There are many great philosophers of Wall Street: Warren Buffett. Nassim Taleb. Gordon Gekko. (Okay, he's not real, but he still counts.) Today's Wall Street Journal dives into the doctrine of Ray Dalio, the billionaire hedge-fund manager-cum-guru who has become known for his "Principles," an 83-page, Darwin-inspired list of 295 imperatives, and a worldview that shares DNA with the concept of "radical honesty."
Mr. Dalio's basic philosophy is what he calls "hyper-realism," a notion that brutal honesty, no matter how uncomfortable, yields the best results. Principle No. 8: "There is nothing to fear from truth ... Being truthful is essential to being an independent thinker and obtaining greater understanding of what is right."
At Bridgewater, being truthful also requires being a bit ruthless. Employees aren't allowed to talk critically about someone unless the person is present. Principal No. 11: "Never say anything about a person you wouldn't say to him directly. If you do, you are a slimy weasel." If an employee breaks the rule three times, they can be fired.
Ruthlessness is great for making money: Bridgewater has averaged 11 percent returns since the crisis began in 2007. But how is it, we wonder, to live with such a person? The Journal tells us:
At home, too, he applies his hyper-realist philosophy, even with his family. "Each person finds this hard," he says, "until you get used to it."
Money Talks: A Hedge-Fund King Philosophizes on Truth and Weasel [WSJ]
Ray Dalio's Principles [Bridgewater - PDF]
Related: I Think You're Fat [Esquire]