Ray Dalio of Bridgewater wants to help you know yourself


Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates, appears to have mellowed lately. Bridgewater, of course, nonetheless instructions respect on Wall Road, and never a small quantity of worry. The world’s largest hedge fund is probably greatest recognized for its fiercely aggressive and “radically clear” workplace tradition, by which staff are inspired to problem each other in what Dalio has known as “an excessive meritocracy of concepts.” Almost each assembly and interplay in Bridgewater’s secluded Westport, Connecticut campus is recorded, and staff use a particular device to present real-time assessments of one another’s concepts.

Dalio, doing little to dispel the corporate’s cult-like status, has even revealed a administration manifesto, Principals, which is given to all personnel and studied with Biblical zeal. (Amongst its extra memorable aphorisms: “Don’t decide your battles. Combat all of them,” “Deal with your life like a recreation,” and “ache + reflection = progress.”)

Whereas he stepped apart as CEO in 2017, Dalio has continued to unfold the nice phrase: In 2017 he revealed a brand new, 600-page model of his guide, Ideas: Life & Work, which grew to become a New York Occasions greatest vendor, and in 2019 he launched an illustrated model (Ideas for Success) that’s marketed as for “readers of all ages.” The books themselves, as soon as faraway from the context of the Bridgewater panopticon, are surprisingly readable and sometimes transferring. For many who dislike print, there’s a smartphone app known as Ideas in Motion that features case research and movies.

However Dalio, now 71, nonetheless has extra to give. Finishing his evolution from L. Ron Hubbard to Dale Carnegie, final month Dalio introduced PrinciplesYou, an online personality assessment that anybody can take without cost. “I wished to cross alongside probably the most precious issues that I acquired, to help folks,” he advised me after we spoke over Zoom, sitting in entrance of a curtain in a lodge room. “[The test helps] people perceive themselves, perceive others, perceive their relationships,” he continued, encouraging me to take the 20-minute examination for myself.


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Archetype Archipelago [Image: courtesy of Ray Dalio/PrinciplesYou]

I’ve an advanced relationship with persona exams. In ninth grade, a profession quiz advised me that one of the best job for me was possible working as a lodge concierge, throwing me—a reasonably anxious excessive schooler intent on being a journalist—into an existential panic. A pair of years later, on the top of the Buzzfeed-quiz fad, I discovered that the teenager drama character I most have a resemblance to is Dawson’s Creek’s Joey Potter, that I’m 90% trash primarily based on the potato chip flavors I like, and that if I used to be a sequence restaurant, I’d be Pink Lobster. None of these outcomes have been notably illuminating.

However I used to be curious how Dalio’s take a look at would possibly stack up towards the brightest minds at Buzzfeed, and intrigued by the science that allegedly went into it. To create PrinciplesYou, Dalio turned to Wharton professor Dr. Adam Grant (who has additionally connected his title to Sheryl Sandberg’s ebook, Possibility B) in addition to Cambridge analysis professor Dr. Brian Little, who research persona psychology, and Dr. John Golden, the president of a psychological evaluation firm. The result’s a mixture of 5 totally different psychometric exams that Dalio has employed through the hiring course of at Bridgewater. “[It helps them] discover out what jobs work for them,” he defined. “How they may have higher private improvement, and may help managers determine how to put collectively groups.”

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[Image: courtesy of Ray Dalio/Principles You]

I logged onto the sparse web site and spent half an hour taking the take a look at. After score my response to statements together with, “I’m fascinated by the sights, sounds, and smells of unique locations,” “I keep away from drawing consideration to myself,” and “I discover different folks and their life tales slightly boring,” on a scale of one (disagree strongly) to seven (agree strongly), PrinciplesYou took me on “a journey” of psychometric self-discovery.

The outcomes started by revealing my prime three “archetypes”: broad classifications which might be meant to elucidate my private strengths and weaknesses. I rank primarily as an Individualist, in accordance to the take a look at, which suggests I “make an artwork out of brushing apart custom and conventions to do issues my very own means . . . defying the principles with a flare for the inventive and typically for the dramatic.” Dalio is primarily an Adventurer, somebody “motivated by participating in enjoyable, thrilling, and adventurous pursuits.” Given his ardour, big-game looking, this computes. The platform additionally has a operate that lets customers examine their exams to help them determine one of the best methods to work collectively. (Dalio inspired me to get my boyfriend to take it in order that we may examine outcomes and enhance our relationship.)

Broadly, I agreed with my evaluation and even discovered the take a look at fascinating. Dalio, in his characteristically blunt style, instructed that I share my outcomes with my boss. I’m hesitant—PrinciplesYou says that I will be disorganized, a trait I’ve acknowledged in myself and have made a fantastic deal of effort to repair.

PrinciplesYou results screen
[Image: courtesy of Ray Dalio/PrinciplesYou]

Dalio himself is skeptical that the majority adults can seriously change their personalities. “The psychometricians and my expertise present that if you work actually, actually arduous on some issues, you can transfer them perhaps by one customary deviation of the inhabitants, but it surely doesn’t change so much.” As a substitute, he suggests, instruments like PrinciplesYou are most helpful for recognizing your strengths and weaknesses so as to enhance your strategy to conditions. “You may have compensating mechanisms if you acknowledge one thing wants to change.”


The important thing to excelling at work, in relationships and in life, in accordance to Dalio, is to know yourself. A loyal practitioner of transcendental meditation, Dalio hopes that deeper understanding of our flaws can help anybody transcend their “ego barrier,” a Bridgewater time period for avoiding an emotional response when responding to criticism.

Dalio’s metaphysics appear a bit of inflexible to me—perhaps it’s as a result of, as an Individualist, I dislike the thought of being put right into a field. However Dalio is a real believer: Candidates who need to work for him take 5 quizzes, together with the Myers-Briggs Sort Indicator, to help assess whether or not they can be a great tradition match at his legendarily high-pressure agency. Whether or not these screening procedures help to account for Bridgewater’s gorgeous monetary success is an open query. Even Adam Grant—the identical professor who helped put collectively PinciplesYou—has questioned the science behind the Myers-Briggs.

Within the spirit of radical transparency, I’ll confess that I as soon as took the Myers-Briggs take a look at on-line, and that I’m an INFJ: Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging. (“The rarest persona kind, shared by Nicole Kidman and Hitler!” the web site cheerily knowledgeable me.) However being conscious of my “F” persona kind has solely made me second-guess myself extra, leaving me always questioning whether or not I’m feeling an excessive amount of or not considering sufficient. In any case, I can’t think about there are too many Fs at Bridgewater.