Late last year, when the billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund on the planet, announced that he was stepping down from the company he started out of his apartment nearly 50 years ago, the news made headlines around the world. Dalio cultivated an aura of international admiration and fame thanks to his company's eye-popping success, coupled with a mystique he encouraged with frequent media appearances, celebrity hobnobbing, and his bestselling book, Principles. Rob Copeland punctures this carefully-constructed narrative of the benevolent business titan, exposing his much-promoted "principles" as one of the great feats of hubris in modern memory—in practice, they encouraged a toxic culture of paranoia and backstabbing.
Most of The Fund doesn’t feel like a book about finance. Instead, it is about how a man of surpassing mediocrity used money to control and humiliate, and how much people abased themselves for it. Which, come to think of it, makes it one of the better books ever written about Wall Street.
A book that blends Dalio’s biography and Bridgewater’s history into a closely observed investigation of how the Principles worked in practice ... The portrait he paints of Dalio does not depart dramatically from what the hedge-funder has readily revealed about himself.