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The Best of Farnam Street in 2012

Together we learned quite a bit in 2012. Here is a chance for you to catch up on something you might have missed.

These are some of the best posts, based on your enthusiasm.

1. Noise and Signal

When consuming information, we strive for more signal and less noise. Intuitively we feel like the more information we consume the more signal we receive. However, as you consume more data, and the ratio of noise to signal increases, the less you know what’s going on and the more inadvertent trouble you are likely to cause.

2. Book Recommendations from Nassim Taleb

Nuff said.

3. Learn Anything Faster With The Feynman Technique

An incredibly simple and effective way to learn new things and identify holes in your knowledge.

4. What is Deliberate Practice

Research concludes that we need deliberate practice to improve performance. Unfortunately, deliberate practice isn’t something that most of us understand, let alone engage in on a daily basis. This helps explain why we can work at something for decades without really improving our performance.

5. Thomas Bayes and Bayes’s Theorem

The big idea behind Bayes’s theorem is that we continuously update our probability estimates.

6. Neil Gaiman – One Of The Best Commencement Speeches Ever

Although Neil Gaiman never attended college, he gives one of the best commencement speeches ever. This is right up there with the Steve Jobs and David Foster Wallace commencement speeches.

7. Smart People Are Reading These Books

Bill Gates has some pretty smart friends and they were kind enough to share what they were reading this summer.

8. 5 Things Cicero Can Teach You About Winning An Election

In 64 B.C Marcus Tullius Cicero was running for the post of Roman consul. Cicero, a political outsider, was a brilliant man and gifted speaker with a burning desire to gain the highest office in the ancient republic. As the campaign approached, his brother Quintus wrote to him offering some advice on how to win the election that would make Machiavelli proud.

9. Increasing The Productivity of Computer Programmers and Engineers

If you want to make your computer programmers and engineers more effective give them “privacy, personal space, control over their physical environments, and freedom from interruption.”

10. A Primer on Strategy

Most of my friends silently snicker at the inability of organizations both public and private to grasp the fundamentals of strategy. This book should be required reading for managers and executives alike.

We have a lot more coming in 2013!