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Publisher's Summary

Howard Marks, the chairman and cofounder of Oaktree Capital Management, is renowned for his insightful assessments of market opportunity and risk. After four decades spent ascending to the top of the investment management profession, he is today sought out by the world's leading value investors, and his client memos brim with insightful commentary and a time-tested, fundamental philosophy. Now for the first time, all listeners can benefit from Marks's wisdom, concentrated into a single volume that speaks to both the amateur and seasoned investor.

Informed by a lifetime of experience and study, The Most Important Thing explains the keys to successful investment and the pitfalls that can destroy capital or ruin a career. Using passages from his memos to illustrate his ideas, Marks teaches by example, detailing the development of an investment philosophy that fully acknowledges the complexities of investing and the perils of the financial world. Brilliantly applying insight to today's volatile markets, Marks offers a volume that is part memoir, part creed, with a number of broad takeaways. Marks expounds on such concepts as "second-level thinking", the price/value relationship, patient opportunism, and defensive investing. Frankly and honestly assessing his own decisions - and occasional missteps - he provides valuable lessons for critical thinking, risk assessment, and investment strategy.

Encouraging investors to be "contrarian", Marks wisely judges market cycles and achieves returns through aggressive yet measured action. Which element is the most essential? Successful investing requires thoughtful attention to many separate aspects, and each of Marks's subjects proves to be the most important thing.

©2012 Howard Marks (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"This is that rarity, a useful book." (Warren Buffett)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Steven
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 03-09-13

making good decisions - terriffic

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

would recommend this book as highly as any i have read in the last 10 years... and i read a lot of books on investing and decision-making. this book is incredibly focused and to the point. great for beginners and for professionals. Howard puts many years of wisdom into words easily. must read - or better yet, must listen to

What about John FitzGibbon’s performance did you like?

gerat narration. better than reading it

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Johnny
  • PISMO BEACH, CA, United States
  • 06-08-15

Five Star Book, two Star Audiobook

Would you consider the audio edition of The Most Important Thing to be better than the print version?

No, not at all. The narrater is a great speaker. But he sounds like Kramer on the Seinfeld commercial where he was imitating the MoviePhone guy. It's not entirely his fault. I've watched hours of interviews with Howard Mark's and he tells his stories so great, with a great Queens accent. This is one of the greatest investing books ever written, but the way it's read widdle's it down to absolute boredom.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Most Important Thing?

Mark's adages...which are funner and more memorable to hear from Mark's himself.

Any additional comments?

The print version of this is amazing. All of his video interviews are absolutely entertaining and insightful. I may keep this just because it's a great book and the information is valuable to me.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Loved it!

Would be nice if there are different voices to choose from. The voice on this book sometimes became monotonous and I would have preferred a woman's voice.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good not great. Worth the listen

The book is a little repetitive, as many books are. It is drawn from Howard marks fund letters over the years. It gives excellent insight into the generalities of investing, which anyone who is risking their money should know. It gives little to nothing in terms of how to perform the tasks.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • William
  • SALEM, OREGON, United States
  • 04-11-13

Lessons from a Master Investor

What made the experience of listening to The Most Important Thing the most enjoyable?

Aside from the fact that I fundamentally agree with Howard Marks approach to investment, the explanations used were very easy to follow... it is written in a way that a novice can understand, with insights that an experienced investor would find very useful. I have found few that can do this as well as Mr. Marks has been able to (others would include Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch, and Joel Greenblatt are some others).

Any additional comments?

I would highly recommend this book to novice and experienced investor alike... One of the keys to success in most fields has been to "stand on the shoulders of giants". Howard Marks is a Master Investor with a keen ability to communicate... this book compiles and discusses his memos in a way that will assist you to "stand on the shoulders of this giant"

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Annoying Narration

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Despite the annoying narration this book is worth listening to because the author constantly reinforces the main theme: Don't lose money! No specific strategies here. Rather this money manager offers his investment philosophy that governs his day to day decisions. His track record speaks for itself.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Have a different narrator.

What three words best describe John FitzGibbon’s voice?

Annoying, annoying and annoying.

What did you take away from The Most Important Thing that you can apply to your work?

More important than how to make money is knowing how not to lose it.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great book on Investing

Thoughtful Investor!!! How thoughtful one should be when making an investment. The book is wonderful in that it helps one shape his or her understanding of the markets in a very meaningful way. It eminently suggests ways to synchronize our heart and mind to meaningfully engage in investing and dispels any doubt that we have regarding whether it is an art that is a domain of a few or a science beyond an average investor's reach and shares with us that what is important is to try to be less wrong than to try to be more right. A great book on investing. With less reliance on empirical or existing data, the book appears contemporary and very relevant to all types of investors, whether novice or expert. A good effort by narrator who picks up the tempo in the later parts of the book. Reading with a hard copy and listening on audible was a refreshing experience and would say that its a not to be missed book for all avid investors..

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  • Ned
  • Kempner, TX, United States
  • 12-02-18

Save your time and money

The musings of a self-important guy who started on third and thinks he hit a triple.

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Found what i was looking for

One of the greatest books on investing and trading. On level with Market Wizard series.

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Great Book

All around just a really good book. Very insightful. There are a number of strategies and key takeaways a retail investor can obtain by reading this book. Howard Marks is a mastermind and this book is a must read for anyone serious about investing.

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  • Mr Ewart
  • 12-06-18

Had my attention throughout

Will listen to this one again. It is very matter of fact, and highly rated.

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  • LC
  • 08-09-18

Clear and useful

Clear and useful advice that gives and underlying approach to successful investing. Worth listening to regularly as a reminder.

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  • mo
  • 12-06-17

Great content very well read must buy

Easy to listen to with great insights, would recommend to any would be investor. Enjoy

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  • John P
  • 08-03-17

First Class Investing Philosophy

In many ways this is a philosophy book. Howard Marks is a deep thinker and eloquent writer. If you like Charlie Munger and Nicholas Taleb you will get a lot from Howard Marks. Take a look at his memos on the Oaktree site to get a flavour.

Oh, and the narrator is first class.

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  • Suraj Pokhriyal
  • 05-20-17

Definitely a good audio book for investors

If someone is into investment should definitely buy this audio books
It covers all difficulty investor faces during their investment period. And describe how luck, right timing & aggressive in market can decide fate of investors.
It also discusses psychology of trends (with analogy of pendulum) awesome audiobook for investors.

Note:I listen this audiobook at 0.85× since 1x was too fast for me.
You can miss the context if you lose attention even for seconds while listening.

Overall great book.

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  • Christian Hansson
  • 01-13-17

Educating and easy to follow

The book is very good at explaining the authors investment philosophy. It also gives an insight to how other investors might reason and act. It also gives a sensible perspective on the financial markets. The author manages to convey as to why he prefers a certain investment approach and gives an updated for this day and age version of Benjamin Grahams classic "The intelligent Investor".
My favourite thus far in finance litterateur.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Nikola
  • 05-17-16

Mildly unexciting read

Buy low, sell high, repeated for 7 hours. Sadly this book offers no more insight beyond this statement. A rare occasion for me to strongly disagree with Warren Buffet's words, but this book is a polar opposite of useful. I suppose everyone makes mistakes..

0 of 2 people found this review helpful