This week, we’re bringing you the story of the fight to control the world’s largest hedge fund. At stake is control of over $150 billion in assets at its peak.
But this story is so, so much more interesting than that. We’re talking about one of the most singular and frankly weird organizations in the world, Bridgewater Associates.
It’s a place where meetings are taped and edited versions sent to the entire firm, so that everyone can see their colleagues breaking down under interrogation-like grilling from the firm’s founder, Ray Dalio, or other top executives. Dalio believes in what he calls radical transparency and wants everyone to work – and live – by The Principles he has come up with. It’s a company with a brutal culture so unforgiving and alienating to new hires that the revolving door of top-level executives starts to look like a meat-grinder.
Staffers are grilled about malfunctioning white boards, how pee ended up on bathroom floors or why peas in the cafeteria just aren’t very good. At one crucial juncture, Jim Comey is roving around interrogating people about an email sent And all of this is guarded by non-disclosure and non-compete agreements so strict they make the rest of Wall St. blush.
Reporter Rob Copeland has the inside story of Bridgewater and its two-decade long, tumultuous attempt to hand over leadership from Dalio to a new leader. Copeland has written the definitive history of Bridgewater, The Fund, and he brought us through all the twists and turns over the nearly twenty-year long negotiation over when Dalio would step back and who would take over at Bridgewater.
It’s one of the most enthralling and bizarre business stories you’ll ever hear.
(As you might imagine, Bridgewater and Dalio do not think highly of the book. A spokesperson for the firm told us in a statement that it is a "false and misleading portrayal of our company, culture, and community.")