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Ray Dalio’s Reddit Advice: Learn From Your Pain — and Party Hard

The asset manager answered questions from Reddit users in its “entrepreneurs” forum on Thursday, offering life and career advice to an eager audience.

  • By Alicia McElhaney

Bridgewater Associates founder and LinkedIn influencer Ray Dalio is one of the most active hedge fund managers on social media — as he demonstrated on Thursday, when he took to Reddit to answer entrepreneurs’ questions using the AMA, or “ask me anything,”  format.

Dalio heads up Bridgewater, the world's biggest hedge fund firm. He is almost as popular, though, for his unusual, or even controversial opinions on work, which he wrote about in Principles, his 595-page manifesto on life and work that was published earlier this year. In his responses, Dalio extolled the values from the book and shared details on when fans can expect his next tome to be released.

[II Deep Dive: Ray Dalio’s Principles… Are Now a Cartoon Series]

Reddit users, often infamous for troll-like behavior online, were reverent toward Dalio in the AMA, casting him almost as a guru doling out advice from Principles to his fans.

Most of the advice Dalio gave to users centered on pain. “Have as many painful experiences as rapidly as possible,” Dalio wrote in response to a question on learning quickly. “Pain avoidance is a great motivator for learning.”

In response to a question seeking Dalio’s view on the number one thing a young investor can do to improve, he said: “Dive into the markets, have the shit kicked out of you, and learn how to do things differently.”

He added that one of his “most basic formulas for life is pain + reflection = progress.” 

Dalio acknowledged, however, that there is more to life than pain. In response to one college sophomore who asked how to get the most out of their college years, Dalio advised: "Party like crazy and don’t make the grades your highest priority. Make the friendships and your experiences most important."

As for his own weakness? Dalio said he struggles with the same thing many people do: making time for exercise. 

“One of my great weaknesses is not having adequate discipline to make working out something I do consistently,” he wrote. 

Reddit users also asked a bit about Dalio’s past, particularly the legend that at age twelve, he bought several shares of Northeast Airlines for $300. According to Dalio, it’s true.

“I caddied at the time and people talked about the stock market,” he wrote on Reddit. According to Dalio, his father, a jazz musician, introduced him to a “kind broker” who allowed him to trade while still young.

“I bought it for the stupid reason that it was the only company I’d heard of that was selling for less than $5 per share, so I thought that if it went up, I would make more money,” Dalio said. 

And he did. The airline was acquired out of bankruptcy, which nearly tripled his investment. 

“I got lucky because it was about to go bankrupt and then was acquired by another company, and then I was hooked on playing the market,” Dalio wrote. 

In terms of what is next to come for the asset manager, he said he will be driven by “evolving well and contributing to evolution.” Dalio said he believes that at 68, his “most important objective” is to ensure that people succeed without him. 

“I expect to do this for about another year and go quiet, while continuing to pursue my various other passions,” Dalio said. 

As for when we can expect to hear from Dalio again? His next book will come out in six to twelve months, he said on Reddit.

Until then, fans can keep their fingers crossed that the widely followed asset manager will take to LinkedIn, Twitter, or even Reddit again to share his big ideas.

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