Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2018
The book LOOKS sharp. You look at the cover, see Bill Gates and Tony Robbins like it, and decide to open it up to see whats inside. Clearly there is a good graphic designer working with him. If you read the intro, you can tell the book is well written, and Ray Dalio has been very successful. That convinced me to purchase it and read it.

The book is split into his autobiography and his life and work principles.

The most salient points in his autobiography are that he wants you to think he is like Steve Jobs (but not as great) and that his life follows the story arc of a hero (but he's not a hero). Otherwise it's a pretty standard history of a baby boomer from New York who becomes Elite--he goes from talking about being part of the hippie culture of the 60s and 70s to brown-nosing China and their leaders. You wont learn anything new here if you are familiar with 20th century history and current events. To his credit, he has a great writing style (if he wrote this himself) and he appears to be a persuasive force (probably a key factor in his success).

His principles are meant to be the reason you bought the book, so let's give his autobiography a pass. Overall, his principles are strong, but they are recycled ideas. For example, one of his life principles is "Use the 5-Step Process to Get What You Want Out of Life" about having clear goals, recognizing your real problems, and finding solutions to overcome the problems and achieve your goals. Tony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, and I'm sure many others provide much more useful thought processes and examples to do the same thing. It's clear he's also out of touch in his examples: are you bad at accounting? Hire an accountant. Need to hire people? Find the right headhunter! He also seems to dabble in psychology for being a more effective/principled person. I agree with him that it's important. However, he doesn't seem to fully grasp how it works, and gets attached to pop psychology. For example, praising the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, which has received a lot of criticism from experts.

There's nothing seriously wrong with this book. There's just nothing in it that would make me recommend it to anyone. The book covers a lot of subjects, and for each subject I would recommend reading another book.
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