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by James J. Cramer

Pub Date: May 13th, 2002
ISBN: 0-7432-2487-6
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Wall Street's most notorious bull bares all in this typically over-the-top memoir.

If Alan Greenspan was the superego of the ’90s economy, Cramer was surely its libido. This memoir hopscotches between his trademark hyperbole and a peculiar form of self-abnegation (he never seems happier than when flagellating himself). Cramer's success comes not only from his knowledge of the market, but from his connections, which he began establishing at Harvard. In 1979, while at Harvard Law School, he met Marty Peretz, the wealthy owner of the New Republic, with whom Cramer has since had a long and stormy relationship. Impressed by stock picks Cramer left on his answering machine, Peretz arranged to meet him at a Harvard coffeeshop, “whipped out a check for $500,000 and told me to take it.” For a poor law student harboring a yen to play with the big boys, the opportunity was too good to miss. Launched as a money manager, Cramer learned the ropes at Goldman Sachs before striking out on his own at Cramer and Co. The greatest asset of Cramer's company, before she retired to raise their kids, was his wife Karen Backfish, who well deserves the Cramer-bestowed nickname of “the Trading Goddess.” In particular, Backfish's composure in the face of Cramer's near collapse during the 1998 market pullback really does read like a visitation from the muse of money. Wall Street–savvy readers will particularly enjoy Cramer's blow-by-blow account of the late-’90s market. The IPO for Cramer's financial e-rag,, was one of the decade’s cultural touchstones.

Cramer's unique blend of shrewd analysis, namedropping, and unremitting egotism puts him in the great tradition of American showmen: a P.T. Barnum for the age of the day trader. A must for market mavens. (N.B.: The publication date for Confessions, originally June 12, was moved up following the admission by HarperCollins that its Trading with the Enemy, by former, now-estranged Cramer assistant Nicholas W. Maier, contained false assertions of insider trading, among other instances of potential libel. Copies of the Maier book have since been pulped and a corrected version published.)