Howard Marks and his Buddhism-based Investment Philosophy – Book Note of [The Most Important Thing]

I always liked Howard Marks’ famous memo and his thoughts in various interviews, but only got chance recently to read his book [The Most Important Thing – Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor].


Below are some topics that are most insightful for me.

Oriental philosophy on cyclicality

Within this book, as well in Marks’ past interviews, pendulum, which continuously swings from one end back to the other, was mentioned many times as a metaphor to illustrate his view of world, markets and human sentiments. Marks also revealed his spiritual root for such a philosophy, dating back to his Wharton days when he picked up Japanese Studies as the obligatory non-business major and learned Mujo (無常, a Buddhism doctrine means “Impermanence”). Not only Marks credited his Japanese Study by claiming “they contributed to my investment philosophy in a major way”, I believe he also passed along such philosophy to his decedents, as indicated by his son Andrew Marks’ plan to name his new money managing business after “Anicca”, which is Impermanence in Pali, the “native” language of Buddhism.

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