If only a truly winning formula could be discovered to guarantee we could all win in the stock market. If only!

This is wishful thinking, of course. With a "magic formula," we could all get rich. This realization prompted me to write

Winning with Stocks

, a book intended to guide readers through the difficult process of picking stocks with the simple application of a few basic, well-picked indicators.

The truth is, there are no

easy

ways for winning with stocks. But if you are willing to do a little digging and to consistently apply a very short list of sound indicators, you can beat the odds. You won't get rich overnight, but you can develop a smart system to improve over the averages. Everyone has probably heard the expression, "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." This tells the whole story in the stock market. Truthfully, it is lazy to fantasize about easy, sure ways to get rich by knowing which stocks to buy and when, not to mention properly timing the sale to maximize returns. So for those who dream about easy riches, the stock market really isn't the place to look.

All investors have their own short list of indicators worth using. If you believe in your indicators and apply them consistently, you can abandon those idle fantasies of easy riches and confront the reality: It's hard work, but it pays off. By analyzing stocks with an open mind, getting away from the tendency to go back to old favorites time and again (even when your indicators no longer point to them), and making sure you stay true to your own short list of tests, you will beat the odds.

As I wrote this book, I continually reminded myself about the distinction between the idle fantasy and the stark reality of picking stocks. It just isn't easy. Or fast. Or always profitable. In

Winning with Stocks

, I wanted to figure out the best way to beat the averages, because I know it's impossible to always beat the market.

We don't need to profit each and every time, but we do need to develop that short list. In the book, I came up with the nice round number of 10 indicators and called this "a basic list of 10 indicators every investor needs." These include two

technical

, seven

fundamental

and one combined indicator.

Most investors can probably guess about half of the list. But I discovered that it was important to first set up a premise for

why

you even need to study the market before putting money into a stock. I used real-life examples, including

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report

,

Citigroup

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,

Eastman Kodak

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( EK),

Enron

,

Exxon Mobil

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,

GM

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,

Google

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,

IBM

(IBM) - Get International Business Machines (IBM) Report

,

Wal-Mart

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and

Washington Mutual

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, among others -- some high-quality companies, as well as a few favored scapegoats in today's market.

Lastly, I was compelled to write the book because I know how difficult it is to pick stocks wisely. I've been investing and writing books about the market for more than 30 years, and I still haven't found that easy path to riches we all dream about. I realize that if a seasoned investor like myself continues to struggle with the basic buy-hold-sell decisions involved in the market, I'm sure many others share the dilemma. And without any doubt, it must be doubly challenging for the novice.

Winning with Stocks

presents a premise to develop a short list of valuable indicators. My book does not give you all of the answers for market success, but it does help you to know the best questions to ask.

TheStreet.com has a revenue-sharing relationship with Amazon.com under which it receives a portion of the revenue from Amazon.com book purchases by customers directed there from TheStreet.com.

Michael C. Thomsett writes on investing topics and has many books in print. These include his latest book, Winning with Stocks, as well as Winning with Options, Getting Started in Fundamental Analysis and Investment and Securities Dictionary. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.