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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

Words to Live By: What are your Principles?

Ray Dalio is the author of Principles: Life and Work, a book I read a few months ago. As an aside, he also happens to be an American billionaire investor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist.

If you're looking for an "easy read", Principles isn't it.

But if you're looking to understand how a guy like Dalio -- the founder, co-chairman and co-chief investment officer of investment firm Bridgewater Associates, one of the world's largest hedge funds -- built his business from nothing and became the world's 79th-wealthiest person in the process, it may be worth your time.

Principles: Life and Work isn't just for those who aspire to the 0.1%; it offers a template on how to think about your own life, and how you want to live it.

I was reminded of this last week when Dalio posted this message about actor and activist Ashton Kutcher on LinkedIn:

Ashton Kutcher recently turned 42 and on his birthday reflected hard on what his most important principles are, wrote them up, and sent them to me to get my suggestions about how to best approach principled thinking. While I won't go into our exchange, I will pass them along to you because I think you will find it valuable to know the principles that make Ashton Kutcher Ashton Kutcher, because they might be helpful to you to have a more successful life, and because they could prompt you to come up with and write down your own principles. By the way, I think they are excellent principles that can help anyone have a more successful life, just like they have for Ashton.

Kutcher's 42 principles, as shared by Dalio, are as follows:

If you think you don't have time to come up with your own set of Principles, Kutcher's list is a pretty great one to steal.

But if you were to do what Dalio suggests and come up with your own set of Principles... what would they look like?

What are the key tenets by which you want to live your life?

It might take you some time to develop something as articulate and comprehensive as what Kutcher managed to put together.

But it would almost certainly be time well spent.

- dp


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