Reading notes for January 10, 2019

Work Principle 4: Get and stay in Sync.

Dalio’s principles seem to apply well to very small teams or even families. We’ve put some of his principles into practice in our home and have found a lot of alignment there. But, it is just one person’s opinion. I would love to observe some meetings and see the workflow of this company he runs. One person I talked to said that some of his employees say he’s a maniac. That can have different meanings. Dalio’s pursuit of radical truth and transparency could definitely be interpreted as maniacal. I wonder if being truthful at Bridgewater meant that tact was not something they encouraged or pursued. He published one interchange in the book that made me think that tact was not a pursuit. This could prove to be problematic. I think we have a responsibility to be direct with others but we can also be kind. It sounds like they are just operating like, “Just tell the truth; it doesn’t matter if you’re an asshole about it.”

The Goal of Thoughtful Disagreement

Page 355 “Thoughtful disagreement is not a battle; its goal is not to convince the other party that he or she is wrong and you are right, but to find out what is true and what to do about it.” This is a powerful idea. How often have I approached an argument with the idea that one of us is right and the other is wrong. If we can come to a discussion agreeing that we have a desire to know what is true, then we may be able to talk about what to do about it.

How much of an impact could this have on family discussions around politics. First, we have to agree about what is true, which can be challenging enough. Then we have to decide what to do about it.


As I’ve dug deeper into this book. I’ve noticed that Dalio refers to several tools they’ve developed over the years that help them hold to their principles – not sure if there’s an extra cost to these.

Here is a list of the tools:

  • Coach
  • Dot Collector
  • Baseball Cards
  • Issue log
  • Pain Button
  • Dispute Resolver
  • Daily Update Tool
  • Contract tool
  • Process Flow Diagram
  • Policy and Procedures manuals
  • Metrics

As I learn more about these I may come back and highlight things from them.

Weigh Both Sides

Page 362 when trying to get and stay in sync, “remember that wisdom is the ability to see both sides and weigh them appropriately.” I wrote this one down but honestly, I’m not sure what it means. I get the theory behind it but it can be so difficult to be able to accurately look at both sides of an argument. After you understand both sides, then it comes down to “weighing them” appropriately.

I think Dalio means weighing a person’s track record in the specific area in question. For a simplified example, imagine you were having a discussion with two surgeons – one who has performed over a hundred successful surgeries and the other has performed only 5 – you would fairly conclude that the more successful surgeon’s opinion is likely to be correct. That doesn’t mean the less successful surgeon is wrong; their opinion should be subject to more scrutiny though.


Page 362 “Don’t have anything to do with closed-minded people…if you must deal with them, recognize that there can be no helping them until they open their minds.” This is really challenging for me because I want to see the best in people but I can also be naive. I tend to think I can influence them. A closed-minded person is essentially someone who doesn’t want to be helped or doesn’t think they can be helped. It can be a real distraction to try and help people who don’t want to be helped. Even Jesus didn’t do that. So it’s something I need to work on.

Some of this book is reminding me of Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp. I actually really enjoyed reading Sprint. It was an incredible read. If you’ve ever wanted to create something new or test a change in product for a company you work for then this could be a valuable resource.

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