What do hedge fund billionaire
Raymond Dalio and restaurateur Mario Batali have in common?
Quite a bit, it turns out, as they explained to some 300 people
during a town meeting on meditation in New York earlier this
month. Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates the
worlds largest hedge fund firm, with $87 billion in
assets and Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group
co-owner Batali, who runs more than 20 restaurants, are both
big devotees of Transcendental Meditation, which was introduced
to the West by Indias Maharishi Mahesh Yogi a
The event, held in a subterranean auditorium at the AXA
Equitable Center on Manhattans West Side, was hosted by
the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education
and World Peace. Lynch, the director of Blue Velvet
and co-creator of TV series Twin Peaks, started the
foundation nine years ago to give children everywhere the
opportunity to learn how to meditate. (The music from Twin
Peaks was playing as attendees filed into the room.) Lynch
has been practicing TM since 1973.
Dalio, for his part, has been meditating for 42 years. TM is
the single most important reason for his success, he told
journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin of New York Times
Dealbook and CNBC Squawk Box fame, the moderator for
the evening. Dalio, who started Bridgewater in 1975 out of his
two-bedroom Upper East Side apartment, says that meditation
enables him to stay calm, clear and creative in the face of
market craziness. I feel like a ninja in a fight,
he explained. What comes at you feels like it is moving
in slow motion.
Dalio built Bridgewater on what he calls a culture of
thoughtful disagreement, in which employees of the
Westport, Connecticutbased firm are encouraged to
challenge one anothers ideas. You need independent
thinking to beat the market, he told Sorkin.
Batalis experience with meditation is far shorter than
Dalios but no less transformative. The Iron Chef,
sporting his trademark pink button-down shirt, blue fleece vest
and orange Crocs, has been practicing TM twice a day for the
past 18 months sometimes while driving his Vespa down
Manhattans Ninth Avenue. What surprised me was how
quickly I could feel a refreshment, he said.
Its not like, Oh, man, I need a stiff shot of
Transcendental Meditation. It puts you in a place where
you dont necessarily need that.
Follow Michael Peltz on Twitter at @mppeltz.