Radical curiosity: Ray Dalio & Bridgewater Associates

I'm not sure if it's a personality trait or because I'm a Libra but I'm radically curious about things, cultures, industries or worlds that are unknown to me and seem far from my reality. One of these things is the financial world. Since I watched Wall Street as a kid, I've always been fascinated by traders, algorithms and I've been wondering how the heck does that work. At the same time, I believe there's a lot of wrongs in the financial world and I'd love to see technologies such as blockchain/cryptocurrencies disrupt it. I feel, like a good chunk of the population, like I'm left in the dark and I don't know much about it.

But if you feel betrayed or disgusted by the financial world, I think it would be a mistake to ignore it and not try to learn from it.

I was caught off guard by the quality of reflection of Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates (a super huge hedge fund that made tons of monies) and author of New York Times bestseller 'Principles. I heard about the company before but I didn't know about its unique culture and way of doing things.

Bridgewater is known for being an idea meritocracy, for encouraging radical transparency, for promoting open-mindedness, for its heated debates and for a ton of managerial practices that make you feel uncomfortable when you read about them (ex. meetings are videotaped for all to review, employees score each other every week using 'Baseball cards', etc.).

The interesting thing here is the fact that Ray Dalio created a unique culture that seems to work in this particular world. And there are tons of things to learn from it. The company published a 123 pages manifesto called 'Principles' and you can read an excerpt here. I was surprised to see a lot of these principles seem to be derived from meditation and consciousness. 

It takes a lot of vision, courage, and discipline to implement a culture of radical transparency. I've rarely seen a culture crystallized that well. To be honest, some principles send shivers down my spine. I would not be fit for it. But I want to learn from it.

 If you want to, I suggest you listen to Ray Dalio's interview by Shane Parrish for The Knowledge Project.

edit: this is a super interesting 30 min video on how the economic machine works.

p.s. I think this is going to be a series, 'Radical Curiosity'.