On Tuesday, billionaire Ray Dalio, 73, resigned from his position as one of three co-chief investment officers at Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest and most successful hedge funds.
He will remain with the firm as a mentor, a role he has cultivated publicly over the years as the author of several textbooks on career and investment advice, including the 2017 bestseller, Principles: Life & Work.
Considering his long tenure at the company he founded, here’s a look back at four pieces of advice Dalio has embraced throughout his five-decade career, as shared in Principles.
1. Practice radical open-mindedness
Being successful on the job requires good decision making, and that requires radical open-mindedness, writes Dalio.
Radical open-mindedness is the ability to analyze different viewpoints without your ego getting in the way.
Before making a decision, you should always consider the possibility that you could be wrong, he writes. In fact, Dalio seeks out people who may disagree with him so that he can understand their reasoning. Only after he has looked at all the points of view and relevant information does he make a decision.
“The more open-minded you are, the less likely you are to fool yourself — and the more likely others are to give you honest feedback,” he writes.
2. Work in an “ideas-meritocracy”
The most fulfilling jobs are “idea-meritocracy,” writes Dalio. They are environments where the best ideas win, no matter who they come from.
“The most meaningful relationships happen when you and others speak openly about all that matters, learn together, and understand the need to hold each other accountable in order to be the best they can be,” he writes.
In order for an “ideas-meritocracy” to function, internal differences of opinion must be settled constructively and respectfully. You should not be dishonest or put down your colleagues.
“Everyone in the ideas meritocracy must remain calm and respectful of the process,” writes Dalio. “It’s never acceptable to get upset when the idea of meritocracy doesn’t produce the decision you personally wanted.”
3. Watch out for “fast talkers”
“Fast talkers are people who say things with articulation and confidence faster than they can be estimated, to push their agenda past other people’s scrutiny or objections,” writes Dalio.
Don’t let these people intimidate you, says Dalio. You have the “responsibility of making sense of things” rather than pretending that you understand what a fast speaker might be saying.
“If you’re feeling pressured, say something like, ‘I’m sorry for being so stupid, but I have to stop you so I can understand what you’re saying,'” Dalio writes. “Then ask your questions.