From Dhammapada (sayings of Shakyamuni Buddha) verse 178:
Sole dominion over the earth,
going to heaven,
lordship over all worlds:
the fruit of stream-entry
Stream Entry is a wonderful goal to have, no least because you go from wandering indefinitely in samsara, being reborn over and over, countless times, to having at most 7 more lifetimes before Arahatship, possibly even fewer:
"Stream-enterers with sharp faculties take only one more birth; those with middle faculties take two to six more rebirths; those with dull faculties take seven more rebirths."
From 'Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions' By Dalai Lama, Thubten Chodron
Check out the "Avoiding the stream?"
thread. I think the prevailing opinion is that it is compatible with the bodhisattva vow as well.
Now as for how to attain it, I'd second the recommendation of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's guide. Just keep in mind that his work tends to be strictly sutta-based. What he doesn't mention is anything on the Progress of Insight stages found in the Visuddhimagga and, according to Ven. Yuttadhammo at least, even going back to Sariputta in the Patisambhidamagga
. These are very real, and are still widely experienced by practitioners today (many openly describe their experiences on the DharmaOverground
and related sites). Rob Preece even talks about going through "dark night"-type periods while doing tantra practices on retreat in Tibet (see Wisdom of Imperfection: The Challenge of Individuation in Buddhist Life).
Having spent a good deal of time on the DharmaOverground I can attest that there is lots of great advice there on how to attain Stream Entry, if you're prepared to dig through old threads.
Probably the most pleasant, and least life-disrupting, way to do it is to practice solely samatha until you can easily attain at least a "light" fourth jhana (that is, not one in which you are fully absorbed in the meditation object without any awareness of outside sensations). This is because the knowledge of insight stage from which the path moment follows, i.e. Knowledge of Equanimity Regarding Formations, corresponds to the fourth samatha jhana. Then once in the fourth jhana, begin practicing vipassana (making sure to choose a technique most suited to your mental proclivities). Eventually, you will reach a point of "non-fashioning" (which Thanissaro Bhikkhu talks about in some of his writings), and if your insight is sufficient, your mind will undergo cessation and you will have achieved Stream Entry.
On the other end of the spectrum there's the "dry" insight route, where one does little to no samatha practice, but this naturally puts more strain on the mind when the restorative power of jhana isn't there.
Unfortunately, there tends to be a wide variation in how long this takes people and the extent of practice required. There are a huge number of factors involved, and judging by some people's practice logs on the DharmaOverground, it seems they can be doing everything right, but it just doesn't happen for them. If you're getting stuck, it might be best to take a career break and go on retreat until you get it done rather than allow the Knowledges of Suffering stages to negatively impact your life for some indefinite period of time, as otherwise there is the possibility of beginning to identify as a lost spiritual seeker and losing that crucial factor of faith that it can happen for you.