Hedge fund titan Ray Dalio — who has famously promoted “radical transparency” as a management mantra — hired a team of high-priced lawyers to threaten the publication of a new book that claims to reveal some ugly truths about the investment firm he started.
The new book by reporter Rob Copeland, “The Fund: Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates, and the Unraveling of a Wall Street Legend,” is slated for release by Macmillan Nov. 7. But earlier this year, Dalio and Bridgewater – the behemoth fund he founded – threatened a multibillion-dollar lawsuit, according to letters obtained by On The Money.
Dalio, a former Burning Man attendee who is worth $19 billion according to Forbes, has turned his best-selling book “Principles” into a children’s book. He has often talked of aligning work with passion. The concept of “radical transparency” means being completely honest about your own mistakes and weaknesses.
According to a source, however, the book contains “reams of scenes of Dalio and others acting harshly toward underlings, and wielding the so-called ‘Principles’ as a weapon.”
The book also gets into former FBI Director James Comey’s tenure as general counsel at the firm from 2010 to 2013. A source told On The Money the book includes several chapters on Comey “putting underlings on videotaped trials, installing a wild security apparatus and kissing up to Dalio for multimillion-dollar paychecks.”
The 352-page book claims it “punctures this carefully-constructed narrative of the benevolent business titan,” according to promotional materials. The book’s Amazon description promises to expose Dalio’s “much-promoted ‘principles’ as one of the great feats of hubris in modern memory―in practice… encouraged a toxic culture of paranoia and backstabbing.”
Top legal guns including John Quinn of Quinn Emmanuel, Tom Clare of Clare Locke and Orin Snyder of Gibson Dunn have been tussling with Macmillan and Copeland over what they allege is an inaccurate portrayal of the firm and Dalio.
“Given the very serious financial and reputational harm that Mr. Copeland’s false narrative about the firm and Mr. Dalio could cause, Macmillan could easily be exposed to many billions of dollars in damages….” reads one letter to Macmillan and Copeland earlier this year.
Another letter alleges that Copeland “grossly distort[ed] the very core of Bridgewater’s business—even falsely insinuating, in places, serious criminal impropriety. If uncorrected, these falsehoods could cause significant damage to Bridgewater, its employees, and its clients, and could expose Macmillan to billions of dollars in liability as a result…”
Other sources said the letters were part of an effort to ensure the veracity of the book and that – while publishing houses rely on their own internal lawyers and fact-checkers – Bridgewater wanted a third-party fact-checker brought in.
“This letter addresses and debunks about 50 of some of the provably false and most obvious errors in the manuscript,” the letter also stated. These errors are by no means the only errors we have identified,” the letter adds.
Neither the publisher nor the author have backed down. In a note obtained by On The Money, general counsel of Macmillan wrote, “Macmillan takes seriously its role as a responsible publisher of books that provide independent reporting on a range of contemporary matters of public interest. We stand by our commitment to that role, even when those books may expose the wealthy and powerful, such as Ray Dalio and Bridgewater, to unwanted scrutiny.”
Reps for MacMillan, Copeland, Dalio and Bridgewater all declined to comment.
Sources close to the book emphasize that it has been vetted rigorously ahead of its publishing. The publisher hired an external lawyer to conduct legal reviews and the author hired a fact-checker to make sure the manuscript was airtight. The book also includes multiple on the record interviews from former employees, sources said.
“Reading this book there is no doubt it’s a highly reported, fact based book with citations of emails and documents,” Bradley Hope, Co-Author of “Billion Dollar Whale” and former colleague who authored pieces with Copeland told On The Money. “It’s not gossipy it’s definitive.”
While On The Money has yet to read the book in its entirety, “Barbarians at the Gate” author Bryan Burrough says of the book “At last, the era of the billionaire philosopher-king has a defining book”.
“American Rust” author Philipp Meyer said the book is “A classic American story about the most famous man on Wall Street or the person he seems to be. ‘The Fund’ manages to both shock and entertain at the same time.”