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Mastering the Market Cycle - Howard Marks

John Hjorth

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've read about 2/3rds of this book now. I have not read his previous book, or any of his memos before. I've subscribed now, and plan to read "The most important thing" next. He does "warn" at the start of the book that he repeats some content from of his memos. For a first time reader like me, I think this is fine. I listen to the audible-version, and it can sometimes be a bit hard to know when the part from the memo stops and the "book" continues.


In general, I find the book valuable. He emphasizes that the point is not to try to predict where the market is going (if he did, I would probably stop reading), but that there is great value in knowing where we are in the cycle(s). I think the subtitle of the book is describing: "Getting the odds on your side". E.g. if valuations are high, credit is widely available, and everybody is optimistic, the probability of future high returns is likely to be lower. At least that is how I read it. I also find it useful that he describes the many different cycles (credit, fundamentals, economy, psychological etc).


I also find some of his observations that are not specific to "the market cycle" to be highly valuable. Like the fact that in addition to having an opinion, one should have some idea how how likely this opinion is to be correct. Behavioural economics.


It is hard to say if I will end up being better at knowing / having-an-opinion-of where the market cycle is, after reading this book. But I do think there is wisdom in it, which I will hopefully be able to retain some of. And hopefully, perhaps, I will be a bit better at adjusting my exposure/actions according to the phase in the cycle(s).

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I've just been dipping in so far, but it hasn't grabbed me in the same way as 'The Most Important Thing'.


It feels like that a fair bit of it is an expansion on a general Marks theme of 'where are we in the cycle', and so if you've read the first book, and the Memos since, it's not as enlightening as before.


That said, maybe I read to sit down and read it properly to get more out of it.  There's certainly some good stuff in there, and it's also a very important theme that he covers.


I'm also delighted that he features an investment hero of mine, Nick Train of Lindsell Train, and I hope it exposes him to a broader US audience.

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  • 3 months later...

Would say that the "new" book does not add very much if you've followed Mr. Marks.

Maybe helpful in consolidating some concepts.


"One of my most persistent observations and – in a related way – one of the questions I’m most often asked is whether people can learn to be unemotional. My answer is “yes and no.”


I think it’s possible for people to be on the lookout for potential emotional influences and to try to restrain their effect. But I also think people who are inherently unemotional will have it much easier.


A lack of emotionality is a gift (in investing, that is, but perhaps not in other areas, like marriage). It’s not my point that emotional people can’t be good investors, but it will require a great deal of self-awareness and self-restraint."


The more it changes...

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I have read the first book, most of the memos, and I am about 1/2 way thru the new book, Mastering Market Cycle.


I agree with what has already been said about this new book.  It is a little slower for me as I am familiar with Marks thoughts and ideas.


Now, I am a huge fan of Howard Marks.  He is brilliant, and gifted as a teacher.  He can explain complex economics and ideas in a way that I fine simple and effective.  He is a MASTER!


The fact that he took the time to write a book, compels me to read it.  The time that I invest in reading the book would have otherwise been spent on less valuable pursuits, like Game of Thrones and Reality TV.  ;-]

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