Thursday, September 25, 2014

Howard Marks on being unconventional.

I saw Howard Marks at a conference a couple of years ago and jotted down some of his quotes.

“Are you willing to be different, and are you willing to be wrong?  In order to have a chance at great results, you have to be open to being both.”

“This just in: you can’t take the same actions as everyone else and expect to outperform.”

“Being different is absolutely essential if you want a chance at being superior.”

“Only if your behavior is unconventional is your performance likely to be unconventional and only if your judgments are superior is your performance likely to be above average.”

“…in terms of asset allocation, ‘can’t lose’ usually goes hand-in-hand with ‘can’t win.’”

“Establishing and maintaining an unconventional investment profile requires acceptance of uncomfortably idiosyncratic portfolios, which frequently appear downright imprudent in the eyes of conventional wisdom.”

“Most great investments begin in discomfort.” 

“You have to give yourself a chance to fail.”

“It’s important to play judiciously, to have more successes than failures, and to make more on your successes than you lose on your failures.  But it’s crippling to have to avoid all failures, and insisting on doing so can’t be a winning strategy.”

“Bottom line: not whether you dare to be different or to be wrong, but whether you dare to LOOK wrong.”

“In order to be a superior investor, you need the strength to diverge from the herd, stand by your convictions and maintain positions until events prove them right.”

“Unconventional behavior is the only road to superior investment results, but it isn't for everyone.  In addition to superior skill, successful investing requires the ability to look wrong for a while and survive some mistakes.”

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