Video from a Live Talks Business Forum featuring Howard Marks, Chairman and Co-founder, Oaktree Capital Management. The Forum was held on December 7th, 2011 at The City Club on Bunker Hill. Marks was in conversation with journalist and author James Flanigan.

Howard Marks, Chairman and Co-founder, Oaktree Capital Management in conversation with journalist James Flanigan

The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor

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 readers 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. Utilizing 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.

James Flanigan is business columnist for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and other publications, has covered national and international business and economics for 46 years. He has focused on every aspect of business and finance and examined in major articles the economies of countries stretching from Europe to Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

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