**NOW** Principles – by Ray Dalio

Principles – by Ray Dalio (retired Bridgewater Hedge Fund founder & CEO)


Autobiography: Ray Dalio pub. 2017, ≈592 pp.

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What I learned from this book

I learned that when someone as successful as Ray Dalio tells the reader that he already has “all he or she needs in life” – with good health, good relationships (family, especially) and integrity in the workplace –  it may time to listen to him and stop feeling like life is always wresting everything away.

What I liked about this book

I liked most the candidness of most everything the author shared. Whether it was his early ‘mistakes’ – like getting fired for punching an early career boss – mistakes and oversights he made as CEO, or the struggles of fatherhood and his interpretation of the work-life balance. Mr. Dalio was much more “down to earth” than most of the big CEO autobiographers we have become accustomed to on Wall Street.

What I disliked about this book

The only thing I thought I disliked about the book in the beginning was the graphs the author used.  They – at first sight – seemed too simplistic.  However, once the author fully explained their origins in the way that the graphs worked for him and his firm, it made much more sense as to how and why they became one of the features of the book.  In fact, one of the points that Ray Dalio drives home to his reader is that he prefers to get his message across in the simplest way possible. He doesn’t seek to dazzle his audience with his message – just that they get what he means and moves on to the next point.

Whom would I recommend to read this book

This book is a great read for any “aspiring or current businessperson” who wants an unfiltered, forthright and thorough examination of what it takes to do the right thing in business – whether in the middle of the fierce Wall Street jungle – or, in the tamer confines of 123 Main Street.

Any thoughts?



American Kingpin – Ross Ulbricht and the Silk Road

American Kingpin – by Nick Bilton, ~325 pages (2016)


What I liked about this book

This story is based on the life of a young man, Ross Ulbricht, who makes use of the “Dark Web” to launch the biggest online provider of illicit drugs to the world. He sets it up as a discreet, “untraceable” site that is accessed through a special browser access – purported to be out of the FBI’s line of sight.

The plot is very descriptive and the author has a unique writing style:  he pens short chapters (3-5 pages) in succinct nuggets to keep the story moving along at a fierce pace throughout.  This is a smart strategy because it prevents any downtime or boredom in the on the reader’s end.

What I disliked about this book

I couldn’t get over the selfishness of the main character.  It’s amazing to think that someone could be so careless with his life – while also being so dismissive of the powers of U.S. federal law enforcement. That said, his chutzpah is amazing in how he puts his blinders on and sticks to his mission. He does this despite risking the stiffest consequences possible – the remainder of his very young life spent rotting in a prison cell. Unbelievable.

To whom would I recommend this book

Limit to adults over the age of 18.  This book is filled with drug references (since that is the point of the book), and contains other adult content that makes it unsuitable for minors. Otherwise, it is a very interesting, pertinent and unique story.  It’s easy to feel like the reader wants to “pinch oneself” with respect to believing someone actually thought they could live this story and actually emerge on the other end a free person. I guess we really do learn something new every day.

Any thoughts?