Principles: Life and Work's notes, summary and lessons

By Ray Dalio

Rating: 5/10

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  • Everyone has weaknesses. The main difference between unsuccessful and successful people is that unsuccessful people don’t find and address them, and successful people do.

  • You can have virtually anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want.

  • By and large, life will give you what you deserve and it doesn’t give a damn what you “like.” So it is up to you to take full responsibility to connect what you want with what you need to do to get it, and then to do those things—which often are difficult but produce good results—so that you’ll then deserve to get what you want.

  • People who overweigh the first-order consequences of their decisions and ignore the effects that the second- and subsequent-order consequences will have on their goals rarely reach their goals. This is because first-order consequences often have opposite desirabilities from second-order consequences, resulting in big mistakes in decision-making.

  • For most people happiness is much more determined by how things turn out relative to their expectations rather than the absolute level of their conditions.

  • There is an excellent correlation between giving society what it wants and making money, and almost no correlation between the desire to make money and how much money one makes.

  • I have become someone who believes that we need to deeply understand, accept, and work with reality in order to get what we want out of life. Whether it is knowing how people really think and behave when dealing with them, or how things really work on a material level—so that if we do X then Y will happen—understanding reality gives us the power to get what we want out of life, or at least to dramatically improve our odds of success. In other words, I have become a “hyperrealist.

  • The amounts of knowledge and the capabilities that anyone does not have, and that could be used to make the best possible decisions, are vastly greater than that which anyone (no matter how great) could have within them. This explains why people who are interested in making the best possible decisions rarely are confident that they have the best possible answers.

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