Editor's note: This is a special sneak preview of Jim Cramer's just-released book,

Jim Cramer's Stay Mad for Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer)

. Look for more sneak previews every day, and get your free copy with your annual subscription to Action Alerts PLUS; click here for details. Catch Cramer in person at his last book signing event: Saturday, Jan. 12, at 1 p.m. in Westbury, Long Island's Costco. Missed the first sneak previews? Read the book intro and the rules of getting and staying rich: Rule 1, Rule 2, Rule 3, Rule 4 and Rule 5. Know what pros do right and amateurs do wrong: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5. Learn the five mini-bull markets that will stampede for years, starting with aerospace and defense, agriculture, oil and oil service, minerals and mining and infrastructure.

Minerals and Mining

For years, the minerals and mining group of stocks was perhaps the worst group of stocks to own. They were never "investable" because they frequently needed financing; they were poorly run; and any time the U.S. economy sneezed, this group got pneumonia. I can't tell you how much money I lost at one time or another on Amax, Asarco, and

Phelps Dodge

(PD) - Get Report

, to name some terrible stocks of yesteryear. These were serial cutters and omitters of dividends that would then catch a few years of warmth and institute new dividends and buybacks, only to suspend them again the moment the U.S. economy slipped into neutral.

Those days are over, totally over. We always hear about the pull of China, how China is going to reshape the world and become a global power -- with India not far behind it -- and investors -- pros and amateurs alike -- just can't stop looking for ways to play these markets. Stop looking: minerals and mining are the way to play them.

Let me give you one quick anecdote about how this group has ceased to be levered to the U.S. economy and a

Federal Reserve Bank

that cares far too much about inflation and not enough about growth. Ten years ago, the United States used 30 percent of the world's copper and China used 10 percent. Now China uses 30 percent of the world's copper and the United States uses 10 percent.

And that is not because we've ceased to grow. As in the

ag,

oil service, and

aerospace bull markets, there was so much starvation for so long that many players merged or were driven out of business. That left just a few power-houses, all of which are totally investable.

Cramer: Pay for Your Kids' College -- All of It

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Countries like to have a one-stop mineral shop, like a supermarket, to produce their goods. That's why, when I think of minerals and mining, I think of

CVRD

(RIO) - Get Report

, the Brazilian powerhouse linked to low-cost nickel;

Freeport-McMoRan

(FCX) - Get Report

, a U.S. gold and copper producer; and

BHP

(BHP) - Get Report

and

Rio Tinto

(RTP)

, which mine and smelt just about everything.

A portfolio without a mineral or mining company will miss the greatest secular trend of our lifetime, the growth of what we used to consider Third World or less-developed countries into countries that can compete globally or eventually exceed us in the production of goods and services.

Editor's note: This is a special sneak preview of Jim Cramer's just-released book,

Jim Cramer's Stay Mad for Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer)

. Look for more sneak previews every day, and get your free copy with your annual subscription to Action Alerts PLUS; click here for details. Catch Cramer in person at his last book signing event: Saturday, Jan. 12, at 1 p.m. in Westbury, Long Island's Costco. Missed the first sneak previews? Read the book intro and the rules of getting and staying rich: Rule 1, Rule 2, Rule 3, Rule 4 and Rule 5. Know what pros do right and amateurs do wrong: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5. Learn the five mini-bull markets that will stampede for years, starting with aerospace and defense, agriculture and oil and oil service.

From Jim Cramer's Stay Mad for Life by James J. Cramer and Cliff Mason. Copyright

2007 by Jim Cramer. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

At the time of publication, Cramer was long Freeport-McMoRan.

Jim 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

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