I have been reading books ever since I was a kid. However I have now realized that sometimes it takes decades to understand the meaning of certain books or poems and that realization comes partly with age and partly with maturity and experience.
There is a famous poem called Leisure by WH Davies. The first couple of lines are somewhat like this
I had memorized these poems and maybe even written explanations etc in school – but it is only now after almost 2 decades that they meaning of those words has really sunk in.
Similarly there are a few maxims that I came across so often from investing legends, Buffett, Munger and Howard Marks – yet it was only after several years – the penny finally dropped on what they meant. This one realization has made the world of a difference to my investing returns.
Rule No 1- Don’t lose Money
Rule No 2 – Don’t forget Rule no 1
In one of his memos, Marks mentioned how Oaktree was never the best performer in any single year and would lie somewhere in the middle. However, when you expand the time horizon to a decade or more, you suddenly find Oaktree to be one of the best performing funds.
The key reason was in bad years, they didn’t lose much money and in good years they did reasonably well.
KEY LESSONS LEARNT
- Try and avoid stupid decisions to the best extent possible.
- You may not make great decisions – but reasonably good decisions will take care of the upside (atleast most of the time)
- Avoiding disasters and acknowledging mistakes sooner rather than later will make a world of difference [/box]