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Ray Dalio's advice for Donald Trump

Andy Serwer
·Editor in Chief

“As a leader of the country, what are the principles that bind us together?” Ray Dalio asks in a discussion about President Trump’s management skills.

Dalio, founder and chief investment office of Bridgewater, the biggest hedge fund in the world ($150 billion in assets under management), believes that his management practices — an intense and somewhat controversial philosophy that encompasses what Dalio calls ‘radical transparency’ — is the secret of his firm’s success.

Dalio has written a book, “Principles: Life and Work,” in which he lays out his system. In a recent interview, I asked Dalio, as a student of management practices, how he assess Donald Trump as a manager.

“I’m not going to make an assessment of Donald Trump as a manager,” says Dalio. “I don’t see him up close. I don’t know what he’s like. I haven’t had that type of interaction. ”

But Dalio did have some general observations that pertain to the president’s management processes: “First of all, [he should] make his principles clear,” Dalio said. “And then, to walk the talk. And then, to have thoughtful disagreement. To know that what is in his head may be right or may be wrong. And to be able to gather others around him and to have that thoughtful disagreement so that he can get at the best answer.

“Also, as a leader of the country, what are the principles that bind us together? And how can we get past our disagreements, so that we, together, are rowing in the right direction to be making the best possible decisions? Those are important things for any leader,” Dalio said.

Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio

“And that would apply to the White House is what you’re saying?” I asked Dalio.

“It applies to any relationship,” Dalio responded. “You get past the notion that you might not have the right answer in your head, and your goal is only to have the right answer, that’s the key. You only have to do two things in order to be successful. You have to know what the right decisions to make are and you have to have the courage to make them.

“To know what the right decisions are, you’ve got to know that they’re not necessarily the ones that you’re stuck in your head with your opinions. So you’ve got to go beyond your opinions,” Dalio said.

The hedge fund manager spoke about how fixed ideas can be detrimental to the human condition. “I think it’s one of the greatest tragedies of man, for mankind, that individuals hold on to their opinions and don’t put them out and stress test them,” Dalio said. “So put them out there, stress test them, and get them from others so that you can raise your probabilities of being right. That’s how we’ve raised our probabilities of being right.”

Andy Serwer is Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief. Read more: