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Jim Cramer's Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World Hardcover – March 29, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 426 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After telling the story of his own trading days in Confessions of a Street Addict, Cramer appeases fans hoping for advice on how to duplicate his success with their own investment portfolios. But not without some strong caveats: his approach requires devoting at least an hour a week to educating yourself about each stock you own. But since most pros are "rank amateurs themselves," anyone willing to do the work should consider getting in. Cramer breaks down the fundamentals of his investment approach, built on the twin principles of diversification and speculation: while most of your portfolio should contain reliables like oil, financials and blue-chip companies, 20% percent of your money should go toward a slightly riskier bet on a company's future ("owning a stock is a bet on the future, not the past"). He also explains techniques for figuring out when to buy rock bottom stocks and sell the ones that have hit their peaks. Cramer drills his main points over and over, which can get repetitive on the anecdotal level but reinforces the simplicity of his message: investing is for anybody willing to put the time into learning how to do it right. His enthusiasm should prove inspiring, and even investors on the wrong side of Wall Street's recent shakeups may find the courage to get back in the game. Either way, Cramer's radio, TV and print platforms are sure to make this one another hit. Agent, Suzanne Gluck at William Morris. (Apr. 5)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Cramer, cofounder of TheStreet.com, the daily financial news Web site, and cohost of CNBC's Kudlow & Cramer, is a successful trader and former hedge-fund manager. His autobiography, Confessions of a Street Addict (2002), was an honest portrayal of his sometimes-brutal rise to the top; it was not a trading manual. Here Cramer reveals how he made his money and distills his methods so that the average reader can understand them. Rather than catering to the Wall Street party line of "buy and hold" investing, he is an advocate of "buy and homework." He recommends starting with just four stocks in safe, diverse sectors and devoting a minimum of one hour per week of study to each company. Although others condemn speculation as pure gambling, Cramer insists that the fifth part of your portfolio should be devoted to a purely speculative play to take advantage of potential "home runs"; although much of his advice is for serious students of the market, there is a special trial offer for ActionAlertsPLUS.com, a Web site where Cramer openly reveals all of his trades before he makes them, giving his subscribers the opportunity to get in before he does. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (March 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743224892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743224895
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (426 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I loved the book! I hated the book! And I have recommended it to many and continue to do so, but with caveats and frustrations.

First, if you haven't watched Cramer's `Mad Money' program at least once on CNBC, you need to do so. One show will give you more insight into Cramer's emotional make up and give you more of what to expect from his writings than any review! He is, at once, informative, opinionated, contradictory and entertaining. Well, my wife would disagree about the latter!

Second, like him or not, he is one of those rare investment book writers whose track record is quite public. And he has practiced what he preaches to make (and lose and make again) millions in the market, mostly using other peoples money! To ignore someone with his success is not smart, but to take anyone's investment opinion as the `only truth' is equally risky.

So, let's get to why I stated that I loved this book. Because I do strongly recommend this book to people relatively new to managing their own investments. I especially appreciate his `buy and homework' mentality since many people try to manage their investments without accepting that there is indeed work to be done. He does a good job of explaining why fundamentals are important and how to utilize basic measurements. He does a very good job in explaining market cycles, especially the major ones that cause `big money' (pension funds, mutuals, etc.) to move in and out of various sectors. In general, this is an excellent first read for people new to investing and a reminder of some basics for the rest of us.

Okay, so why did I sometimes feel that I hated the book. Well, first let's acknowledge that there is no perfect investing book or system.
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Format: Hardcover
Many of Jim Cramer's recommendations are nothing new -- diversify; know companies before you buy; keep up with your holdings; know when to get out. What's new is in his temperament. His take on evaluating risk, when to make a quick trade or a longer-term investments, what constitutes diversity. How to know when a company is over or undervalued. The "before buying" and "when to sell" checklists are really useful -- a reminder not to skip any steps. The anecdotes are illustrative and amusing. Especially the one where he sets himself up in a short squeeze. A lot of this seems logical, and I can see how it can help me avoid errors I have made in the past.

Something is missing though -- HOW to do homework. How to calculate growth. How much growth is enough? Enough for what? How much growth is needed to justify that PE? And how long would that kind of growth have to continue? Why? (a couple of spreadsheets would help here). Using price appreciation + dividends when figuring how your portfolio is doing. How about some discussion of the different ways different types of businesses are run, and how this is reflected in their financial statements? For each of the "diversification" sectors he recommends, what can we expect the financial statements to look like? What are the important features? How does the banking business work? And what REALLY goes on when you place a buy or sell order?

This must all be second nature to Mr. Cramer, but those buying his book generally lack his education, apprenticeship, and/or career experience. We didn't start learning the stock market in high school. We need the nuts and bolts. This knowledge can be pulled from a variety of sources, but a companion "how to" volume would be a great help.
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Format: Hardcover
Mr. Cramer is full of emotion. He is on TV and radio. He has much to say about the stock market. His information is helpful, but it is only the beginning in one's learning to be successful in stock market investing. You will have to read many more books including books on technical analysis in order to gain the knowledge needed to be successful.

Cramer's 25 rules for investing are explained in this book. The rules are sound and very helpful for the investor to review. They are:

1. Bulls, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.

2. It's OK to pay the taxes.

3. Don't buy all at once.

4. Buy damaged stocks, not damaged companies.

5. Diversify to control risk

6. Do your stock homework.

7. No one made a dime by panicking.

8. Buy best-of-breed companies.

9. Defend some stocks, not all.

10. Bad buys won't become takeovers.

11. Don't own too many names.

12. Cash is for winners.

13. No woulda, shoulda couldas.

14. Expect, don't fear corrections.

15. Don't forget bonds.

16. Never subsidize losers with winners.

17. Check hope at the door.

18. Be flexible.

19. When the chiefs retreat, so should you.

20. Giving up on value is a sin.

21. Be a TV critic.

22. Wait 30 days after preannouncements

23. Beware of Wall Street hype.

24. Explain your picks.

25. There's always a bull market.
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Format: Hardcover
A perfect complement to his popular CNBC show "Mad Money", Real Money gives Cramer fans an in-depth look at what drives his stock market sageness. Many viewers of his show may be mystified as to what Cramer looks at when analyzing a company, but this book explains it all! He describes the Cramer ideas on utilizing P/E ratios, decisions from Fed, and even tips on how to judge a company's top management. This book is extremely practical because Cramer uses his saavy from 30+ years of investing experience and the lessons learned from working as a mighty hedge fund manager.

A portion of this book deals much with investment discipline - deciding how much of a portfolio should be dedicated to speculation, how to properly diversify, etc. Another focus is about reading the market and predicting which sectors will be the performers based on the overall conditions of the market. Cramer also throws in signs to look for in individual stocks by presenting many examples of good CEOs (Commerce Bank) vs. wish-washy management (Sunbeam). Cramer gives reasons why "buy and hold" no longer works and why at least a small portion of everyone's portfolio should be devoted to short-term speculation.

Real Money is a great read for anyone with money in the market. It's written for investing professionals as well as home gamers (individual investors). The investment advice is practical and definitely this is the best investment guide I ever read.
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