Howard Marks is the legendary investor behind Oaktree Capital Management.

His “Oaktree memos” are mandatory reading for investors like Warren Buffett, who has said,

“When I see memos from Howard Marks in my mail, they’re the first thing I open and read.”

In the introduction of his book The Most Important Thing, Howard Marks explains,

If you read widely, you can learn from people whose ideas merit publishing. Some of the most important for me were Charley Ellis’s great article “The Loser’s Game” (The Financial Analysts Journal, July- August 1975), A Short History of Financial Euphoria, by John Kenneth Galbraith (New York: Viking, 1990) and Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness (New York: Texere, 2001). Each did a great deal to shape my thinking

Howard Marks Recommended Books

In order, the three books he recommends are:

*The original Charles Ellis article was then turned into a book.

Investors Who Influenced Howard Marks

In the introduction, Marks expands on those who have influenced him the most.

Finally, I’ve been extremely fortunate to learn directly from some outstanding thinkers: John Kenneth Galbraith on human foibles; Warren Buffett on patience and contrarianism; Charlie Munger on the importance of reasonable expectations; Bruce Newberg on “probability and outcome”; Michael Milken on conscious risk bearing; and Ric Kayne on setting “traps” (underrated investment opportunities where you can make a lot but can’t lose a lot). I’ve also benefited from my association with Peter Bernstein, Seth Klarman, Jack Bogle, Jacob Rothschild, Jeremy Grantham, Joel Greenblatt, Tony Pace, Orin Kramer, Jim Grant and Doug Kass

For those who like to go deep down the rabbit hole, I’ve published four reading lists from those who have impacted Howard Marks.