The Most Important

The Most Important Thing

Review The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor



“The Most Important Thing” by Howard Marks shares his thoughts and philosophy on the art of value investing. Having come from a long and illustrious career as an investor and the experience to boot, Marks provides readers with an insightful collection of investment psychologies, mindsets to achieve in order for success, and the key areas to focus on. In addition, “The Most Important Thing”, just as the title implies, delves into the key things to always remember in an investment opportunity and how to avoid common investment mistakes that lead to a career-ending path.  In this well-thought-out book, Marks explains and discusses a technique he calls “second-level thinking,” as well as how to wait during a given opportunity and defensive investment. 

With accounts of his own decisions and mistakes, he provides readers with easy-to-understand investment lessons from thinking critically to risk assessment while encouraging fledgling investors to receive gains through aggressive yet restrained investment actions. All in all, “The Most Important Thing” is a must-read for investors of all skill and experience levels.    

About the Author

Howard Marks is chairman and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management, a Los Angeles-based investment firm with $80 billion 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.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    • The Most Important Thing is…
  • 1 – Second-Level Thinking
  • 2 – Understanding Market Efficiency (and Its Limitations)
  • 3 – Value
  • 4 – The Relationship Between Price and Value
  • 5 – Understanding Risk
  • 6 – Recognize Risk
  • 7 – Controlling Risk
  • 8 – Being Attentive to Cycles
  • 9 – Awareness of the Pendulum
  • 10 – Combating Negative Influences
  • 11 – Contrarianism 
  • 12 – Finding Bargains
  • 13 – Patient Opportunism
  • 14 – Knowing What You Don’t Know
  • 15 – Having a Sense for Where We Stand
  • 16 – Appreciating the Role of Luck
  • 17 – Investing Defensively
  • 18 – Avoiding Pitfall
  • 19 – Adding Value
  • 20 – Pulling It All Together