Book Review: The Most Important Thing by Howard Marks from Oaktree

Book Review: The Most Important Thing by Howard Marks from Oaktree

The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor
by Howard Marks founder of Oaktree
 
Book review by distresseddebt.com


Why would you want to read this book? The main reason is that Howard Marks is the (co-)founder of Oaktree, the golden standard among distressed debt private equity managers.  He has actually been successful at what he does.  We would argue that the main target audience is existing and future investors with Mr. Marks, and by no means is this a criticism.  We can just imagine it being handed out after various investor meetings;)  The book is targeted at people managing money and not the lonely distressed analyst looking for the sparking dust that will make his trades perform. 

The book consists of 20 chapters, on various topics related to investing, not at all limited to distressed.  The title is a bit of a give away, the book could have been a lot shorter.  The chapters are all digestible piece by piece without having to read it all in one session, which you probably won”t manage. The reason is that it can be repetitive at times as it is based on a collection of investor memos. 


A lot of the advice in the book is based on three points about the market: 1. markets move in cycles 2. best bargains are made in buying when others are selling 3. avoiding losers works best in bonds.  Unfortunately or fortunately, there are not many investors who can allow themselves to be truly long term and do as Mr Marks does and say in 2006 we didn”t see value, it’s 2007 and we still don”t see value… 

Should you read the book? Yes, despite its minor flaws, its an easy read and there are some great parts that will be quoted in the future!



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