• June 6, 2014: Sign contract
  • June 9, 2014: First day on the job
  • June 19, 2014: Receive July Metro North pass in mail (paid with pre-tax dollars)
  • August 1, 2014: Approached on the way to the men’s room and asked how the struggle between your upper level you and your lower level you are coming; have no idea WTF this means
  • September 22, 2014: Overhear Ray talking to a lieutenant about a healthcare PM being one part Socrates, one part armadillo…scratch head
  • November 10, 2014: November 10, 2014: Confess to co-worker that it’s been months since you started and you still feel like you were just dropped onto a new planet with no instruction manual…are told this is normal
  • December 6, 2015: Acclimate to corporate culture

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As many of you know, Bridgewater Associates is mega-successful, multi-billion dollar hedge fund guided by Principles, a company handbook written by founder and Mentor Ray Dalio, which instructs employees to go on radical truth seeking missions in order to better themselves and in turn the firm. Bridgewater takes the principles very seriously and each member of the staff is given spiral bound copies to read, highlight, and imbue their souls with. While the idea of Truth above all else is the overarching idea, there are literally hundreds of principles (such as 31a. “Ask yourself whether you have earned the right to have an opinion,” 130. “…Firing people is not a big deal…” and 184. “Use checklists”), which span 123 pages and are broken down into outline form after being explained at length. Though familiarity with them has always been an essential part of the job, there has never been a formal test determining that all employees met the required level of efficiency. Until now. Read more »

  • 21 Jun 2011 at 10:25 AM

Bridgewater’s Flagship Fund Up 11 Percent YTD

The radical truth-seeking sessions are paying off. Read more »

“Principles” is now titled “Principles (That Might Be Right or Wrong, for You to Take or Leave).” [NYM, earlier]

  • 17 Mar 2011 at 11:43 AM

Pension Funds Love Bridgewater

Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates clocked in as the hedge fund of choice among public pension plans, in a recent popularity contest, with 21 out of 150 PPP’s investing with the firm. If they can’t get a piece of Ray, the funds people will settle for are: Read more »

The latest issue of AR Magazine features a lengthy profile of Ray Dalio’s mega-successful Bridgewater Associates, with much space devoted to the “culture” of the firm, as defined by Principles, a handbook of sorts written by Dalio, which we shared last May. In sum, the firm requires its employees, 30 percent of whom leave within two years of being hired, to “trust in truth” and to “pursue the truth” relentlessly, in everything they do. Criticism is “both welcomed and encouraged” and rather than “depersonalizing mistakes” or saying “we didn’t handle this well,” the staff are told to “connect specific mistakes to specific people.” It’s an environment unlike any other hedge fund and those who’ve experienced the program firsthand seem to be divided into two camps, at least among those interviewed by AR**: Dalio and the Bridgewater officials (senior staff are referred to as “culture carriers”) who think it’s great and former employees who describe the place as “cultlike,” “sinister,” “eerie” and something out of George Orwell’s 1984. Here’s what one former exec had to say:

My fundamental belief is that Bridgewater is a cult. It’s isolated, it has a charismatic leader and it has its own dogma.” It was so stressful, he recalls, that one employee couldn’t sleep all night and then, in the morning, threw up before meetings with Dalio. (The incident could not be confirmed.)

Another likened being an employee at Bridgewater to being an abused puppy. Read more »

In the thirty-five years since its founding, Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates has done quite well for itself, posting the sort of returns clients appreciate. To that end, the firm’s Pure Alpha Strategy was up 31% for the year through August and, according to a Bridgewater spokeswoman, has “outperformed the market over the last three years by more than 70 percent.”

How do they do it? Are they role-playing hyena and wildebeest again? Is the market the wildebeest in this scenario? As B-Water’s ability to make it rain does not appear to be covered in the firm’s handbook, co-chief investment officer helpfully broke it down today.

The short version: “Either we are of average intelligence and everyone else in the industry is an idiot or we are fucking geniuses and make people of marginally respectable intelligence (you) look like morons. Take your pick.”

The long version: Read more »

  • 11 May 2010 at 2:23 PM

Ray Dalio Explains His “Principles”

Yesterday we discussed Bridgewater Associates’ “Principles,” the meanderings of founder Ray Dalio, which serves as the hedge fund’s unofficial handbook. While clients probably have no problem with it, not everyone counts themselves as fans of the Tao of Dal, which includes operating “like a hyena, attacking the wildebeest,” “probing” ones colleagues and having their meetings taped all in an effort to get to the “truth.” Today Ray got in touch with us to a) clear up some perceived misconceptions, re the T of D, b) respond to the characterizations of the of the firm made by a friend of BA and c) provide an up to date copy of “Principles” (yesterday’s PDF was a draft from last fall), which you can use yourself, should you be interested in starting your own little B-water (they also make great stocking stuffers).

Read more »