Remember my words: we've learned our valuable lessons. We are now ready to triumph over the daily trauma of markets that we no longer fear. We have each other's backs. But we know that there is no such thing as overnight wealth. That's for fools who will never obtain it. We're busy taking our time, avoiding the pitfalls, trying to see around the curves and tiptoe past the endless land mines as we attempt, carefully, to get very rich and not give it back when we get there. -- Jim Cramer, Jim Cramer's Get Rich CarefullyLet me start off by saying I am a biased observer of the Cramer phenomenon. Frankly, I have a "man crush" on the guy. I have written extensively about Jimmy in my diary on Real Money Pro. And at the end of every year, I write a heartfelt tribute to him entitled " Jim Cramer's Pool." Jim is a whirlwind, a true force of nature. He embodies not only the strongest work ethic extant (something Omega Advisors' Lee Cooperman taught me is at the epicenter of investment success) but in my decades in the investment business I know of no other person that possesses the breadth of knowledge about individual stocks. He is a reservoir of information. I might not always be in agreement with Jim's investment ideas -- I am, after all, the Anti-Cramer -- but, much to my chagrin, in the majority of our disagreements Jim turns out to be correct. That is why Jim has evolved into such an important part of my investment process since I first started writing for TheStreet and Real Money Pro in 1997. And that is why Jim Cramer's Get Rich Carefully (which follows his previous books, You Got Screwed: Why Wall Street Tanked and How You Can Prosper; Confessions of a Street Addict; Jim Cramer's Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World; Jim Cramer's Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich; Jim Cramer's Stay Mad for Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer); and Jim Cramer's Getting Back to Even: Your Personal Economic Recovery Plan) is a must-read. Get Rich Carefully is less of a chronicle of Jim's experiences enumerated in his prior books -- it is more of a checklist and road map to an intelligent and disciplined investment process. As a manager of a very successful hedge fund and through his other professional experiences, Jim has done a lot of heavy lifting, and those experiences provide the framework contained within the book's 10 chapters. In its essence, Jim's book provides practical investment lessons and insights that can and should be adopted by most individual investors as guideposts for improving one's investment returns. The two chapters I enjoyed the most were "Seven Major Themes Built to Last" and "What Matters? What Doesn't? What We Should Care About." The former chapter is an enduring outline of dynamic opportunities. The latter chapter is succinct and instructs us to navigate the noise that exists in the selection of superior investments.
- the bum tip he gave to the bartender in one of his favorite watering holes in Summit, New Jersey, when he learned a lesson the hard way about why it is important to buy best-of-breed; or
- the story about the Moan bag (a bag his dad produced) that Jim carried his lunch in every day as a kid and the lesson he learned regarding how retailers can live by the skin of their teeth and virtually die overnight.
This column originally appeared on Real Money Pro at 10:15 a.m. EST on Feb. 3.