Jim Cramer remembers Byron Wien: ‘He was an optimist, always on the lookout for new ideas'

Olivia Michael | CNBC
  • CNBC's Jim Cramer on Friday looked back at his memories of longtime friend and mentor Byron Wien, a prominent figure on Wall Street.
  • Known for his annual and widely read "Ten Surprises" list, Wien died this week at the age of 90.

CNBC's Jim Cramer on Friday remembered Byron Wien, a famed investor known for his annual "Ten Surprises" list that was considered an essential read by many on Wall Street. Wien died this week at age 90 after a long career at prominent companies including Blackstone and Morgan Stanley.

"Byron never ever said that the whole market was too perilous, he never scared you," Cramer said. "He was an optimist, always on the lookout for new ideas and the young people who believed in them."

Cramer said he always pored over Wien's "Ten Surprises" list, which was published for 38 consecutive years. To Cramer, some of Wien's ideas may have been "outlandish," but he said they always made him think.

Wien acted as a mentor to Cramer when the latter was a young hedge fund manager, and that mentorship turned into a long-lasting friendship, even when Cramer left the business. In the late 1980s at a dinner of managers hosted by Wien, Cramer recalled pitching a story about personal computers becoming as powerful as mainframes, thanks to new chips made by Intel. At the time, many felt Cramer's theory was "pure hyperbole," but Wien told him it was the best idea he'd heard in years.

"Somehow, when I first got started in this business, I foolishly believed there had to be a ton of Byron Wiens out there, lots of brilliant people who believed in the craft of stock picking and idea generation," he said. "But there weren't."

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