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The Most Important Thing

Uncommon Sense for The Thoughtful Investor
Written by: Howard Marks
Narrated by: John FitzGibbon
Length: 7 hrs and 9 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (73 ratings)

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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 listeners say about The Most Important Thing

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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love this book.

a huge fan of Howard marks style of investing - absolutely must read if you are an investor or business person

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Very important thoughts and experiences shared

Very important thoughts and experiences shared, but the audible narration is very bland and puts one to sleep. Important to listen though, valuable thoughts for a safe investment journey

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book to assimilate for any investors

This one really provokes the thoughts underlying a good investing. You have to reduce the reading speed a bit to make the Narrator sound good. An exceptional book where some chapters to be kept as a treasure.

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A complex topic dealt Simply

Very well written book, comprehensive and interesting. You'll definitely go back to this book again and again over a period of time. Great narrator too.

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A nice book

Can be used as a reference book. Lots of learnings. Written and narrated well. Will surely read more of Howard Marks books as I like his thought process...

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Ofcourse, it is the best book by a good narrator.

very good and useful book narrated beautifully. Awesome book by Mr Howard Mark. but audible makes it the most awesome. Thank you AUDIBLE

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A Summary of Value Investing from a Successful Practitioner

The book is a gem collection of all the important behavioural aspects of Value Investing. Further, the lucid style makes the book a must for every serious investor - value or otherwise. Reference from Buffett, Taleb and Charley Ellis adds insights from thinkers who are themselves well aware of human psychology that gets played out in the market.

Narration - the narrator's voice is not the best for long listens. It strains to keep hearing after some time. But at 1.25x speed, the listen was a breeze though.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Common sense is very uncommon.

Loved the way this book explains the intricacies of the stock market ups & downs. It explains the importance of thoughtful investment with common sense philosophy of buying at a low price and keeping patience long enough to hold the shares to let it find its value. The author explains the concept of risk & return beautifully with focus mainly on risk control. Without any technical explanations or complex jargons, the author has simplified the basic philosophy of stock market investments to its core. Overall, a great book!

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Good periodic refresher

Wonderful to hear the famed Howard Marks. Valuable for seasoned investors to hear this periodically to be reminded of the mistakes we do every once in a while. Great for those just starting to learn from Howard's experience.

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thought provoking

great listen. very nice insights into market behaviour and psychology. must know features to plan your financial freedom

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  • Steven
  • 09-03-13

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 people found this helpful

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  • Johnny
  • 08-06-15

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.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Bill Pennock
  • 04-03-15

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 people found this helpful

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  • William
  • 11-04-13

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"

6 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin Curley
  • 12-02-20

Oak tree investment philosophy

Great nuggets of his investment philosophy. The book is broken down cleanly. The overarching concept is simple, second level thinking. It runs short of being a manifesto but is a clear payout of Howard’s views. It’s not a preachy book like many investment books. Instead he sets out here’s what I believe here’s why I believe it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Andy P
  • 20-03-18

Repetitive things worth repeating

Marks had a lot of solid insight - nothing mind-blowing - but what he chooses to focus on as essential make a lot of sense and will highly impact how I invest. Other listeners complained of the repetitiveness, but unless I'm just a slow thinker, I needed that time and rephrasing to help me incorporate that into my mental model of investing. I would read it again in a couple years to make sure I stick to these fundamentals.

1 person found this helpful

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  • J
  • 04-01-17

As advertised

The author states in the introduction that this work should provoke thoughts that the reader has not encountered before. This was very true for me. I've read many books on investing in the ideas expressed in this one I have not encountered before. Strongly recommend reading this work.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Vito Ferrara
  • 11-03-13

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.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 29-06-18

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 people found this helpful

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  • Fo
  • 03-08-20

First Book For New Investors

I currently invest in crypto currency and I loved this book, and help me a lot to open my eyes.

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  • Suraj Pokhriyal
  • 20-05-17

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • MB
  • 31-03-19

Well structured and insightful

I rarely give a 5 star rating but this book truly deserves it. Loads of wisdom and thoughts provoking insights in it. Also easy to follow as an audio book and well narrated. One of the few to be re-listened at some point in the future.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph Vose
  • 16-01-19

Insightful

Offers a great understanding to invemnet philosophy, the audio is clear and maintains interest throughout. Reckomended to anyone with an interest In investment

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dr. Edwards
  • 18-02-20

Value investing -

Nice and great concepts - listen to before investing - good for loss aversion. Nice ideas around determining how much optimism is factored into the price - good for review when investing. No particularly new concepts for me

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mat Brunt
  • 25-01-20

So good I finished it in one go

Content of the book is very good, didn't feel overly technical, more like just listening to someone tell a series of stories to illustrate a point. Narration of this book is excellent, the voice was engaging and combined with the content I suddenly found my days plans cancelled so I didn't have to stop.

The material does start to repeat itself a little midway through the book, but I still found it interesting, it just reinforced earlier passages.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Abdulla
  • 23-11-19

Thought Provoking

Poses more questions than gives answers. You need to listen to it at least once every six months.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hasnat Safder
  • 26-10-19

The most important thing is this book

Nobody really knows what tomorrow will bring, so rather than predicting this books tells you to watch your tomorrow and be prepared. Excellent analysis and examples used throughout the book.
Wonderfully narrated too John FitzGibbon.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ken Edgar
  • 12-06-19

An esential tool in any investors strategy

Essential reading for any investor beginner or experienced. Very well narrated on a complex subject, with thought provoking methods

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-02-19

Priceless knowledge. No tiene precio.

A must have in your audiobook library.
Indispensable en cualquier colección de audiolibros que se precie.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mr Ewart
  • 06-12-18

Had my attention throughout

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

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-07-20

Priceless Book

For traders and investors this should be required reading. Excellent narration conveys timeless principles that will keep your wealth accumulating in any market. I consider this book to be financial scripture.