Ray Dalio is the founder and owner of Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest and most successful hedge fund manager. The firm manages approximately $150 billion in global investments for institutional clients including foreign governments and central banks, pension funds, university endowments and charitable foundations.
The son of a jazz musician, Dalio began investing at the age of 12 when he bought shares of Northeast Airlines for $300, tripling his investment when the airline merged with another company. In 1975, at age 26, he founded Bridgewater Associates in his two-bedroom Manhattan apartment. As the firm expanded, he wrote a 100-page essay, "Principles," to share his management philosophy with his employees. Dalio believes his team must be "radically truthful and transparent" to achieve excellence. "We need to know what's true," he asserts, "especially those things that we would rather not be true."
As the first decade of the 21st Century drew to a close, Bridgewater ranked as the largest and best-performing hedge fund firm in the world. Its clients and employees routinely give Bridgewater top satisfaction ratings in annual surveys. In 2011 alone, Ray Dalio personally earned more than $3 billion. The business press estimated Dalio's net worth at close to $11 billion, making him one of the wealthiest self-made men in America.