4 books that billionaire Ray Dalio thinks everyone should read

Ray Dalio speaking at the 2017 Delivering Alpha conference in New York on Sept. 12, 2017.
David A. Grogan | CNBC

One of billionaire Ray Dalio's key success principles is having a "radical open-mindedness" to new ideas.

Reading books is an easy, and enjoyable, way to expand your mind. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week, the Bridgewater Associates founder shared four books with CNBC Make It that he says have greatly influenced his outlook on life and work.

"The Hero with a Thousand Faces" by Joseph Campbell

Dalio calls this a "fabulous book" and says it's "really up there" on his list of most influential reads.

"It's a book about a certain path in life where people have ups and downs, but it's real," he says. "They looked at all different people who were on a mission, and then it got to the point where those who they were working for were even more important than themselves."

"The Lessons of History" by Will and Ariel Durant

Dalio calls this book by Pulitzer Prize-winning historians Will and Ariel Durant "fantastic" for its concise but broad-sweeping look at themes throughout history. "These fabulous historians who wrote thousands of pages of history distilled it down into these 104 pages," he says.

"River Out of Eden" by Richard Dawkins

This brief but powerful book on evolution is one of Dalio's favorites. "We, the human race, are one of only 10 million species," he says. "Our brains have programming that is older than mankind. Man is 200,000 years old. So to understand the laws of nature, which we're all subject to, I'd recommend this book."

"Super Mind" by Norman Rosenthal

Dalio has meditated almost every day since 1969 and says it's had a tremendous impact on him. "It gives you an equanimity, a centeredness, a calmness — so that you can thoughtfully deal with things in a better way without being emotionally hijacked."

While there are tons of books on meditation, he recommends this recent one by psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal, which gives an overview of Transcendental Meditation and its many benefits.

Meditation is "very powerful," he says. "It gave me an equilibrium that really helped me."

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