I believe that with a lot of time and effort, an individual can indeed beat the market. Unfortunately, it's not a "get rich quickly" endeavor. To succeed, one must know one's limitations as well as one's advantages. Lower commission costs, more information that is disseminated more broadly and more rapidly, and the democratization of analytical tools have made it easier for investors to have a shot at winning (delivering alpha), but these same tools have also made it easier for individuals to overtrade and to succumb to their own cognitive errors. Here, I mean professionals too.
I don't have the secret for how everybody can beat the market, because that, by definition, is impossible. I do have several suggestions for those who are willing to invest the significant time that I think it takes to excel at stock-picking. While larger institutions may have some advantages over plain old folks that go beyond just time, individuals have major advantages of their own: They won't move the market executing their trades, they aren't subject to institutional short-term pressures to perform (which can lead to selling at inopportune times), and they don't have to constantly fight "group-think".
So, while this list isn't exhaustive, here are five of the tips I would offer to someone who wants to excel at stock-picking:
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