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10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Ray Dalio — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

It’s time to learn history, science, and technology

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Ray Dalio — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Learn from the best!

Raymond Dalio aka Ray Dalio is an American billionaire who founded Bridgewater Associates in 1975. It went on to become the world’s largest hedge fund management firm.

As a young boy, Dalio worked as a paperboy and did other odd jobs. When he was given a summer job at a trading firm, his investment journey started. He began investing at 12 years of age.

We know how the rest goes.

This man has spent a lifetime investing and has built a fortune for himself. He knows the tricks of the trade.

He has recommended numerous books which we can learn a lot from. Let’s go!

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Ray Dalio — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Make your own rules! And stick to them.

Obviously, a writer will recommend his own book.

Dalio brings us the concept of ‘principles’ which are meant to serve as guides for life.

The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 details the autobiography of Dalio. The second part details his life principles. The third part applies those teachings to work.

“Every time you confront something painful, you are at a potentially important juncture in your life — you have the opportunity to choose healthy and painful truth or unhealthy but comfortable delusion.”

Dalio tells us how grateful he is for his mistakes, for those led him to make better decisions as an entrepreneur.

The thing that I really like is that Dalio mentions the life basics, ‘good bed to sleep in, good relationships, good food, and good sex…’ He says these things are not affected that much by the amount of money that one has.

“Remember that in great partnerships, consideration and generosity are more important than money.”

The author motivates us to do better and to be wary of our egos and blindspots negatively affecting our decisions.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Ray Dalio — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Let’s predict the future!

Over 10 chapters, this book discusses various aspects of AI and its effect on society.

In each chapter, the authors explain the current and future trends in AI, and how that might impact the future both positively and negatively.

For each of these, they also tell a fictional story that presents what it would be like in the future.

Humans have always been fearful of new technologies. But in time, those fears die. I get reminded of an example of my culture where loudspeakers were initially banned by religious leaders.

“In time, these fears usually go away, and these technologies become woven into the fabric of our lives and improve our standard of living.”

The authors predict that in 2041, deep fakes will be so advanced that it will be impossible to distinguish real from fraud.

“But if we stop helping people — stop loving people — because of fear, then what makes us different from machines?”

When it comes to self-driving cars, the book discusses the potential roadblocks to such a technology. A human considers so many aspects when driving. It engages observation, planning, and decision-making skills.

Computers struggle to replicate that kind of ability. But humans are no good drivers either, as data tells us.

This is a fascinating book that will transport you to the future with its storytelling.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Ray Dalio — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Get to know the unique culture at Netflix.

Netflix is cool, y’all.

In terms of entertainment subscriptions, it is one of the top ones.

How does it reach the height of success?

“We’d found a way to give our high performers a little more control over their lives, and that control made everybody feel a little freer.”

This book not only detailed the unique aspects of Netflix’s work culture but also the evolution of Reed Hastings as a manager.

Once a stickler for rules, Hastings now admires the creativity that is born as a result of freedom given to employees.

Netflix believes in high-talent density. It means hiring only the best people. They also get paid top dollar.

“Giving employees more freedom led them to take more ownership and behave more responsibly.”

Another important part of the work culture at Netflix is unhindered feedback. Most of the people don’t say what they are really feeling. But at Netflix, candid feedback is encouraged.

This goes both ways. From the boss to the employee and vice versa. This culture also makes sure that no one abuses the freedom granted by the company.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Ray Dalio — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

What does history teach us?

Will and Ariel Durant are co-authors of a lengthy 11-volume history book called ‘The History of Civilization’.

On completion of the 10th volume, they wrote this book, ‘The Lessons of History’.

Kudos to them for bringing us a concise book that outlines the summary and lessons from world history.

“Most history is guessing, and the rest is prejudice.”

The authors admit that history is not accurate. It is guesswork often marred by historian’s own biases.

But history tells us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. It is a transmission of heritage from generation to generation.

“…let it be our pride that we ourselves may put meaning into our lives, and sometimes a significance that transcends death.”

The authors argue that being unequal is by nature required of humans. If we forcefully try to make everyone equal, that comes at the cost of limitations on freedom and progress.

The most important thing that this book tells us, which also makes a lot of sense, is that humans haven’t changed much throughout history.

We wanted to sleep, eat, and reproduce. We still want that. Only the culture has changed. At the core, we are the same.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Ray Dalio — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Divided by borders, unified by myths.

I mean wow!

This book just confirms what has been simmering in my mind for quite some time now.

I feel that humans are the same everywhere. We think similarly, form stories similarly, and have pretty much the same struggles.

Some things might vary across cultures but at our core, we are the same.

“Perhaps some of us have to go through dark and devious ways before we can find the river of peace or the highroad to the soul’s destination.”

The author of this book is a mythology scholar and professor of literature. He presents his theory of ‘monomyths’ in this book.

He tells us that people from all backgrounds, no matter how much different they are, tell similar stories.

The author discusses the story of a hero based on a diverse collection of myths. He lays down the outline or the pattern of the hero’s journey that stands true across all the myths and stories.

“Wars and temper tantrums are the makeshifts of ignorance; regrets are illuminations come too late.”

This book was originally published in 1949. It has been republished many times and has been translated into over 20 languages.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Ray Dalio — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Dawkins’ shortest book.

Based on Dawkins’ previous books such as ‘The Selfish Gene’ and ‘The Blind Watchmaker’, this book combines the concepts for an overview of the Darwinian view of life.

“DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.”

As you might have guessed, the book has a heavily anti-creationist stance.

Dawkins tells us that genes are trying to survive. For this, they use living bodies as vehicles. In every generation, bad genes get sorted out while good genes remain. This is how a species becomes better and better.

The author also traces back human mitochondrial DNA to ‘African Eve’ who is the ancestral mother of all humans.

“In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice.”

I must say, personally I find this view a bit depressing. There is no ‘rhyme or reason’. We’ll pass on our genes and die. This makes living seem like a chore.

I like to believe that human lives have meaning and purpose.

Regardless of your own view, this book does provide a good understanding of evolution.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Ray Dalio — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Failure is the best teacher.

This is an autobiographical book by chairman and founder of Blackstone, Stephen A. Schwarzman. Blackstone is one of the leading investment firms in the world.

Schwarzman tells us all about success, investment, and trying again and again.

“If you ever felt overwhelmed by work, … pass on some of your work to others.”

He tells us that doing something big takes up as much energy as doing something small. But when you do something big it has more effect.

The book has a lot of advice from Schwarzman.

He tells us to never be complacent, as anything can happen. He tells us to believe in something bigger than ourselves.

The author also advises us to never compromise on integrity. You should always stick with your sense of right and wrong, he says.

“Success breeds arrogance and complacency…You only learn from your mistakes and when the worst happens.”

The best thoughts by Schwarzman are on failure. Hey, I feel seen.

It’s okay to fail. Make sure that you learn from them and make the right changes.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Ray Dalio — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Introduction to non-religious meditation!

If I had to pick my least favorite book from the list, it’d be this.

Hear me out!

When you hear that a book is going to tell you about the ‘power’ of transcendental meditation, you expect to learn how to do it.

“Learn to meditate with a certified TM teacher — just you and your teacher (ninety minutes).”

The author does a good job of introducing the reader to transcendental meditation. He claims that it has scientific roots and is not religious.

TM is a way of bringing awareness to the mind and body by reaching a state of stillness. The practice involves chanting a mantra.

There are a bunch of testimonials from celebrities on how TM changed their life for the better.

To do TM though, the author recommends a teacher. Well, it’s the author’s business. He sells courses and one-on-one coaching sessions for TM. To a reader, that might be off-putting.

I mean a book and marketing material are supposed to be different, right?

Still, for a basic intro to TM, this book does the job.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Ray Dalio — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Understand habits to win at life.

Why do habits exist?

Because our brain wants to conserve energy. Once it gets something into a habit, it stops consciously engaging with it.

Like us, our brain is lazy.

“…there’s nothing you can’t do if you get the habits right.”

The author tells us about the habit loop. The steps in the habit loop consist of:

  • Cue

  • Routine

  • Reward

Eliminating a habit is hard but we can change it, he says. The key to changing a habit is to keep the cue and reward the same but to change the routine.

“If you want to do something that requires willpower — like going for a run after work — you have to conserve your willpower muscle during the day…”

The book enlightens us to the immense power that habits hold. Habits are so strong that our brain doesn’t let them go even if they go against common sense.

Once we understand the habit-making and habit-changing phenomenon, we can use this resource for our benefit.

This book will help you do just that.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Ray Dalio — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Can science explain the human brain?

The authors criticize the ‘materialistic’ approach in science that negates everything but the physical.

The book touches on the brain’s evolution and its processes.

“While consciousness lies in the no man’s land between religion and science, claimed by both yet understood by neither, it may also hold a key to the apparent conflict between these two great human institutions.”

Using what they explained in the earlier part of the book, the writers get to the discussion of ‘consciousness’.

They differentiate between a human brain and a computer. Computers do not have desires, dreams, goals, or aspirations. Hence the human brain cannot be studied like a computer.

Consciousness should be included in the studies.

“Scientific medical research is beginning to help resolve the dilemma by accepting the mind-based nature of the placebo effect.”

The writers stress that scientists should adopt a non-materialistic view of the workings of the brain. They believe adopting such a view will help scientists understand phenomena like the placebo effect, NDE (Near Death Experiences), and self-regulation of emotions.


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