Jim Cramer's Auto-Biography
James J. "Jim" Cramer (born February 10, 1955)is an American television personality, former hedge fund manager, and best-selling author. Cramer is the host of CNBC's Mad Money, and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He is also a regular contributor to New York magazine, and an occasional contributor to Time magazine.
Cramer was born to a Jewish family in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. One of his first jobs was selling ice cream at Veterans Stadium during Philadelphia Phillies games. Cramer went to Springfield Township High School in Montgomery County.
Cramer graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1977 where he was also president of the Harvard Crimson. At this point in his life, Cramer was a staunch leftist, naming his plan to revitalize the Crimson after Lenin's "What Is To Be Done?". Today, an iconic painting of the Bolshevik leader can be seen in the background of the set of his show, "Mad Money." In 1983, while bed-ridden with the mumps for over 3 months, he took an even greater interest in the stock market, as all he could do was read the papers.
After college, following a two-month tenure as the key operator at Congressional Quarterly, he worked as a journalist at the Tallahassee Democrat in Tallahassee, Florida. Living almost next door to the Chi Omega sorority house and Florida State University, he was one of the first on the scene after serial killer Ted Bundy attacked four women, killing two of them in 1978. After Tallahassee, he worked at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner as a spot news reporter, covering "basically anyone who died violently in California." While he was covering a shooting in San Diego for the Examiner, a burglar cleaned out both his Los Angeles bungalow and his checking account. For the next nine months, he lived mostly out of his car, with a pistol and hatchet for protection.
Following this experience, Cramer moved in with his sister in Greenwich Village. His sister was studying to be a lawyer and encouraged Cramer to become a prosecutor. Cramer was one of the earliest reporters at American Lawyer magazine, where he worked for founder Steven Brill. Cramer later earned a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School.
During his years at Harvard, Cramer worked as a research assistant with Alan Dershowitz.
After graduating in 1984, Cramer's plans to become a prosecutor were dashed when he was denied employment with the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, headed at the time by Rudy Giuliani, because his law school grades were deemed not good enough.
Cramer was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1985 and his current status with the NY Bar is "delinquent".
Cramer obtained employment in 1984 as a stock broker in Goldman Sachs' Sales & Trading department. Cramer's success in this position led him to fund his own hedge fund, Cramer & Co. (later Cramer, Berkowitz, & Co.) in 1987. The fund operated out of the offices of hedge fund pioneer Michael Steinhardt's Steinhardt, Fine, Berkowitz & Co., and early investors included Eliot Spitzer (a Harvard classmate and one of his oldest friends) , Steven Brill, and Martin Peretz.
A year later, Cramer married Karen Backfisch-Olufsen, who was a trader with Steinhardt's firm. More recently, Cramer has been a contributor to New York magazine since 2000. He is also an occasional contributor to Time magazine. Cramer retired from his hedge fund in 2001. It was taken over by his former partner Jeff Berkowitz.
In 1996 Cramer co-founded TheStreet.com with The New Republic editor Martin Peretz, one of his hedge fund's original clients. Cramer later had a falling out with Peretz over business matters. Cramer is currently a market commentator and adviser to the TheStreet.com, as well as its largest shareholder. Cramer also manages a charitable trust stock portfolio which is tied to TheStreet.com through a subscription service called the Action Alerts PLUS Portfolio. Cramer currently works on a new project, MainStreet.com, in an effort to bring stock savvyness to Main Street. An earlier similar project, TheRoad.com, did not yield the success Cramer had anticipated.
Cramer now has his own television show on CNBC, Mad Money with Jim Cramer, which features his opinions on stocks queried by callers. Mad Money is also well known for over-the-top antics such as Cramer throwing chairs, throwing his latest book whenever a caller mentions it, humorous sound effects, and for the catch-phrase "Booyah". Cramer frequently takes the show on the road to various U.S. colleges.
After being a frequent guest commentator on CNBC in the late 1990s, Cramer co-hosted CNBC shows America Now and Kudlow & Cramer with Lawrence Kudlow in the early 2000s. Kudlow and Cramer split when Kudlow called Cramer 'sweet potato bull macho' on the air on October 17, 2002.
Cramer hosted a one-hour radio show, "Jim Cramer's Real Money," until December 2006. The show was similar to his Mad Money TV show. He also guest hosted in the slot caused by the cancellation of Imus in the Morning (MSNBC and WFAN/Westwood One) in May 2007.
Web Site: Jim Cramer