Confessions of a Street Addict tracks the early career of Jim Cramer, arguably the most controversial figure today on Wall Street. In this entertaining and educational read, Cramer discusses the dazzling highs and painful lows of being a stock junkie.
Cramer has some great stories to share; the man's done it all on Wall Street. He started out as a broker at Goldman Sachs
Each stage of his career brings new insights and anecdotes. For example, it only took him a few days as a money manager to realize that he was clueless about running a hedge fund. His coworker Karen (who later became his wife and business partner) showed him how hedge fundsreally make money. Hedge fund managers make dozens of calls to brokers each day, trying to get a feel for what's hot on Wall Street. They get in on the ground floor, wait for the analyst upgrades, then sell, hoping for a "sure thing." It makes you wonder whether the average investor really has a shot at competing with the big dogs.
Cramer brings to life in incredible detail the pressures of trying to beat the market for 13 years. His team hated losing money so badly that there were days when they would literally go over every stock they held every hour.
The best part of the book is the saga of TheStreet.com. Everything that can go wrong at a fledgling dot-com does go wrong here, from a disastrous marketing campaign to Cramer getting sidelined by his own employees. I don't want to ruin the surprise here, but the chapter where Cramer learns the shocking truth about TheStreet.com's young, hotshot CEO is worth the price of the book alone.
Cramer's passion for stocks resonates through every page. It's almost contagious. Unfortunately for Cramer, that enormous passion is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it had him driving to the office at 5 a.m. everyday and enabled him to crush the market for years. On the other hand, he often sacrificed friends and family to it in order to succeed. Cramer recounts talking stocks moments after his mother passed away. Was he avoiding the pain, he wonders, or had investing taken over his life?
Cramer critics will probably relish the fact that, as successful as he is, he admits his own shortcomings with brutal honesty. The man owes much of his early success as a broker to his friend Marty Peretz, who introduced him to wealthy clients. His wife Karen bailed Cramer out numerous times when his hedge fund was on the verge of collapse. His partner Jeff Berkowitz also played a major role in the success of his hedge fund, and Cramer wisely devotes a whole chapter to him.
Jim Cramer's Confessions of a Street Addict is a fun read, and I recommend it to all investing enthusiasts. Cramer fans and critics alike will appreciate this chance to see a different side of one of the most controversial figures in finance.
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Joey Khattab does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.