All Ray Dalio Books, Sorted Chronologically (and by Popularity)

Ray Dalio Books Cover

Ray Dalio is an investor and philanthropist, born in 1949 in New York City. With a net worth of around $20 billion, Dalio is one of the top 100 richest people in the world. The founder and longtime CEO of Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund, Dalio has pioneered many financial innovations and techniques, many of which have become industry standard in the 40 years since the company’s founding. In his later years, he started publishing his writing, and if you’re looking for a full list of Ray Dalio books, you’ve come to the right place!

From his early days as a golf caddie for Wall Street professionals, Dalio has come a long way. He started investing at the age of 12, when he bought some shares of Northeast Airlines and, by pure luck, tripled his money. He’s been hooked ever since. Growing his company, however, wasn’t always easy. In the 80s, Dalio sized up the economy wrong and paid for it dearly. He had to let go all of his employees and borrow money from his parents for rent.

Eventually, however, the Harvard MBA managed to turn things around and grew Bridgewater into the world’s largest hedge fund with over $100 billion in assets under management. As part of his “second half of life” giving back phase, Dalio has become a philanthropist, giving away billions of dollars and signing Warren Buffett’s giving pledge, vowing to donate most of his money  to charitable causes after he dies.

He also began sharing his many lessons about life, business, and investing, first in Tony Robbins’ book Money, in which he outlined his “All Seasons” portfolio allocation strategy, then through his project and eponymous book called Principles, which shares a philosophy for success and happiness in life and work.

Since Dalio has also published several fascinating reads about the economy, politics, and how the world at large works, we thought we’d collect and list all Ray Dalio books for you. We’ve summarized over 1,000 summaries to date, and Ray’s book Principles is one of our (and our readers’) all-time favorites. 

 

This list is sorted both by order of publication and popularity. You can easily navigate it by clicking on whichever section interests you the most in the table of contents below. For each of Ray Dalio’s books, we’ve included an image of the cover, a 1-sentence-summary, and our favorite quote. We’ve also listed our most interesting takeaways and why you might want to read the book yourself, as well as what order to read them in if you’re trying to read them all!

If you want to dive deeper into any book, click the “Read on Four Minute Books” button or use one of our Amazon affiliate links to buy a copy. Alright, now let’s look at the full list of Ray Dalio books!


All Ray Dalio Books (in Chronological Order)

1. Economic Principles (2015)

Ray Dalio Books #1: Economic Principles

Favorite Quote

“The economy works like a simple machine, but many people don’t understand it, or they don’t agree on how it works, and this has led to a lot of needless economic suffering.” — Ray Dalio

The Book in One Sentence

Economic Principles is a three-part compendium on how the global economy works, what role debt plays in this free market system, and how policy makers can use the tools at their disposal to ensure the people of their nations enjoy productivity growth and prosperity.

Why should you read it?

As you can tell from the “cover” of this book, this is not a title that was ever officially published. It was an early, free, PDF draft version of what would later become three distinct works: How the Economic Machine Works, Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises, and Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order. That said, this humble attempt by Ray to share his wisdom on the economy is still a whopping 300 pages long, and while the original PDF is no longer available on Ray Dalio’s official Economic Principles site, you can still find it online.

However, since parts two and three are already available as standalone works, the main reason you might want to read this one is probably How the Economic Machine Works, and that is basically just the transcript of a wonderful, animated, 30-minute Youtube video Ray already released in 2012. Both the video and text explain how, by combining graphic representations of the short-term debt cycle, long-term debt cycle, and productivity growth, we can see where the world economy is headed. If you want to understand markets, study macroeconomics, or be a better investor, this video and book might be for you.

Key Takeaways

    1. The economy is the sum of all transactions made in society.
    2. One person’s spending is another person’s income, and therefore, spending drives the economy.
    3. If debt rises faster than income, and income rises faster than productivity, that’s when things go wrong.

If you want to learn more, you can click below or get a copy for yourself.

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2. Principles (2017)

Ray Dalio Books #2: Principles: Life and Work

Favorite Quote

“My painful mistakes shifted me from having a perspective of ‘I know I’m right’ to having one of ‘How do I know I’m right?’” — Ray Dalio

The Book in One Sentence

Principles outlines and breaks down the set of rules for work and life billionaire investor Ray Dalio, CEO of the world’s largest hedge fund, has acquired throughout his 40-year career in finance.

Why should you read it?

This book might be one of the best examples that, when you read a book, you can acquire the wisdom of an entire human lifetime in just a few hours. In three parts, Dalio tells his personal story, the principles for living a good life he’s learned as part of living that story, and the lessons he’s won through much pain and reflection about how people can work together to achieve great success. If you want to build more systems in your life and understand the well-oiled machines powering big companies, read this book.

Key Takeaways

  1. Principles are powerful weapons in the fight against flawed thinking.
  2. Radical truth and transparency are two of Ray’s most important ideas.
  3. Great businesses use principles to create environments where the best ideas win.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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3. Principles for Navigatig Big Debt Crises (2018)

Ray Dalio Books #3: Big Debt Crises

Favorite Quote

“Buying something you can’t afford means spending more than you make. You’re not just borrowing from your lender; you are borrowing from your future self.” — Ray Dalio

The Book in One Sentence

Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises is a complete, macroeconomic education in three parts, explaining the archetype of the big debt cycle, giving detailed case studies of historic inflation and debt crises, and sharing 48 more examples from history for anyone wanting to learn how to navigate times of economic turmoil.

Why should you read it?

With unlimited money printing and skyrocketing debt running rampant for almost all nations across the globe, Ray pulled back the curtain on the research and analysis process at Bridgewater. This 450+ page tome explains how debt has both made and broken nations and governments in the past, and if you want to learn how scenarios much similar to the ones we’re in today have, can, and will play out, this is a must read. Dalio covers the archetypal big debt cycle in just 50 pages, with the remainder of the book dedicated to detailed case studies of the German debt and hyperinflation crisis in the 1920s, the US debt crisis leading up to World War II, and the financial crisis of 2008.

Ray originally gave away the book for free through his email list, and you can still find it on the principles website. Alternatively, you can buy a nice hardcover or Kindle version on Amazon which, for a big book like this, is always a good idea, I find.

Key Takeaways

  1. Crisis and debt cycles are inevitable due to human nature.
  2. A big part of economic depressions is people discovering that what they thought was wealth was actually never really there.
  3. Debt isn’t necessarily bad, and in the long run, debt crises usually fade in the face of rising productivity.

If you want to learn more, you can click below or get a copy for yourself.

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4. Principles for Success (2019)

Ray Dalio Books #4: Principles for Success

Favorite Quote

“Unless you want to have a life that is directed by others and boxes you in, you need to decide for yourself what to do and you need to have the courage to do it.” — Ray Dalio

The Book in One Sentence

Principles for Success is an illustrated, shortened version of Dalio’s key life lessons that resulted in the unconven­tional principles which helped him become one of the world’s most suc­cessful people, including the 5-step evolutionary loop built around setting goals, learning from your mistakes, and collaborating with others to produce exceptional results.

Why should you read it?

This is the perfect, short, easy entry into Ray’s world of principles. Designed like a children’s book, it allows you to follow Dalio’s journey step by step and learn the same lessons he learned along the way. The illustrations are fun, and the takeaways powerful yet simple. I would recommend this to almost anyone, including teenagers. Dalio has also turned this into another animated, 30-minute Youtube video series, and it’s fantastic in that format as well.

Key Takeaways

  1. Pain + reflection = progress.
  2. Use the 5-step evolutionary loop to keep striving for better.
  3. Think for yourself while being radically open-minded.

If you want to learn more, you can click below or get a copy for yourself.

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5. Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order (2021)

Ray Dalio Books #5: Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order

Favorite Quote

“No system of government, no economic system, no currency, and no empire lasts forever, yet almost everyone is surprised and ruined when they fail.” — Ray Dalio

The Book in One Sentence

Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order explains how, historically, empires have risen and fallen through a combination of financial, educational, economic, and geopolitical factors, and how nation states can allocate their resources in order to move through this big cycle gracefully and without hurting one another.

Why should you read it?

Another three-part mega guide to global affairs, this book brings all of Dalio’s previous analysis on the economy, productivity, and debt cycles together. The first part explains “how the world works” and how nations become successful through a combination of money, credit, debt, and economic activity while ensuring inner societal order. In part two, Ray provides three case studies, outlining how the Dutch, British, and US empires, including their currencies, became world powers — and then lost that status. The third part takes a look at the future, particularly with regards to the latest rising power, China, and its relations to the US.

If you want to know what is going on in global markets, why we have certain geopolitical tensions right now, and where the world is headed, read this fantastic book. Oh, and as you might have guessed already at this point, Ray made an animated video about this too. It’s 43 minutes long but absolutely worth the watch.

Key Takeaways

  1. Global superpowers start with a focus on improving education which, following a long series of steps, will lead to that nation’s currency increasing in value.
  2. The life cycle of an empire usually lasts 80 years and consists of three phases: the rise, the top, and the decline.
  3. Right now, the US is declining, while China is on the rise — but the future is not decided yet.

If you want to learn more, you can click below or get a copy for yourself.

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6. Principles: Your Guided Journal (2022)

Ray Dalio Books #6: Principles: Your Guided Journal

Favorite Quote

“If you recognize that the way to be great is to focus on improving, giving and receiving criticism should be motivating and welcomed.” — Ray Dalio

The Book in One Sentence

Principles: Your Guided Journal is a customized learning journey aimed at helping you discover your own, unique life principles while overcoming, learning from, and getting the most out of your mistakes.

Why should you read it?

Full of easy, quick self-assessments and fun, digitally extendable exercises, this book is an interactive experience. Ray will take you by the hand, walk you through his process, and provide the space for you to apply it to your own life situation. Since this book only begins shipping on November 22nd, 2022, we don’t know too much about it yet, but if it’s anything like the remainder of Dalio’s works, it’ll be well worth your time.

Key Takeaways

  1. Getting what you want out of life depends on mastering the 5-step evolutionary loop.
  2. Your two biggest barriers in life are your ego and your blind spots.
  3. Some changes you can’t anticipate — but you can always design your behavior around them after they happen.

If you want to learn more, you can click below or get a copy for yourself.

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Ray Dalio Books by Popularity

Want to know which Ray Dalio books are the most popular? Here’s a short reorder of the list based on the total number of Amazon ratings, ranked from most to least.

  1. Principles: Life and Work (⭐️ 12,200+ Ratings ⭐️)
  2. Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed and Fail (⭐️ 5,200+ Ratings ⭐️)
  3. Principles for Success (⭐️ 1,300+ Ratings ⭐️)
  4. Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises (⭐️ 1,000+ Ratings ⭐️)
  5. Economic Principles (⭐️ 200+ Ratings ⭐️)
  6. Principles: Your Guided Journal (Create Your Own Principles to Get the Work and Life You Want) (⭐️ No Ratings Yet ⭐️)

I can’t think of anyone who more qualifies as a role model for success yet presents their learnings so humbly and calmly. If you watch some interviews with him, you can clearly tell Ray is an introvert who’s just sharing his message because he thinks it’s important. He’s a good guy with the heart in the right place, and the fact that he’s sold more than five million books shows that people really support him and want him (and thus themselves) to win.


In What Order Should You Read Ray Dalio’s Books?

Which of ‘s books should you read first? If you ask us, here’s the order in which reading his books makes the most logical sense based on their topics:

  1. Principles for Success: Since Ray wrote this book for his grandchildren, it is by far the easiest to understand and start with. If you enjoy this, it’s a great sign you should dive deeper.
  2. Principles: This is Ray’s seminal book, and while it’s long, it comes with a lot of pointers and help to make it skimmable. So even if you don’t read it in full the first time around, this will dramatically improve your decision-making and work relationships.
  3. Principles: Your Guided Journal: After understanding what principles are and which ones Ray has discovered, it’s time to find your own! What better way to do that than through some daily writing as part of this tour de force of self-awareness, full of useful exercises and insightful quotes.
  4. Economic Principles: If you’re interested in Ray’s insights on money, finance, and the economy on top of what life advice he can offer, this is a good primer to start with to understand the basics of how markets, transactions, productivity, and their global interrelations work.
  5. Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises: Once you know how the economy works in principle, it’s time to get a grasp on what happens when it breaks. With its detailed case studies of historic inflation crises and recessions, this book is the perfect way to do just that.
  6. Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: Finally, it’s time to put everything together and get a full picture of what happens as empires rise and fall, given the complex web of markets, free trade, currencies, wars, and global politics. With this, you’ll also understand what’s happening right now on the world stage, and why China and US relations are rather tense these days.

Whether you want to master how the economy works or get some solid advice for your life and work, you could do far worse than reading Ray Dalio’s books. All of them are incredibly well-researched, generous, and simple enough to understand despite their complex topics. Start with his most lightweight book, Principles for Success, then climb the ladder from there!

Conclusion

Ray Dalio is one of the richest people in the world today. His writings are helpful, informative, and inspiring. We hope this list will help you pick your favorite and get started!


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Last Updated on November 18, 2022