The following is a poem found in the summary and table of life principles of Principles by Ray Dalio. I’ve been kicking this about for a while, not least because lots of people have recommended the book to me; but when I looked at the PDF summary I was struck by the positive opacity of the language, which hinted that there might be something poetic within it. If someone wants to send me the book to actually read and confirm this hunch…
Only additions are a few commas, semi-colons and full stops to aid flow.
i. Life principles
Think for yourself with humility, the best
thinking available to you. Look to the patterns,
deal with them effectively. Be a hyperrealist:
Dreams + Reality + Determination = A Successful
Life. Be radically open-minded and radically transparent.
Look to nature to learn how reality works. Get hung up
on evolution of the whole, what is most rewarded.
Evolution is the single greatest force in the universe;
it is the only thing that is permanent and it drives
everything. Evolve or die. Evolving is life’s greatest
accomplishment and its greatest reward. Aligned with
the group’s goals, adaptation will depend on the
perspective you have. Understand nature’s practical
lessons. Pain + Reflection = Progress. Go to the
second- and third-order consequences. Look at the
machine from the higher level. Distinguish between you
as the designer of your machine and you as a worker with
your machine. The biggest mistake most people make is
weaknesses again and again. Successful people are those
who go above themselves, strong in areas where you
develop guardrails because it is difficult to see the whole
body determined. Identify and don’t tolerate, distinguish
proximate causes like a movie script. Weaknesses don’t matter,
you typically fail in the way of success. Mental maps, your two
“yous” fight to control you. Your blind spot barrier. Sincerely
believe, don’t worry about looking good. Realize that you can’t
put out without taking in. Perspective comes from others’
believability, thoughtful disagreement. Triangulate pain as your
guide; assume you are probably biased. Meditate.
Be evidence-based and encourage others to be the
same. Understand that people are wired very
differently, that power comes born with attributes
that help hurt meaningful work programmed
into us. The great brain battles between feeling
your feelings. Choose your habits well. Train
your “lower-level you” — choose to accomplish.
Synthesize close great dots through time. Be
imprecise, be an imperfectionist. Navigate levels >>
a. Use the terms “above the line” and “below the line” to
establish which level a conversation is on.
b. Remember that decisions need to be made at the
appropriate level, but they should also be consistent across levels.
<< Logic, reason and common sense have more
pros than cons. Simplify! Use principles and have
the computer make decisions alongside you.
ii. Work principles
An organization is a machine consisting of two
major parts: problems and disagreements.
Great relationships can’t compromise the
uncompromisable. You have nothing from
knowing the truth to hold a critical opinion;
handle it well with the organization’s enemies.
Meaningful the common mission, be crystal clear,
treasure even when you’re not looking. Fail well,
products of weaknesses. Sync conflicts, the best
investments in surface areas, idle embarrassing
substance — manage the conversation, directing
light. If you can’t reconcile major differences
remember that everyone has opinions and they
are often bad. If you ask someone beware,
disagreeing must be done efficiently by Responsible
Parties, your believable people the crowd needed.
Recognize that you don’t need to make judgements
about everything. Principles can’t be unresolved.
Don’t allow lynch mobs or mob rule. Declare “martial
law” only in rare or extreme circumstances where
the principles need to be suspended. Make sure that
everyone has someone they report to. Remember the
force behind the thing. Hear the click, look for people
who sparkle, don’t use your pull impractical idealist,
show candidates your warts, pay north of fair, making
the pie bigger, evolution should be relatively rapid.
Build your synthesis from the specifics up. Squeeze the
dots in a nonhierarchical way through frank conversations
exploring weaknesses beyond a shadow of a doubt. Don’t
rehabilitate them. Don’t collect people “without a box”,
complete their swings. Don’t lower the bar. Don’t get
distracted by shiny objects, everything is a case study,
micromanaging and not managing, delegate your confidence,
avoid staying too distant. Train your ear. Make your
probing transparent rather than private. Welcome
probing. Pull all suspicious threads. Avoid getting sucked
down the “theoretical should”. The fact that no one seems
concerned doesn’t mean nothing is wrong. “Pop the cork.”
Avoid Monday morning quarterbacking. Maintain an
emerging synthesis by diagnosing continuously. Build your
machine. Visualize alternative machines and their outcomes,
and then choose. A good machine takes into account the fact
that people are imperfect. Understand the power of the
“cleansing storm”. Consider the clover-leaf design.
Use “public hangings” to deter bad behaviour. Don’t get
frustrated. Don’t confuse checklists with responsibility.
Ring the bell.