The most important thing

The title of this blog is also the title of a book written by none other than Howard Marks. To me he is one of the great investors of our time, so this article is about him and what you and I can learn from him.To be clear, I do not think that you or I should simply emulate his trades or the trades of one of the Oaktree Capital investment funds (Marks is the chairman of Oaktree). I rather think that one can learn from his mentality. For example, the title of his book that I borrowed for the title o this blog. In his book he explains that whenever he talks to clients he finds himself saying “The most important thing is X” and a little later it is Y and then again Z before he starts again at A. In the end it is about that there is not one most important thing for an investor but that there are many things one has to take into account. He also does not under estimate the value of luck. Warren Buffett for example refers to this as having won the ovarian lottery ie being born a white male in the US at the time he was born. Maybe it even helped a little more that Buffett was born as soon as a US businessman and United States Representative. Marks has this great story of how he applied at Lehman Brothers but did not get the job. Instead he started working elsewhere and eventually started his own business. Maybe it would have turned out very different when he would have gotten the job at Lehman. And luck Mr Marks had. He is now nr 361 on Forbes rich list (as per 20/01/2017). Curious how he got there? Well, if you want to read what he has put down on paper historically you do not have to buy his book. The book is essentially a collection of memo’s that he also publishes on Oaktree’s website. So, browsing through the memo’s or downloading and reading all of them should essentially give you the same experience as the book. Furthermore, there is also a google talk given by him. You can find it on youtube. I really enjoyed it and I hope you will, too.

Happy reading/watching!

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