A reading list which explains everything…

Unfortunately, this has taken way too long to finish due to the extensive detail (thanks Ray), but here you:

  • Principles by Ray Dalio

This book is a must for anyone – founder or employee. While Ray goes to the extreme on almost all of the topics he covers, the two main ideas which I took from the book are as follows: radical transparency and a systematic approach to everything.

Radical Transparency – while being very clear to not have 100% transparency to protect employee’s private lives, Ray pushes to have radical transparency which equates to being as open as possible when communicating. Awesome! Think about if “office politics” no longer existed? Think about if you didn’t have to “strategically critique” someone? The ability to openly communicate with a larger goal or vision in mind allows everyone to be focused on the big picture and take their personal initiatives out of the scenario.

A Systematic Approach – while EXETREMLY time consuming at first, I really love this point. There are numerous problems which we face when building a company, which either we, or other in the past, have already dealt with. Why then do we address each situation as if it’s completely new? Ray has put a system in place to remove short-term emotional decision making and rely on historical data so that addressing each new problem becomes “oh it’s another one of those” and can be dealt with accordingly. Obviously not very practical for early-stage startups but keeping this idea in mind while scaling can save lots of time a pain in the future.

Conclusion – an amazing read, but quite difficult going cover to cover. Skim each page so you get the gist, then use it as a reference.

As Ray is a history buff, and likes to “connect the dots”, he inspired me to put three books on my summer reading list which offer an explanation about how the world works, literally…

  • Guns, Germs, and Steel – by Jared Diamond
  • The Inevitable – Understanding the 12 technological forces that will shape our future – by Kevin Kelly
  • 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense – by Michael Brooks

Two other books in this category, which I feel everyone on the plant should be required to read:

  • A Short History of Nearly Everything – by Bill Bryson
  • Alles, was man wissen muß – by Dietrich Schwanitz (German Edition)

If you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment!

Read on.

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