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By Roberto Pedone

PEWAUKEE, Wis. (

TheStreet

) -- According to Jim Cramer, if investors want to make money in the market,

they have to break the rules

. Cramer said that market players need to forget about "buy and hold" and the notion of investing only in index funds.

Cramer thinks investors can pick their own stocks if they're willing to put in the time and effort. In fact, Cramer believes that if investors do their homework, they'll have the edge over much of Wall Street. But homework isn't easy, and it's time consuming, so Cramer advised viewers to stay interested in the markets by speculating with up to 20% of their non-IRA portfolios.

Speculating in the markets is fun, and it can pay off in a big way. In fact, Cramer's speculative stock pick of the year has turned out to be a huge winner for anyone who followed his advice. Back on June 5, Cramer named

Sallie Mae

(SLM) - Get Report

his speculative stock of the year. Since that recommendation, shares of Sallie Mae have risen 62%. Even after that huge move, Cramer still sees SLM trading much higher.

Recently, Cramer found opportunity in 12 stocks to play for an economic recovery, oil companies that benefit from being in Iraq and stocks worth buying before the end of the year. Here are some Cramer highlights from over the past week as aggregated from his "Mad Money" TV show, the "Stop Trading!" segment on

CNBC

and his

RealMoney

blog posts (these blog posts might require a

RealMoney

subscription).

Cramer's 12 Stocks to Play the Recovery

: Recently, Cramer dropped by the "Fast Money" crew and revealed some of his top economic recovery stock picks. On

Wednesday's "Fast Money" episode,

he told viewers that

Caterpillar's

(CAT) - Get Report

valuation makes sense and he doesn't see the stock dropping 10% in the future. The

Cramer's 12 Stocks to Play the Recovery

portfolio includes

BHP Billiton

(BHP) - Get Report

and

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

.

Cramer's Great Stocks at Better Prices

: Cramer has noticed that some great stocks are trading as if they're commoditized. In an

Oct. 22 blog post

, he wrote: "All of these stocks would be shoo-ins to go higher, but they are part of the commodity gravitational pull. Of course, I think that the best way to deal with this phenomenon, as we have learned, is to let the futures get you into great stocks at better prices." The

Cramer's Great Stocks at Better Prices

portfolio includes

Travelers

(TRV) - Get Report

and

J. Crew

(JCG)

.

Cramer's Easy Oil Iraq Trades

: Cramer sees opportunity in playing a number of oil stocks that will benefit from friendly relations with the Iraq government. On

Monday's "Stop Trading!" segment

, he told viewers that

BP

(BP) - Get Report

will be a huge winner for investing in Iraq ahead of the competition. The

Cramer's Easy Oil Iraq Trades

portfolio includes

National Oilwell Varco

(NOV) - Get Report

and

Exxon

(XOM) - Get Report

.

Cramer's Buying Opportunities Galore

: Cramer is finding plenty of stocks worth buying with only 53 days left until the end of the year. In an

Oct. 16 blog post

, he wrote: "These managers are itching to put money to work, and they fear that when October, a seasonably week month, is over, that will leave two months that have produced terrific rallies: November and December." The

Cramer's Buying Opportunities Galore

portfolio includes

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

and

SanDisk

(SNDK)

.

Cramer's Positive Sign Stocks

: Cramer sees lots of positives in the market for those who care to look. In an

Oct. 19 blog post

, he wrote: "The reaction to a simple upgrade of

Joy Global

(JOYG)

by RBS shows you the intensity of the animal spirits." The

Cramer's Positive Sign Stocks

portfolio includes

Potash

(POT)

and

Freeport-McMoRan

(FCX) - Get Report

.

Cramer's Oil Gravitational Pull Stocks

: Cramer believes a number of stocks will trade higher if oil goes to $85. In an

Oct. 21 blog post

, he wrote: "We are in a totally ridiculous market and I think that you really can get some amazing turns in plain old S&P names, as we saw today, when oil moves." The

Cramer's Oil Gravitational Pull Stocks

portfolio includes

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

and

Vale

(VALE) - Get Report

.

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Pewaukee, Wis.

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(Editor's note: At the time of publication, Cramer owned Vale, JPMorgan and BP for his Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust.)

Roberto Pedone, based out of Pewaukee, Wis., is an independent trader who focuses on stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. He is also an outside contributor to Beconequity.com and maintains the website Maddmoney.net, which he sold to Blue Wave Advisors in 2008. Roberto studied International Business at The Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany.