Howard Marks once describes his investment philosophy like this:
My philosophy of investing was built primarily on experiences but also on things I read: John Kenneth Galbraith’s ideas about cycles, the importance of contrarianism and being a countercyclical, and the importance of not being a forecaster, and Charlie Ellis’s article on “The Loser’s Game” — the desirability of just keeping the ball in play rather than trying to hit home runs.
Strategies that swing for the fences can experience random catastrophic strikeouts that ruin a game. Marks wants to stay in the game as long as possible, so he’ll forgo home runs for singles, doubles, and even walks. It’s like a small ball approach to investing, to continue the baseball analogy.
The point is, Marks wants to avoid as many mistakes as possible and not lose. To do that, he follows a process he learned from Ben Graham called the negative art. Here’s how he described it: Continue Reading…