Ray Dalio’s Richest & Strangest Hedge Fund

Jul 22, 2011
J. Webster
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Awesome piece in The New Yorker, by John Cassidy, about Bridgewater Associates ‘cult’ leader, Ray Dalio, who created and runs the world’s biggest hedge fund. It’s worth it to read the whole piece but here’s a sample of some of the tactics used by the hedge fund which mean see as cult like:

Dalio’s philosophy has created a workplace that some call creepy. Last year, Dealbreaker, a Wall Street Web site, picked up a copy of the Principles and made fun of a section in which Dalio appeared to compare Bridgewater to a pack of hyenas feeding on a young wildebeest. In March, AR, a magazine that covers hedge funds, quoted a former colleague of Dalio’s saying, “Bridgewater is a cult. It’s isolated, it has a charismatic leader and it has its own dogma.” The authors of the article noted that Dalio’s “emphasis on tearing down an individual’s ego hints at the so-called struggle groups of Maoism,” while his search for “human perfection devoid of emotion resembles the fantasy world in Ayn Rand’s ‘The Fountainhead.’”

Dalio doesn’t pretend that Bridgewater is a typical workplace, but he is sensitive to criticism. The recent media attention irked him, because, in his view, it misrepresented and trivialized Bridgewater’s culture, which he insists is central to the firm’s success. “It is why we made money for our clients during the financial crisis when most others went over the cliff,” he wrote to me in an e-mail. “Our greatest power is that we know that we don’t know and we are open to being wrong and learning.”

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