Howard Marks Memo – Notes from New York – 2001

The third memo of 2001 is special. Unfortunately, this memo is special for all of the wrong reasons. H. Marks wrote this memo on the 16th of September 2001, five days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. H. Marks explains in the memo that this was “My way of dealing with them [thoughts of New York] is to turn them into sentences and paragraphs.“. As you would expect, this memo is not about investing, forecasting, market cycles or any of the other topics that H. Marks usually write about. Because of that fact alone, this is a memo worth your time and attention. The lessons and wisdom in this memo will not make a you better investor. However, it serves as an important reminder that the quest of becoming a better investor is far from the most important thing in life.

Please comment if you have read the memo and what you thought of it. Also, if you have found a worldly wisdom in the memo that you think I should have included please comment on that as well. I’m very interested in what caught your eye while reading and why.

Worldly wisdom’s from Notes from New York – 2001


“Depending on how far and in what ways the terrorist campaign spreads, we might begin to see armed personnel where people gather. And they might need to be able to search those they suspect. We may see surveillance cameras, computer facial and fingerprint recognition and the use of profiling. Internet and telephone privacy may be abridged. Travel will be less convenient, and our borders may be made less porous. These subjects are likely to be hotly debated, but the debate is certain to be conducted from a new perspective. And I think the answers are likely to be different from what they would have been a week ago.”

My thoughts: H. Marks often points out that he doesn’t play the game of trying to predict the future. However, I would argue that he did on this occasion. Unfortunately, it turned out that his forecasting abilities were quite good.


“There will be – already has been – violence against Americans of Middle Eastern origin. But know this: People say that if we let stocks fall, if we don’t rebuild the Towers, or if we don’t return to normalcy, then our enemies will have won. All of this is true, but if the events of the week are able to turn Americans against Americans and erode the values that have made this country great, they also will have won.

My thoughts: In times like these, this has to be remembered.


“Last week’s events proved that money, position and technology are not the most powerful or important things in our lives. The cornerstones of our lives were shown to be family, faith and principle, friends and colleagues we know we can count on, and the American spirit. These are the things we have to be thankful for . . . maybe now, we realize, more than ever.

My thoughts: No words of mine are needed.

One thought on “Howard Marks Memo – Notes from New York – 2001

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