首先要明白這本書的寫作背景。這本書是 Jesse Livermore 在晚期投機失敗後潦倒之作，寫作動機不明，可能是想藉賣書籌錢東山再起（？）不論如何，這書總結了他自己一生以來投機的成功和失敗經驗得來的心法，當中絕大部份大原則都適用至今，十分值得學習。
很多人認為 Jesse Livermore 最後投機失敗，並且因精神問題而自殺，那他的投機方法就一無可取，其實錯過了一塊重要的寶藏。任何曾經顯赫一時的名將，總有可取之處。更何況 Jesse Livermore 這個沒有受過什麼高深教育的奇才，有一些 Schizoid Personality，最後演變成為病態的精神和婚姻問題，以致他無法全心理性地投機，導致失敗也可以理解。
首先，Jesse Livermore 他自己的說話也總結了投機的主要核心思想：
Wall Street never changed, the pockets change, the stocks change, but Wall Street never changes, because human nature never changes.
All through time, people have basically acted and re-acted the same way in the market as a result of: greed, fear, ignorance, and hope -- that is why the numerical formations and patterns recur on a constant basis.
他主張投機要有嚴肅的態度：Anyone who is inclined to speculate should look at speculation as a "business" and treat it as such and not regard it as a pure gamble as so many people are apt to do.
1. Timing is everything. You can beat a horse race, but you can't beat the races. 嚴選時機十分重要：Experience has proved to me that the real money made in speculating has been: "IN COMMITMENTS IN A STOCK OR COMMODITY SHOWING A PROFIT FROM THE START"
2. Markets are never wrong --- opinions often are. If you believe it likely to have a definite bullish or bearish effect marketwise, don't back your judgement "UNTIL THE ACTION OF THE MARKET ITSELF CONFIRMS YOUR OPINION".
3. Emotion control --- It is a human trait to be "HOPEFUL" and equally so to be "FEARFUL", but when you inject hope and fear into the business of speculation, you are faced with a very formidable hazard, because you are apt to get the two confused and in reverse positions.
4. Money Management --- Profits always take care of themselves but losses never do --
5. Pivotal points --- I become a buyer as soon as a stock makes a "new high on its movement, after having had a normal reaction". Major pivotal points can often be accompanied by a heavy increase in "VOLUME".
6. Trend following -- Susscessful traders always follow the line of the least resistance. The trend is your friend.
7. Watch the market leaders, the stocks that have led the charge upward in a bull market. Trade the leading stocks in the leading groups. Behind these major movements is an resistable force.
8. Observe sister stocks --- Understanding industry group action is essential to successful trading. The most intelligent way to get one's mind attuned to market conditions and to be successful is to make a deep study of Industry Groups in order to distinguish the good groups from the bad: get along of those which are in promising position and get out of those Industry Groups which are not.