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on 7 January 2012
I must admit that I am a sucker for anything that Warren Buffet endorses. I have read numerous books over the years on investing and this is one of the best. It reminds me of when I read the intelligent investor for the first time by expanding my investment horizon. This is the type of book that I will read, like the intelligent investor, at least once a year to make sure I don't forget any of the valuable lessons between its pages. Buyer beware, this book is not going to show you exactly how to value companies but instead will give you a sound investing philosophy to follow. Buy this book you will not be disappointed.
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on 30 July 2011
One of the best investing books I have read so far. It takes time and failure to realise that having a clear investing philosophy is crucial for success. It's really hard to get into the buy low and sell high philosophy, it makes so much sense but with all that noise around you (e.g. trend riding, etc) most people end up losing money and opening opportunities for people that do exactly that: buy low and sell high. Howard Marks is a great author with wise advise, listen to him...
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on 18 September 2011
wow! an investment book that doesn't rely on the use of charts... this book will teach you how to become a defensive investor so that you can minimise losses and be in the game longer. it is a real eye opener because most people only ever hear about the huge deals that earn investors tons of cash, however marks insists that the reason why investors make huge sums is because they control their losses. you will learn a hell of a lot from this book and it's an intelligent different perspective that will compliment the classics from graham, fisher etc. rated by by the likes of buffett, greenblatt and grantham - is definetely worth a read...
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on 14 October 2011
I think of this book as a useful aide in staying focussed on getting through a possible worst case scenario so as to be able to buy risk assets when there is massive pessimism & the tabloids are pronouncing the end of capitalism & have financial news on the front pages.

As other reviewers point out, it is all about flipping the mind set to buy low(er) & then either activate a buy & hold & rebalance strategy or just sell (all or part) higher.

This requires that scary combination of missing out by being invested too early in government bonds/cash/money market & then being prepared to come in on 25%+ (or some other arbitrary trigger) falls in equities trusting in eventual mean reversion.

The author just takes you through how he arrived at thinking like this, there aren't any tips or action plan, it's a genuinely thoughtful call to 'stand back, be fearful when everyone else is greedy, be greedy when everyone's fearful, the big money is made by investing when there is blood on the streets, sometimes you're going to be years stuck in cash/money market/bonds & when you do come in you'll near certainly be too early, so get the mindset right'.

It is not really new or groundbreaking, it's in the long line from Loeb through to Buffett who like to stay out in manias & come in when the probabilities are in their favour. But I'd recommend it from an investment psychology/perspective, particularly for those who, perhaps alongside a 'drip feed into equities' strategy or a 60:40 or 50:50 risk:non risk rebalancing portfolio strategy, want to play a contrarian or value game with a portion of their capital. It is also a good antidote to the momentum or trend following strategies that seem to be in vogue right now.
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on 17 November 2012
I don't often write positive reviews (being a value investor with a negative disposition :)) However this book has prompted me to do so. You need to know I read incessantly and have been investing for 15 years so I was not looking at this as a beginner looking for an investing guide. This book is definitely not an investment guide book. I have also read this author's memos to his clients at Oaktree Capital on which much of the wisdom in this book is based. This author is well worth listening to. He will show you how to think differently than the rest of the market (The only way you will make money). He explains the market in a way you may not (and I hadn't) thought of it before. In my view this book should be required reading alongside "Security Analysis", "The Intelligent Investor" and anything by Bruce Greenwald on investing. It is an inspired book and has completely changed my outlook on the markets and on investing. I am not exaggerating when I say this book has changed my thinking. Well worth reading, but not your first investment book. Read "The Intelligent Investor" first and then this and then "Security Analysis" and then read Bruce Greenwald's work and then Warren Buffet's letters to shareholders at Berkshire Hathaway.
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on 29 November 2011
Howard Marks shares his twenty most important things to know about successful investing. He explains such concepts as "second level thinking", value, understanding and controlling risk, and defensive investing. It's not a step-by-step guide to investing, but instead sets out what Marks sees as the ground rules of investing.
The insight and advice he provides help develop critical thinking, risk assessment, and investment strategy. There is plenty of use to newcomers and more seasoned investors. His advice comes recommended by legendary investor, Warren Buffett.

The book brings together advice built up over four decades of investing, which have seen Marks learn from the booms and busts of the 1970's through to today. He's invested during the stagflation of the 1970's, the booms of the 80's and 90's, as well as Black Monday, the dot com boom and bust, and the global financial crisis of 2007-8. He shares his unique learning and experiences as an investment manager with us.

Howard Marks is the chairman and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management, a Los-Angeles based investment firm with $80 billion invested for their clients. Marks is renowned for his insightful assessment of market opportunity and risk, which he shares with us in this book.
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on 17 February 2014
This well written book is both simple and profound. Its helped me think about my investment approach. Its not technical so is a good introduction for someone looking to invest a bit smarter than paying a fixed monthly amount into a fund.
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on 14 December 2015
This is one of the investment classics that investors (professional and non-professional) should absolutely read. Howard Marks is an outstanding investor and manager of investors through his fund Oaktree Capital. Having seen nearly four decades worth of financial markets he has a unique insight that in today's ageist financial industry: he has seen markets and players over a long-enough period of time in order to make sense of investor and market behaviour.

What makes this book outstanding is that Howard Marks can explain concepts simply and logically. His focus on risk management and investor psychology makes readers think about themselves and their own behaviour, and what they can do to improve both. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
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on 10 February 2013
This book was so good I read it twice. Skillfully written and concise, this book does not waste words in getting across a lifetime of investing experience. As far as I am aware this is Howard Marks only book and it really comes across that this book was prepared very carefully. The result is well worth it and in my humble opinion it is up there amongst the great books about investing.
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on 17 November 2014
This book is short but not intended to be read quickly. Take your time and digest the philosophy. Specifically what Marks offers is the reasoning behind the principles of value investing. Each point is given the 'most important thing' treatment and then at the end he brings it all together because there is no formula, there is no algorithm, there is no quick way to become a thoughtful investor. What you will know is the importance of risk control, what an intelligent contrarian does and why, the reason for being a defensive investor, being an 'I don't know' investor who aims to minimize losses in case it all turns bad. And much more. I agree with the reviewer who says it is a good book to come to after you've made some mistakes but I hope that younger investors would be prepared to learn from the fact that all the rest of us have made mistakes that they can avoid if they put in the work required to master these principles. Beginning here is not a bad idea. Investing well isn't easy so don't look for an easy book: there aren't any good ones. This has almost no maths in it but if you are daunted by any of the material, Khan Academy has some excellent playlists on finance and capital markets. (It's free!)
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