The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

His Way or The Highway


When I was a boy, my parents forced me to wear nice clothes every Sunday morning to attend Sunday School and Church.  They taught me the key to life is what you believe.

When I was in college, my professors insisted that I learn more about things I care little about.  They taught me that key to life is how much you know.

When I was in the Army, my superiors insisted all orders be obeyed.  They taught me the key to life is loyalty.

When I was a young banker, every detail of my work was programmed.  They taught me the key to life is thinking INSIDE the box.

Now, along comes Ray Dalio, self-made founder of America’s largest hedge fund.  His latest book is Principles:  Life & Work in which he describes the most efficient and productive ways of thinking.  Here are his Principles:  (1) Embrace reality and deal with it, (2) Be radically open-minded, (3) Know that people are wired differently, (4) Make decisions effectively, and (5) Use his five-step process — which starts with Have clear goals, Identify the problems and don’t tolerate them, Diagnose the root cause, Design a plan, and push the plan through to completion.

Okay, that sounds reasonable enough, but implementing these Principles can make for a less-than-pleasant working environment requiring Radical Truth and Radical Transparency, where employees are required to confront each other over every little detail.  There is no detail too small to fight about.

I think I’ll just wait to see if Warren Buffett ever adopts Dalio’s Principles . . .

While I have great respect for Dalio’s business success and business acumen, he may be just another “mold-maker” telling people to fit into his mold, where they will finally find the key to life.

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