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If You're Not Writing Down Your Ideas, Ray Dalio Says: 'That's Sort of Stupid.' The author of the bestselling 'Principles: Life & Work' thinks we miss out on far too many entrepreneurs insights because they never bother to write them down.

By Jason Feifer

This story appears in the December 2021 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Courtesy of Ray Dalio

Some entrepreneurs live by a kind of oral tradition. They think out loud and share ideas with colleagues but rarely write them down — for themselves, or for others. "That's sort of stupid," says Ray Dalio. As the founder of Bridgewater Associates, where he built a multibillion-dollar asset management company, Dalio very famously kept his notes: They formed the basis of his 2017 New York Times number one best-seller, Principles: Life & Work. But he firmly believes that anyone, at any level, should be recording and sharing their ideas like he did. "Think about all the different successful people, and their recipes for success, and their recipes for encountering problems. I wish I knew about those things, because they're learning lessons," he says.

Today, Dalio is also the founder of Principles, a people-management software company, and author of the new book Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order. And he always tells leaders: Success starts with a written record.

Related: How to Spot Business Ideas Worth Pursuing

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