First, Jim Cramer’s book persona is far more level headed than he appears on TV. Say what you will about the mad man on CNBC, but the author has an intelligent story to tell. He does not recommend individual stock picking for one’s investment portfolio’s bulk. He starts by suggesting that one have the rest of their finances in order and start with individual stocks only after they are on the path to a properly funded retirement, IRA, 401(k), etc. And then, with the $10,000 minimum “extra money” diversify so that five chosen stocks are in different sectors.
He also advises that one needs an hour’s worth of homework per week for each stock one owns. That seems like a conservative, not cowboy, approach. It also limits how many stocks someone with a day job should own.
The book also contains a stock worksheet which contains question one should answer before choosing a stock. It’s listed here, along with his 25 rules of investing.
If you put aside your notion of the TV pitchman (and he’s self deprecating about that persona in the book) he comes off as level headed, rational, and worth the few hours it takes to get through the book. The real question is this – have I learned something from this book I will use? Maybe. My stock picks are minimal, I’m mostly in index funds and ETFs depending on the account. My last individual stock pick was MO (Philip Morris before the name change) and the misses vetoed the purchase.
If you are at the point in your investing life where individual stocks are planned for your portfolio (and there are many sucessful investors who have never owned an individual stock) then this book is certainly worth the three or so hours of your time it will take to read.