One day, whole libraries may be dedicated to the thought, work and life of one Raymond Thomas Dalio. Scholars may debate over his every written word and utterance, and build Talmudic commentary and structures around his philosophy of unflinching honesty, radical transparency and making other people uncomfortable. From these libraries and those scholars (and, of course, the robotic Ray Dalio brain in the Cave of Contemplation at Bridgewater Associates HQ), the Principled approach may overspread and heal our fallen world, lighting the way to a bright and harmonious future for humanity and its successors until the sun explodes in five billion years.
Even now, however, with the great man only just semi-retired, the shelves of the Dalio section are already beginning to fill. To date, they groan exclusively under the weight of his own weighty tomes: a volume on the economy as machine, another on how to interpret and manage debt crises, and most recently a timely and ambitious politico-economic history of the world. And, of course, the most important of them all, the bible of Dalio studies present and future, Principles: Life & Work, at some point to be completed a second volume, Principles: Economics & Investing.
Next year, they’ll no longer be alone, having to make room for the first critical telling of the Dalio story.
“The Fund: Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates and the Unraveling of a Wall Street Legend,” by Rob Copeland, was announced Wednesday by St. Martin's Press.
As you can imagine from the title, Dalio himself is not going to like this piece of controversial literature. Actually, you don’t have to imagine it: Copeland, who’s been on the Bridgewater beat at The Wall Street Journal for years, has already made the guru-philosopher king angry on a number of occasions. Reporting on some of the arguably cult-like aspects of the Dalio regime, the plan to build an algorithmic robo-Ray and making it sound weird, the apparent flexibility of his seemingly ironclad commitment to honesty when it comes to the People’s Republic of China, his inability to loosen his control over Bridgewater, and the strange tendency of senior women at the firm to make less than their male counterparts has already earned him a place in the deepest circle of Dalio’s hell, that reserved for vindictive liars. (Just wait until Copeland’s fellow yellow journalists at The New York Times announce their volume of Dalioana.)
Actually, you don’t even have to read those articles or Dalio’s 2,700-word response. St. Martin’s is more than happy to spotlight all the parts supposed lover of criticism Dalio is going to hate the most.
The publisher is billing the book as a counterpoint to Dalio's “mystique of success,” with Copeland drawing upon hundreds of interviews for an in-depth portrait of Dalio and Bridgewater…. “'The Fund' peels back the curtain to reveal a rarified world of wealth and power, where former FBI director Jim Comey kisses Dalio’s ring, recent Pennsylvania Senate candidate David McCormick sells out, and countless Bridgewater acolytes describe what it’s like to work at this fascinating firm,” according to St. Martin's.
That’s only for the handful of Bridgewater alums handpicked by the firm and released from their ironclad, lifetime NDAs to do, Rob!
Copeland said: “Dalio for years has stuck to a narrative that all Bridgewater employees are judged on an equal playing field, and that any difference in rank or authority was due only to a rigorous system that susses out merit. The truth is more complex.”
Anyway, the book isn’t due out until next fall, which gives Dalio plenty of time to present his own complex, Principled truth in an autobiography (or several hundred autobiographical LinkedIn posts) before Copeland’s hatchet job hits the shelves.