Algorithms of Business – The Science and Art

I just finished listening to Ray Dalio’s book Principles. It was fascinating to get into his head. For me, the book shows how a very analytical mind figured out the algorithms for investing, but that was not the most impressive accomplishment. Dalio went on document the algorithms for management with a focus on radical transparency.

I am an engineer at heart and loved programing algorithms for a wide variety of applications, from the navigation system for a cruise missile to a household budget calculator. As my company grew, I stopped doing engineering work and focused on leading the company. Though I missed engineering, I believe that leadership is a complex program that can be solved algorithmically. Go figure, once an engineer, always an engineer. However, the number of inputs to management is near infinite. The number of inputs for the navigation of a cruise missile is not only finite and it is relatively quantifiable.

While leading the company, I studied the science of management, the algorithms that make a company run effectively. During my first 7 years as a Vistage member, this was my major focus. When the learning curve started to flatten out, I considering quitting Vistage. My Chair wisely explained to me that my major focus should change from the science of management to the art of management. He explained that learning and being able to execute the art of management was a lifelong mission. I am grateful for his wisdom and awed by the art of management.

Dalio understands both the science and art of management. His book Principles is the best algorithmic approach I have ever encountered. If you want to learn about an algorithmic approach to leadership, read Dalio’s book. If you want to learn both the science and art of management, join Vistage for a lifetime of learning.


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