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.