We scrolled through Ray Dalio's new app — and it's a whimsical look inside the mind of the successful, self-made billionaire

Ray Dalio/Principles in ActionA still from Ray Dalio’s ‘Principles’ cartoon series.
  • Ray Dalio, the founder of the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, has launched a free app based on his best-selling 2017 book, “Principles.”
  • The app is part career adviser, part life guru – with a dash of Bridgewater cheerleading.
  • Besides having a copy of the book, the app comes with extra features like self-assessment quizzes, a folder to save your favourite Dalio principles, and animated cartoons.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Ray Dalio manages the most successful hedge fund on the planet – and he can now be your personal life coach.

Principles in Action is a free app designed around the billionaire’s 2017 book, “Principles,” which has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. The app not only has a full copy of the book but is peppered with videos, koan-like career advice, and general pearls of wisdom collected from the writings of the Bridgewater Associates chief.

Dalio founded Bridgewater Associates in 1975 out of his Connecticut home. Since then, it’s become the world’s most successful hedge fund, with $US150 billion in total assets under management.

One of Dalio’s core principles is “radical transparency,” or total openness, within his company. This gave him the idea for his first app, Dots, which let employees rate each other during meetings on a scale of 1 to 10.

There’s no live monitoring going on in Principles in Action, but it does offer the chance to step inside the mind of Dalio through his books, meetings, and speeches. We took a look at the app and highlighted some of its more interesting features.

Principles in Action opens to a homepage with two books.

Ray Dalio/Principles in Action

In addition to all 898 pages of “Principles,” you’ll find several other features on the app’s homepage.

There’s a “Coach” section to guide you through career challenges that’s a kind of FAQ for Dalio’s principles. A “Case Studies” section helps you assess your personality strengths and weaknesses and how they affect your work life. There’s also a “My Principles” section where you can save the best of Dalio’s advice while adding a few principles of your own.

The book’s pages now include videos of Bridgewater meetings.

Ray Dalio/Principles in Action

Scrolling through “Principles,” you’ll find short videos peppering the text that give a behind-the-scenes glimpse of life at Bridgewater’s secretive headquarters.

On page 171, for example, there’s a video of a Bridgewater meeting from January 2011 in which staff members discuss the company’s Pure Alpha Major Markets program. Dalio listens while others praise what Bridgewater has accomplished. At the end, he offers his advice: “We could all be here celebrating, but I think we should be here worrying.”

This brings up one of Dalio’s principles, “ring the bell,” a term he uses to celebrate when a team has achieved its goals. However, he adds another core principle: “Don’t mistake the trappings of success for success itself.”

The app lets users see Dalio’s personal side.

Ray Dalio/Principles in Action

In addition to Bridgewater meetings, you’ll get to see the annual “family reunion” (page 248) for employees who have been with the company for at least 10 years.

For Dalio, this is an emotional occasion. He says in the video: “I didn’t behave any different to the people I work with than with my kids.”

You can save your favourite principles while you’re reading and return to them later.

Ray Dalio/Principles in Action

Dalio has a lot of core principles in his book, and the app lets you type in keywords to find ones pertinent to any situation. You can then save your favourites for later use.

The “Coach” section lets you search through possible solutions to life problems.

Ray Dalio/Principles in Action

You can find solutions to decision-making problems, management issues, and general life woes in the app’s “Coach” section.

You can scroll through a series of topics like “Values and Principles Fundamentals” or “Mistakes, Weaknesses, and Feedback.” You’ll get a few principles to help answer your questions.

The app dishes out bite-size versions of Dalio’s most important mantras. They read like excerpts from “The Art of War,” except your enemies aren’t marauding hordes – they’re your own failings.

The “Case Studies” section is a little more like an online class.

Ray Dalio/Principles in Action

The most interactive section, “Case Studies,” offers over six hours’ worth of self-assessment quizzes and videos of Bridgewater workers discussing how they employ Dalio’s principles.

You can get to know yourself in the “How are you wired?” case study. Through a series of questions based on my left and right brain, or whether I’m more logical or emotional, I found that I’m more of a right-brained (emotional) person.

You can also work through more pressing issues with the “I constantly fail” case study. I found that I fear failure just as much as I fear not succeeding (or, as the app puts it, not achieving my dreams).

A 30-minute cartoon summarizing Dalio’s book is also included, and it’s like a cuter version of a TED Talk.

Ray Dalio/Principles in Action

The eight-part mini cartoon series based on “Principles” animates some key moments from the book. It felt like watching a Nickelodeon animated show, except the plot was about how to be successful in business and possibly become a billionaire.

The 30-minute series, first released in 2018, outlines some of Dalio’s principles in a quick, digestible manner. The entertaining (but perhaps not fully essential) format is aimed at recent college graduates who may not know where to take their career.

An animated video called “How the Economic Machine Works” is there too.

Ray Dalio/Principles in Action

If you look around the “Economic & Investment Studies” folder in the “Books” section, you’ll find Dalio’s 2013 cartoon called “How the Economic Machine Works.”

The 30-minute video outlines the basics of economics, from supply and demand up to how nations manage debt. This animation, like the “Principles” animated series, is charming.

One of the highlights was learning that the total amount of credit in the United States is about $US50 trillion while the total amount of money is only $US3 trillion.

Dalio teases his next book, “Economic & Investment Principles,” on the app.

Ray Dalio/Principles in Action

In the same section, “Economic & Investment Studies,” you’ll find an introduction that mentions Dalio’s new book, which he expects to release “sometime soon.”

This section also contains Dalio’s latest released book, “Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises,” and a few other papers, meaning this app is a good hub for Dalio’s most essential writings.

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