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The Most Important Thing Illuminated: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor (Columbia Business School Publishing) Hardcover – January 15, 2013
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When I see memos from Howard Marks in my mail, they're the first thing I open and read. I always learn something, and that goes double for his book. (Praise for The Most Important Thing, Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway)
If you take an exceptional talent and have them obsess about value investing for several decades―including deep thinking about its very essence with written analysis along the way― you may come up with a book as useful to value investors as this one. But don't count on it. (Praise for The Most Important Thing, Jeremy Grantham, Cofounder and Chief Investment Strategist, Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo)
A clear and expert resource for all investors. (Praise for The Most Important Thing Kirkus Reviews)
Veteran value-investing manager Howard Marks draws on pithy memos he wrote to clients over the years to dispense insightful advice on everything from risk taking to the role of luck. (Praise for The Most Important Thing Money Magazine)
The original is great, but if you're willing to spend a bit more money (eBook is $9.99), this new version does have a little more meat to it. (My Money Blog)
I recommend this book to all who aspire after value investing. (Aleph Blog / Money Science)
This new edition does the nearly impossible; it takes an already classic text and makes it an even more indispensable tool for investors! (FocusInvestor.com)
Ultimately The Most Important Thing Illuminated: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor is an outstanding read. I'll be referring back to it often. I'd say it's a must-have for every value investor. (Seeking Alpha)
Enlightening and well detailed. (Midwest Book Review)
This is a book I recommend you keep on your desk (Charles Sizemore Forbes.com Moneybuilder)
Marks' The Most Important Thing distilled the investing insight of his celebrated client memos into a single volume and, for the first time, made his time-tested philosophy available to general readers. In this edition, Marks's wisdome is joined by the comments, insights, and counterpoints of four renowned investors. (Value Walk Blog)
About the Author
Howard Marks is chairman and cofounder of Oaktree Capital Management, a Los Angeles-based investment firm with seventy-five billion dollars under management. He holds a bachelor's degree in finance from the Wharton School and an MBA in accounting and marketing from the University of Chicago. He is the author of The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor.
Bruce C. Greenwald holds the Robert Heilbrunn Professorship of Finance and Asset Management at Columbia Business School and is the academic director of the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing. He is the coauthor of The Curse of the Mogul: What's Wrong with the World's Leading Media Companies.
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Top customer reviews
Howard Marks, Chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, writes clearly and persuasively about the importance of risk avoidance when investing in stocks. He emphatically states his belief that risk avoidance by buying at a good value is the key to success. He then spends the rest of the book telling the reader the 18 most important things to consider when buying stocks. His discussion of investor psychology is worth the price of the book by itself. Everything else is a bonus.
I had been meaning to read this book for a year or so. When I learned that an annotated edition, with comments from some leading value investors, I grabbed it. I took my time reading it, as there is so much great information within. The final chapter, in which Marks pulls all 18 important things together, is now something I intend to re-read several times a year, like I do with Chapters 8 and 20 of Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor.
The book reaffirms my belief: Not because technology has made it easy for average people to trade financial securities on exchanges like NASDAQ and NYSE does not mean that they have the required skills to perform securities valuation. Average people who trade regularly on securities exchanges are like the weekend golfers playing the Blue or Black T-Boxes on a standard PGA course. This is why 401(k) is bad for the average worker.
Unfortunately, I found the comments in the "illuminated" version distracting. There were some insightful comments (mostly from Marks himself) but they were inserted into the middle of the chapters. I would prefer to have the comments at the end so I could keep my stream of thought.
I would probably recommend the un-illuminated version.
Great not only for distressed buyers as Marks is, but the psychology of investing is the same across asset classes. Any investment professional or interested party can garner an incredible amount of in depth information. For those who read Mark's letters consistently there will be some redundancy, but even the letters are clarified to greater detail.