From the readers wonder department.
writes, "It would be interesting to hear what all the permanent Post-it notes on your monitor that you occasionally refer to say." (The other day I
referred to my accounting irregularity Post-it.)
So here goes, from left to right: "Discipline is more important than conviction." My wife put this one up 12 years ago to remind me not to get carried away because I tend to love stocks to death. She wanted to remind me that cutting your losses is the key to success. She's right. I refer to this one every day.
Next is, "It's good to be good, but it's better to be lucky." Talk about something you have to remind yourself of everyday, lest you think that you are the reason why you are making money. Luck plays a huge role.
I was lucky enough to start buying stocks right before the great bull market began. I was lucky enough to be in cash for the 1987 crash. I was lucky enough to be fully margined the day the Gulf War began. I was lucky enough to be long only oil stocks when Iraq invaded Kuwait. Sure, some of these things were derived from a skill set, but luck is the secret behind the successes of most people, myself included.
Then, "Tenacity, rigor, honesty, loyalty." These are the four values that work for me in this shop. You have to have all four to make it work. Forget any one of them and you will stumble. If you remember those four, you will do just fine.
And finally, "Accounting Irregularities = Sell." Sure, you will miss some moves because of this. Sure, you will miss some company that was tarred unfairly. But it has
happened to me.
Oh yeah, then there is an old Gaelic blessing Pat Shevlin, one of my oldest colleagues and friends, tacked on: "May those who love us, love us. And those that don't love us, may God turn their hearts. And if he doesn't turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles so we'll know them by their limping."
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may 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 at