The Bridgewater Culture and “Principles” of Ray Dalio

Westport, Connecticut-based Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund firm in the world, was one of the first to “embrace quantitative analysis,” according to a recent article in The New York Times that  delves into the idiosyncrasies of the Bridgewater culture—both positive and negative—on what it terms a “rigid and sometimes oppressive work environment.”

The article describes the strict set of rules, or “Principles,” created by CEO Ray Dalio , which include “advising employees not to tolerate badness;” “to look for people who sparkle;” and to “be willing to ‘shoot the people you love.’ ” Employees (numbering 1,500) are quizzed and graded on these tenets on a daily basis.

Dalio, according to the article, has “built an unusual and confrontational workplace at Bridgewater” and his controversial management style aims for “radical transparency” in the workplace—juxtaposed with extremely secretive trading practices. “No more than a dozen people have a full sense of how the firm trades,” the article says.

This month, Dalio’s book Principles: Life & Work was published by Simon & Schuster, and the CEO is working on a smartphone app to “help other business leaders apply the Principles.”