Book Review | Principles by Ray Dalio

“Life is short and hard like a bodybuilding elf” – my high school Physics teacher

I read 52 books in 2018, mostly because I fetishized CEOs, hustle culture, and reading as a heuristic for achievement.

I’m older now (27 as of last Friday – happy belated birthday to me), and in my wise old age my philosophy has changed from read as many books as possible to don’t waste time reading things that you find useless.

Principles by Ray Dalio is the first book that I’m putting down early. Not because it’s horrible – it’s not great, but because I don’t plan on starting or operating a global hedge fund anytime soon (and it’s VERY boring and repetitive).

The book (like many other self-help / business books) can be boiled down to: choose long term over short term and systems are better than goals.

If you’re looking for a book to explain to you why you should choose long term over short term and why systems are better than goals – there are lots of more accessible, less specific to running a hedge fund, and generally more interesting options (see Atomic Habits, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still win Big, 12 Rules for Life, Leadership Strategy and Tactics, the list goes on and on).

If you are looking to start / run a hedge fund this might be a great book for you and you might find those other books not specific enough to your problem.

For the rest of us: we can probably get by with something more fun, stop taking book recommendations from Bill Gates, and start putting down books we don’t care for before we get to the last page.

Memento mori

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Book Review | The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

I follow a lot of people online who have raved about and other who have hated the 4 hour workweek. People who love it will claim that it was the catalyst for them starting an entrepreneurial journey or a remote lifestyle. Detractors say that it’s not practical advice for the average person (try telling your boss you’re working remote next week see how it goes) or that it’s more marketing hype than truth.

As with much of life the truth is somewhere in the middle. Can you go from Chipotle cashier to working remotely on your SAAS business in 6 months? Gonna be tough. Do a lot of the claims seem outlandish or too good to be true – yes.

However, I haven’t heard of anyone who took the advice and has had bad results (part of a larger problem that deserves its own discussion of how most readers of self help / business books myself included don’t implement much of what they learn and instead just read more self help / business books). And there’s a reason that it’s the most highlighted book on Amazon.

It can be uncomfortable to hear about all the things you could be doing to succeed or achieve the things you want (especially when the author is telling you he’s done it and kind of sounds like an asshole bragging about it). When I was younger I would freak out at my parents and other people who would try to give me advice – even when they were really nice about it.

While some of this book seems like slimy marketing hype, I’m going to ignore those parts and assume based on the countless hours of Tim Ferriss content I’ve consumed that he’s a good guy who means well and is trying to empower people to think outside the box and design better lives for themselves.

This is one where I don’t recommend the audiobook (I’ll be picking up a physical copy to page through later) because there’s so much content that you can’t implement right away. It’s also frustrating to hear him plug four hour blog (that no longer exists – now and is difficult to navigate) and other technology solutions that don’t exist or are obsolete (is blackberry still in business?)

Pick up a copy.
Check your ego.
Learn what you can.
Implement what you learn.
Profit (probably).