on choosing a path between noise and stories

2 min read

So… I was reading this book called Noise, by Daniel Kahneman, Oliver Simone, and Cass R. Sunstein. Basically, they explored the chaotic and costly role of randomness and unwanted variability in our judgments or in everything we do, actually. And they tell us how to reduce that noise by changing our mindset and adopting principles of prevention.

But I found a particular idea in that book to be the most relevant and interesting for us here in the books-and-writing world, or even the content-creation world: we ignore noise because it doesn’t make a good story.

If we allow a reverse thought here, when our writing lacks a good story, this might lead to noisy and random content instead of something that our readers will mindfully consume and perceive.

Well, on the other hand, even if we ignore the noises and randomness that appear in front of us, they still have an impact in our minds. They affect our judgments. And we only perceive that afterwards when we attribute a certain hindsight story to them and become aware of how it affected our thoughts. IF we ever notice that.

And I know what you’re thinking now, and so did the authors. They compared noise to bias, and established that they are different. Bias has a story behind it. A good one. With bias, you’re aware of the reason why you’re making a bad judgement, you just don’t know it’s a bad one. With noise, you make a bad judgement without knowing why, and then you turn into a story and a bias to find reason.

Okay, now, I think there’s two clear options here for writers and readers.

As a writer, you can either choose to make noise and influence people without their knowing it and then wait until your words turn into a bias and you may lose your readers for that, or you can tell a good story and make it stick, even though that’s the way people can create bias too. Well, I personally prefer being honest and choose to tell stories without noise or bias. If that’s ever possible.

Which leads to…

As a reader, you must be aware of noises and biases. Because it will be too late when you realize your judgment was affected by noise, and I think it will also be too late when you realize you’ve made a bad judgement and try to find a reason by inventing some story that the biase was actually just noise…

Let’s discuss this whole mess… what do you think? Use the comment box below as you please, this place is also yours.

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