Do Your Due Diligence!
I've noticed myself commenting on several blogs lately, saying things like "do your due diligence, or you deserve to lose money." It has come to my attention that some fools do not do their own analysis, but follow the picks of top fools in their real life portfolios. This is a very dangerous habit, and is one that should never be followed. If you can't give me a quick 5 minute pitch for a certain stock on the spot, you probably shouldn't own that stock. You should be able to tell me exactly why you bought that stock.
I often tell people to gain a strong base of knowledge. The easiest place to find that the fastest is not blogs and articles, but books! I recommend the following books, all of which I've read:
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham
Contrarian Investment Strategies: The Next Generation by David Dreman
What Works on Wall Street by James O'shaughnessy
Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Philip Fisher
One Up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch
The 5 Rules for Successful Stock Picking by Pat Dorsey
The Rediscovered Benjamin Graham: Selected Writings of the Wall Street Legend by Janet Lowe
The list goes on and on. You should also add books on bonds and options. Financial statement analysis is covered somewhat in Security Analysis. Basically, I think Warren Buffett's advice to "read everything in sight" is excellent advice. There are many more good books out there, but the above list is a good start.
My reading list has books on mostly fundamental analysis. I do not agree with technical analysis, but I do believe that it's definitely possible to make lots of money using technical analysis. Anyway, whatever method you choose to follow, you should know your stuff. As I said earlier, you should be able to give a long and clear-cut explanation on exactly why you buy something. If you can't, you haven't done your due diligence!
Once you have your base of knowledge, you can then read the numerous blogs and articles that can be found on the Internet, and boy there are plenty. You'll find, though, that some so-called "experts" actually have no idea what they're talking about! With your new base of knowledge, you now have a BS detector and you know what's sound advice and what isn't. I'd personally avoid personal finance articles for investing advice, because they only recommend index funds and blue chips. Those aren't necessarily bad investment vehicles, but I'd guess that many of you come to CAPS to learn how to BEAT the market, not to own the market.
I think the fastest way to find good investment ideas is to use a good stock screen to narrow down to a manageable list, and then to check the fundamentals. Check annual reports and quarterly filings, check 10 year financial statements, go to their website, read the pitches on CAPS, and really get to know your company.
The fastest way to start this process is to get that strong foundation. Read every book in sight, and know how to discern for yourself whether another blogger or some expert is talking legit stuff or spewing garbage at you. Books will bring you up to speed much faster than articles/blogs, so I highly recommend starting there.