Power Players

Billionaire Ray Dalio's process on researching, writing and 'how I schedule my time'

Ray Dalio, billionaire and founder of Bridgewater Associates LP, gestures as he speaks during a panel session on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019.
Jason Alden | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ray Dalio, founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates, has done a ton of research throughout his decades-long career — much of which he's shared in his books.

During a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" on Tuesday, the billionaire was asked about how he researches, writes and schedules his time.

"The way I research and write is an iterative process in which I delve into the subject in various ways," Dalio wrote on Reddit, citing strategies of "triangulating" and "thoughtful disagreement" from his book, "Principles: Life and Work." (Both strategies consist of having two or more "smart people" disagree with your opinions.)

"[I] write down what I think, triangulate it with the world's greatest experts, who I ask to tear it apart or offer new ideas that I missed to stress test it — then do more research, writing and triangulating until I reach the point of diminishing returns," Dalio explained.

This research process helped Dalio go from having "hardly any money" to becoming rich and successful, he said in his "Principles" book.

"I never stop this process because I never adequately learn to satisfy my important curiosities," he wrote on Reddit.

While most of us might not have direct access to the "world's greatest experts," Dalio noted that if you're curious about a topic, you can read books and other sources of information written by knowledgeable people who have differing views.

But even before he had a billion-dollar net worth, Dalio said he was able to find top experts to have thoughtful disagreements with. "For most of my life, I hardly had any money, and I still found tremendous benefit from triangulating with the smartest people I could get to speak with," he said on Twitter in November last year.

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Getting things done can be tricky when you have so much on your plate, but Dalio has a process for that, too.

"As far as how I schedule my time, I have a number of strategic objectives that I am unwaveringly on a path to accomplish and pursue in a highly variable way that is optimized for the trade-offs that I spend at the moment," Dalio wrote on Reddit.

Dalio also prioritizes his goals based on the people he feels he has "a deep sense of responsibility" to partner with, such as "those I work with and our investors and their beneficiaries." Of course, he added, spending time with "my family, my closest friends, and my other treasured relationships" is equally important.

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