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Why I Do What I Do

That's where I believe I am right now. Do people get excited and whipped up at these things, like the live audience last night? Yes. But what you don't see is what happens after the show. I spend time with every single person who attends, plenty of time, signing books, getting pictures taken and, most important, asking people what they like about the show.

In almost every case, the answer is the same: "You have helped me make money," or, "You have helped me take control of my money and make it grow."

Now, is it possible that these people are lying? I don't believe that you would come all the way out to the middle of nowhere -- which is where the studio is, in Englewood, N.J. -- if I lost you money. Is the audience self-selective, in that only the people who made money come? Sure, but then again, the truth is that you could fill the audience 10 times over every night for one of these gigs.

And is it true that we have had a great market? Aha, I've got you. We haven't. We have had, until 2006, nothing but fairly crummy markets from the time that I started on radio in 2001 to now. We have had only limited ways to make money, and we have had nothing but abstruse, hard-to-locate bull markets.

Again, I have made plenty of mistakes, but I admit them when I make them, which people like because they, too, make mistakes. Again, I get carried away at times, but I don't hide that, either.

The bottom line is that something is working, something people feel good about more than they do for others who are trying to do to programming. So, if you don't mind, I am just going to keep doing it and hope that I don't become Joe Granville, in that I stop making people money, or Dan Dorfman, who became so pressed for stories that I believe he had to compromise his own standards.

In the meantime, I love the repartee and discussion about the phenomenon that is "Mad Money." But I know that it is all very fragile at all times, and that if I stop picking good stocks and start picking bad ones, I will be consigned rather quickly to the dustbin even if I educate and entertain.

James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for ActionAlertsPLUS. Listen to Cramer's RealMoney Radio show on your computer; just click here. Watch Cramer on "Mad Money" at 6 p.m. ET weeknights on CNBC. Click here to order Cramer's latest book, "Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World," click here to get his second book, "You Got Screwed!" and click here to order Cramer's autobiography, "Confessions of a Street Addict." While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column by clicking here.
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