Reading may be the one thing we all want to do more of but it also takes a lot of time. I hope these notes will be a helpful shortcut for you to provide you with useful quotes and maybe new books/authors you hadn’t considered before.

The book I’m getting through right now is called Principles by Ray Dalio. Dalio recently left his position at Bridgewater Associates, a financial firm. I picked his book up because I was reading Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss and one of the questions he asks his interviewees is about the book they most often give as a gift to others. Principles by Dalio was on that list for many of these interviewees that I have a lot of respect for. It’s been a fantastic read so far! I’m roughly halfway through it so I apologize if there is not a lot of context for these notes.

In short, Dalio articulated the principles that have guided his decision-making process at Bridgewater over the last 40 years. Bridgewater became much more popular in recent years because they saw the impending crash of 2008 and prepared their portfolios appropriately. Reading his book has been like sitting and talking with a retired and well-respected businessman who is eloquently telling his life story. I’ll pick up with Principle 3: Be Radically Open-minded

Principle 1 was Embrace Reality and Deal with It

Principle 2 was Use the 5-Step process to Get What You Want out of Life.

I may go back later and review these chapters at the end of the book if there are requests to. Here we go!

Principle 3: Be Radically Open-Minded

“If you are too proud of what you know or of how good you are at something you will learn less, make inferior decisions, and fall short of your potential.” page 185

page 185 Dalio’s description of the Amygdala and the prefrontal cortex setup an excellent foundation for discussing the need to criticize children much less. This concept is organized under Principle 3 – “Be radically open-minded.” He’s talking a lot about the way we respond to being told we’re wrong. He goes on to say, “to be effective you must not let your need to be right be more important than your need to find out what’s true.”  In the context of children, whose brains are still developing, we shouldn’t be surprised that they don’t respond well to criticism. We would love for them to say, “Wow dad! You’re right. I really wasn’t thinking about how my actions might affect others!” Instead, we’re normally met with attempts to hide from others or defend themselves.

This almost seems to simple to include but maybe it’s worth reviewing because we overcomplicate it.

Decision-making is a two-step process:

1. Take in all relevant information (Reflection: How do we know when we have all the relevant information? Isn’t there such a thing as too much information? I think I’ve read that before.)

2. Decide

“Don’t worry about looking good; worry about achieving your goal.”

This thought really captured my attention. I’d like to believe that I haven’t been concerned with looking good but I’m not sure that’s true. Dalio went on to say, “People typically try to prove that they have the answer even when they don’t.” I relate to this because ever since I went back to college and really started reading I’ve felt so confident in my understanding of the world, even though my eyes were just opening in many ways! Now I’m working diligently to listen more and learn from others who have more experience than I do.

Establish Thoughtful Disagreement

Part of being radically open-minded is to “appreciate the art of thoughtful disagreement.”  Dalio says that even when we are being open-minded that we can enter into conversations that can quickly turn into disputes. He recommends creating some structure around the conversation to establish “thoughtful disagreement.”

Ways to establish thoughtful disagreement:

1. Would you rather I be open with my thoughts and questions or keep them to myself?

2. Are we going to try and convince each other that we are right or are we going to open-mindedly hear each other’s perspectives to figure out what’s true?

3. Are you arguing with me or seeking to understand my perspective?

I hope this summary brought you some new thoughts or reminded you of some things you’ve thought before!

Thoughtfully,

Philip

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