Howard Marks – The Truth About Investing

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Oaktree Chairman Howard Marks did a great presentation earlier this month for the CFA Society in India called  – The Truth About Investing. While the presentation was fantastic, the audio quality is not 100%, nevertheless it’s a must watch for all investors. Most interesting was the awesome slideshow that Marks used to accompany the presentation.

Some of my favorite quotes from the slideshow are:

The price of a security at a given point in time reflects the consensus of investors regarding its value. The big gains arise when the consensus turns out to have underestimated reality. To be able to take advantage of such divergences, you have to think in a way that departs from the consensus; you have to think different and better. This goal can be described as “second-level thinking” or “variant perception.”


It’s important to practice “contrarian” behavior and do the opposite of what others do at the extremes. For example, the markets are riskiest when there’s a widespread belief that there’s no risk, since this makes investors feel it’s safe to do risky things. Thus we must sell when others are emboldened (and buy when they’re afraid).


Every investment approach – even if skillfully applied – will run into environments for which it is ill-suited. That means even the best of investors will have periods of poor performance. Even if you’re correct in identifying a divergence of popular opinion from eventual reality, it can take a long time for price to converge with value, and it can require something that serves as a catalyst. In order to be able to stick with an approach or decision until it proves out, investors have to be able to weather periods when the results are embarrassing. This can be very difficult.


Below is the presentation and the accompanying slideshow. Note. If you click on the full-screen button at the bottom right of the slideshow, it is much easier to read:



A big thanks to for uploading the slideshow to Scribd. Market Folly, which is an awesome resource for investors, also did a great article on the Marks presentation, including his highlights, which you can find here. Make sure you check it out.

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