Howard Marks: The Investor’s Dichotomy

Johnny HopkinsHoward MarksLeave a Comment

In his recent interview with the Acquired Podcast, Howard Marks discussed the investor’s dichotomy. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Marks: You know, this points out a dichotomy in investing, or maybe a conundrum of which there are so many. Because what we just talked about was it’s important to stick to your last and do what you’re good at and fits with you, but it’s also essential to be open-minded and willing to change.

Host: I’m getting Whiplash.

Marks: Yeah, but look to be a good investor you have to be confident because you have to back things that are iffy and stay with them if they go bad, and if you’re in the public securities market you have to maybe buy more of them when they decline.

But not so confident that you’re pig-headed and keep throwing bad money after good. You have to concentrate your holdings enough so that the few good ideas you get in your lifetime really make a big difference but you have to diversify to protect against the unforeseen. So this is really the nub of it!

It’s such a fascinating field because in my opinion the things we’re talking about can’t be reduced to an algorithm and this is where our humanity pays off. Because Andrew talks about making better qualitative judgments about the future. I like to believe that computers will not be doing that well for some time, so that we’ll still have some scope for success.

You can listen to the entire discussion here:

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