When we started

TheStreet.com

in 1996, I immediately attempted to cover the stock issues that so many of you are interested in. My late mother always told me that the ultimate sin was to bore people, so I have always been loath to reprise the same material, no matter how great the story.

But there's a problem. We had no readers when we started. Oh yeah, my partner,

Jeff Berkowitz

, read me, and

Dave Kansas

, our editor-in-chief, read me. A couple of other people may have looked us up, but our technology was so poor they were probably stymied. Even as recently as early last year our readership was much smaller, so you may have missed some good stuff.

Now that our search engine allows us to look up virtually everything I have ever written, I have gone back over the first couple of years' stuff to see which pieces stand out as being meaningful and responsive to many of your emails. I have broken them down by topics I think are representative and I want to share them with you now.

Most of my pieces involved descriptions of how I do what I do. People always want to know what my day-to-day life is like. Periodically, I have written articles meant specifically to show you my day. The most memorable was a trading diary I put together in April 1998 (

4/13/98), which depicts pretty vividly how I do things. What do I read? I answered the newsletter question on

3/4/97 and the book question on

7/3/97 and

2/10/97.

How do hedge funds get their ideas and their hunches? Try

8/8/97 for answers. What clues do I use? For a sophisticated analysis of day-to-day trading, punch up

12/3/97. How do I use newspapers? Go to

5/4/98. Occasionally, I opine on technicals and how I use them, and on

2/4/97 I stated the virtuous case for using them. My strength in my hedge fund career has been to spot cycles, and I described how that works on

6/27/97.

Sometimes I am away from my desk, looking at companies, and I have to do my job on the road. Here's how I find it possible:

9/15/97.

There are other, very simple concepts that I have tried to refresh in a series of primers. How bonds and stocks interrelate is a pretty constant theme (

8/20/97). How do price-to-earnings multiples work? Best explained on

9/12/97. The concept of oversold? Look at

1/13/98. Technical analysis a little mystifying? Why not explore

12/30/97. Program trading confuse you? Try (

1/29/97). Stymied by short interest figures? You should be. Here's why:

8/31/97. Want some tools? Go to (

11/24/97).

Many of you want to know how to crack into the business full time or how the business works. You have come to the right place. I did a series beginning

7/14/97 about how to get into the biz, replete with my personal history. Then I revisited the topic on

11/5/97. I followed it up with an article about how to cold call (

8/26/97) and then reprised it with pieces on

3/12/98 and

3/15/98. People liked the topic, so I revisited it again on

7/6/98. (You will be sick of cold-calling after punching in all of those pieces.) How do you impress at a job interview? Try stocks (

9/12/97). I never set this darn thing up to be a hedge fund primer, but I relented twice, to talk about what a hedge fund is (

11/11/97) and how to start one (

11/8/97).

Want to know how to talk like a trader? Two pieces, jargon for beginners (

12/3/97) and talking like a trader (

11/16/97), might help out. And how about trading execution, how much does it matter? Look up

6/26/98. How to be a great client? Hit up

12/2/97. How to treat clients? Look at

12/7/97.

Sometimes people want to see how a veteran trader thinks and does things. I have written dozens of pieces about this topic, but some stood out more than others. My blow-by-blow of a great

Warner-Lambert

(WLA)

trade on

2/5/97 always rang true for me. My philosophy of never letting a trade become an investment is pure bedrock for

Cramer Berkowitz

:

11/3/97.

Similarly, the taboo of turning gains into losses was explored on

1/14/98. And cutting losses, the single biggest reason for success, was addressed on

1/31/98.

How do you spot a top? I did two of these, one heartfelt, the other fanciful,

8/3/98 and

2/20/97. The latter is a hilarious story about my

Diana

top calling. When do you sell? Take a look at

10/6/97.

Some pieces are just about how not to be suckered into a bad trade by something you read in the papers, such as

6/4/97 on new products and

9/24/97 on the folly of scientific discovery investing.

For the pure rules of trading to avoid losses, try my two-part trading school session from

9/13/97 and

9/14/97. Of course, I am obsessed with finding and calling bottoms, so may I suggest the following series, including

4/7/97 on finding a bottom,

5/6/97 on too negative at the bottom and

3/11/97 on the mystery of bottoms. Sometimes margin clerks cause bottoms. To see how that is done, check out

4/3/97. My wife was the true pro at spotting these, so you might want to look at how she did it

(4/02/97). And then there is the bottom that I caused, check out my four-parter

(11/30/98) about the Oct. 8 bottom from last year.

Oh yeah, another thing to keep in mind when trading, a piece that people at

SmartMoney

seemed to love so much that I reprised it on our site: the August lock-in phenomenon (

8/1/97).

Confused about trading rotations? Take a look at

5/23/98.

It seems nobody can get enough about options. My philosophy about options can be found in the options school at

8/22/97 as well as

8/29/97 and again at

2/13/98. I offered an options primer on

1/24/98. The perils of options,

1/22/98, and the perils of index options,

8/22/97, should be required reading before you start trading those, as well as my own prejudice against selling naked puts (

8/20/98). Want to know how to use puts? Try

11/22/97. Or how to use options like they are common stock?

2/15/98. Not all options trades work out, as

1/22/98 shows.

The effects that options have on regular stocks is a pretty constant theme of mine. For some of the best of these relationships between derivatives and the underlying common stocks, try these, including

5/12/97 on how options can cause a ramp in the market during expiration week, how they can lead to stocks being pinned at the strike (

6/19/97) and how they can cause a hangover the Monday after expiration (

5/20/97 and

7/20/98). Of course if you just want the conventional options as insurance, hit up

6/27/98.

You know from my column title that I have a thing about being right and not being Wrong! Why? Because that's how money can be made, from learning why and how you or others went wrong. So I catalog dozens of my mistakes each year. The best ones include: blowing up on speculative stocks (

11/22/96 and

7/29/97), a top-10 clip-and-save catalog of wrongs (

12/23/97) and the hazards of takeunder investing

(4/10/97). You want to read a real horror story, try this one out about a bad

Philip Morris

(MO) - Get Report

trade and the scolding I got from my wife:

3/26/97. Or the time I got crushed by an

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

preannouncement:

6/2/97.

Sure I like to say when others are wrong. Check out my

Barron's

Roundtable parody from

1/20/97, and my pundits who are always wrong, which, despite its

1/22/97 publication date, is still very right! And a reprise about early vs. wrong is worth taking a peek at:

1/19/98. Morally and ethically, who is right and wrong? Look at

1/7/97 and, of course, who is worth respecting in the market:

2/25/97.

Why can't analysts get it right? Look at

12/19/97. And, finally, why do I call my column Wrong?

12/18/97.

Everybody wants to know about shorting, so I have addressed that periodically, including a dismal look at the practice:

1/28/97, a fabulous, hilarious short-side gaffing of me by my wife (

3/28/97), some rules for shorting

(5/1/97) and a primer for short-sellers (

11/19/97) and again at

2/5/98. Want to see what happens when a short goes bad? Look no further than

3/19/98 and

3/6/97 for the pain of shorting.

I know none of us has time for philosophy, but if you care about my views on trading and investing and what I am trying to accomplish and abet with my column, try this piece on individual investing (

4/4/97), this one on lay-ups (

6/23/97), this one on what I am not (

7/07/97) and this one on the greatness of a trade (

9/11/97). Want to know what I truly believe in about trading? Go to

1/28/98 for some unconventional wisdom.

No compendium can be complete without war stories, and I have them in spades. My favorite is a

Compaq

(CPQ)

firefight from

10/30/97, replete with war metaphor, and two on the crash of '87 and its aftermath:

10/8/97 and

10/7/97. Can't have a war story discussion without the maiden in the volcano (

4/9/98) and a description of why the Trading Goddess is indeed the Trading Goddess (

11/28/97).

Finally, a little vanity. Why not end with my favorite piece, which expresses what I am really about, off the desk:

1/1/98.

Enjoy.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At the time of publication, the fund was long Intel calls, although positions can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column by sending an email to

jjcletters@thestreet.com.