Principles are concepts that can be applied over and over again in similar circumstances as distinct from narrow answers to specific questions. Every game has principles that successful players master to achieve winning results. So does life. Principles are ways of successfully dealing with the laws of nature or the laws of life. Those who understand more of them and understand them well know how to interact with the world more effectively than those who know fewer of them or know them less well. Different principles apply to different aspects of life—e.g., there are “skiing principles” for skiing, “parenting principles” for parenting, “management principles” for managing, “investment principles” for investing, etc—and there are over-arching “life principles” that influence our approaches to all things. And, of course, different people subscribe to different principles that they believe work best.
I am confident that whatever success Bridgewater and I have had has resulted from our operating by certain principles. Creating a great culture, finding the right people, managing them to do great things and solving problems creatively and systematically are challenges faced by all organizations. What differentiates them is how they approach these challenges. The principles laid out in the pages that follow convey our unique ways of doing these things, which are the reasons for our unique results.Bridgewater’s success has resulted from talented people operating by the principles set out here, and it will continue if these or other talented people continue to operate by them. Like getting fit, virtually anyone can do it if they are willing to do what it takes.
What is written here is just my understanding of what it takes: my most fundamental life principles, my approach to getting what I want, and my “management principles,” which are based on those foundations.Taken together, these principles are meant to paint a picture of a process for the systematic pursuit of truth and excellence and for the rewards that accompany this pursuit. I put them in writing for people to consider in order to help Bridgewater and the people I care about most.
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