SO he bought into a dying business like railroads. It's kind of like investing into Garmin today. Company that has nothign to offer for upside. If your smart and invest in solid companies with a variety of revenue sources you will see profits from long term investments.
So yes you need to do your homework and not be lazy.
Livermore fascinates me, even though he is largely forgotten today. There is no better book on the real operations of the stock market than "Reminiscences of a Stock Market Operator"by Edwin LeFebre. I re-read it at least every two years or so and I always learn something new. Yes, he did commit suicide, but that in no way diminishes the lessons in the book; actually, it makes them more poignant.