train and bike. Our individual travels like shopping could be accomplished with the car of my wife, which will most likely last for another couple of years. However, I’m kind of a Tesla fanboy, so the desire of owning one will have to transform into a must-do … ;)

The last concept I want to mention here is “Make your passion and your work one and the same and do it with people you want to be with”. This is one of my most important strategies of how to be successful and happy at the same time.

In general, “Principles” contains some great thoughts. For me however, those are nearly lost in too much less important content.