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Investing Is Identifying Mispricings

Success in gambling doesn’t go to those who pick winners, but to those with the ability to identify superior propositions. The goal is to find situations where the odds are generous to one side or the other, whether favorite or underdog. In other words, a mispricing. It’s exactly the same in investing. People often say to me, ‘XYZ is a great company with a bright future, so I bought the stock.’

They’re picking a favorite but ignoring the proposition. The former alone isn’t enough; they should consider the latter as well…. While in investing we generally aren’t offered explicit odds, the attractiveness of the proposition is established by the price of the asset, the ratio of the potential payoff to the amount risked, and what we perceive to be the chance of winning versus losing.

– Howard Marks