It's been quite a while since the last time I recommended a book. It's not because I haven't read any new books lately, it's just because I felt that the books I read weren't exactly worth sharing here. That's not the case of the book I want to talk about today.
There are many ways to find inspiration, especially if you are a designer. We tend to focus on visual inspiration, but when I say visual I mean more than visual design, it goes from branding to motion design. Those type of inspiration posts are good for references but for me the one of the best sources of inspiration is books. Not design books but finance & investment, biographies and science. I have been reading a lot of finance and investment books, a topic that I always avoid, probably due to my ignorance. After reading five or six books in the past 2 months on the topic I became sort of addicted. The reason I think these books are valuable for designers is because they talk about dealing with failure, learning about process and management and especially how to manage risk.
One book I want to recommend to you is Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio, one of the world's most successful investors and entrepreneurs. He shares the unconventional principles that he's developed, refined, and used over the past 40 years to create unique results in both life and business - and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.
About the book
In 1975, Ray Dalio founded an investment firm, Bridgewater Associates, out of his two-bedroom apartment in New York City. Forty years later, Bridgewater has made more money for its clients than any other hedge fund in history and has grown into the fifth most important private company in the United States, according to Fortune magazine. Dalio himself has been named to Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Along the way, Dalio discovered a set of unique principles that have led to Bridgewater's exceptionally effective culture, which he describes as "an idea meritocracy that strives to achieve meaningful work and meaningful relationships through radical transparency". It is these principles, and not anything special about Dalio - who grew up an ordinary kid in a middle-class Long Island neighborhood - that he believes are the reason behind his success.
In Principles, Dalio shares what he's learned over the course of his remarkable career. He argues that life, management, economics, and investing can all be systemized into rules and understood like machines. The book's hundreds of practical lessons, which are built around his cornerstones of "radical truth" and "radical transparency", include Dalio laying out the most effective ways for individuals and organizations to make decisions, approach challenges, and build strong teams. He also describes the innovative tools the firm uses to bring an idea meritocracy to life, such as creating "baseball cards" for all employees that distill their strengths and weaknesses and employing computerized decision-making systems to make believability-weighted decisions. While the book brims with novel ideas for organizations and institutions, Principles also offers a clear, straightforward approach to decision making that Dalio believes anyone can apply, no matter what they're seeking to achieve.
Here, from a man who has been called both "the Steve Jobs of investing" and "the philosopher king of the financial universe" (CIO magazine), is a rare opportunity to gain proven advice unlike anything you'll find in the conventional business press.
He also just released a series of videos that pretty much summarizes the book, although, I would still recommend the reading because of the details. But you can follow the series at principles.com