It seems like every aspect of the American experience has a guru, or at least a spokesperson who represents an essence of celebrity as much as they do expertise in their field. Homemaking has Martha Stewart, politics has Rush Limbaugh, and the investment world, while there are many competing for the crown in this realm, has an undisputed celebrity king.
His name is Jim Cramer.
Cramer hosts a television show about the stock market.
Hearing that, and having never seen it, one might envision something along the lines of the morning CNBC market broadcasts, or maybe a news program.
Not so with Cramer. This is talk television on steroids, a rare presentation of energy, wit and downright insanity focusing on a world more associated with three martini lunches and expensive neckties. Not to mention SEC investigations and obscene bonuses for executives of companies busy losing tens of millions of dollars per quarter at stockholder expense.
Cramer’s program, though, isn’t investigative reporting about the current abuses of power or government bailouts. No, this is about buying and selling stocks, about which stocks are about to get hot, or not, and why. Cramer makes recommendations and then backs them with research and rationale, a seductive elixir for viewers looking for any edge they can get in a market that seems edgeless.
And he isn’t shy about speaking his mind.
Cramer is a former journalist and then hedge fund manager and, largely because of his program, a bestselling author. And, he has a law degree from Harvard, though while a member of the New York bar in the past, he hasn’t practiced in that field.
But it is his presentation style – part used car salesman, part stand up comic on an adrenalin rush – that sets him apart from his more Limbaugh-like peers.
Cramer’s current program, called Mad Money (not to be confused with a TV drama with a similar name) debuted on CNN in 2005, after a decade of guest shots and stints on other market-facing programs. He has been profiled on all the major talk shows and television magazines, and his persona has migrated to other media and topics in the form of guest-personality and occasional judge.
As for his specific stock recommendations, you need to tune in for those. They change from week to week, just as the market he covers shifts at a sniff of news or a tumbling number.
If it’s in the news Cramer will talk about it, with a perspective that is as entertaining as it is informed.