Unveiling the Truth: The Rich, Noise, and Making Better Judgments

Feranmi Olaseinde

Hatched by Feranmi Olaseinde

Jun 17, 2024

4 min read


Unveiling the Truth: The Rich, Noise, and Making Better Judgments


In today's society, the topic of income taxes and wealth distribution often stirs heated debates. Many argue that the rich should pay more than their fair share of income taxes, while others believe that they already contribute enough. But what if we look beyond the surface and explore the true sources of wealth and the impact of noise on decision-making? Join me on a journey as we delve into these interconnected topics and uncover some valuable insights along the way.

The Surprising Truth About Income Taxes:

As someone who made the deliberate choice to leave a high-paying finance job and embrace a lower income, I discovered a newfound sense of freedom and happiness. Initially, adjusting to the drastic reduction in income was challenging, but thanks to hedonic adaptation, I gradually became accustomed to the change. What's more, within just six months, I experienced relief from chronic physical pain, realizing that sacrificing a higher income was well worth it for my health and well-being.

Being a bottom 50% income earner not only allowed me to pay a reasonable amount of income taxes but also offered a sense of enjoyment. It made me realize that true wealth is not solely derived from income but rather from accruing equity in businesses. The top 0.1% of the truly affluent individuals understand this concept well, as they amass their fortunes through business ownership and equity rather than relying solely on income.

Unmasking the Impact of Noise:

In Daniel Kahneman et al.'s "Noise Free Summary," they shed light on the phenomenon of noise and its implications on decision-making. Noise refers to the variability in judgments or decisions that should ideally be consistent. When individuals come to vastly different conclusions using the same data, it indicates the presence of noise.

Two types of judgments are particularly susceptible to noise: predictive judgments and evaluative judgments. Predictive judgments involve forecasting outcomes based on probabilities, while evaluative judgments rely on values and preferences. Noise occurs when decisions appear arbitrary instead of conforming to agreed-upon criteria, leading to disparities and unfairness.

Understanding the Distinction Between Bias and Noise:

To grasp the concept of noise better, it is essential to distinguish it from bias. Bias refers to consistent deviation from predicted outcomes, such as a scale consistently adding five pounds to your weight. On the other hand, noise indicates deviation from an average, such as a manager consistently underestimating or overestimating project completion times.

Moreover, noise can arise even when individuals possess the same knowledge. People may not see a problem in the same light due to their subjective judgments, weighing possibilities, and assigning probabilities. This highlights the importance of acknowledging ignorance and addressing uncertainty in decision-making processes.

Taking Action to Reduce Noise:

Now that we understand the detrimental effects of noise on decision-making, it's time to explore actionable steps to mitigate its impact. Conducting a noise audit by having multiple judges assess the same problems can reveal the variability in judgments, thus identifying the presence of noise. By recognizing system noise, organizations can consider replacing individuals with simple rules or algorithms to reduce subjectivity and inconsistency.

However, it is crucial to note that while technology and artificial intelligence can assist in decision-making, they cannot entirely replace human judgment. The complexity of human experiences and nuanced decision-making processes make human involvement indispensable.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace the Power of Choice: Just as I made the decision to prioritize my health and happiness over a high income, it's essential to identify what truly matters to you. Pick your struggles in life and align your choices accordingly. Remember, running your own race and finding contentment can lead to a fulfilling life.
  • 2. Seek Knowledge and Embrace Uncertainty: Admitting ignorance is the first step towards addressing uncertainty. In complex decision-making situations, take the time to gather information, consider multiple perspectives, and be open to the possibility of changing your initial conclusions. Embrace the fact that uncertainty exists, and it can lead to better judgments.
  • 3. Conduct a Noise Audit: Whether in personal or professional contexts, consider conducting a noise audit to identify inconsistencies and variability in judgments. By involving multiple perspectives and assessing the presence of noise, you can make informed decisions and reduce the impact of noise on outcomes.


As we conclude our exploration of the rich paying their fair share of income taxes, the influence of noise on decision-making, and the steps we can take to improve judgments, we uncover a web of interconnected ideas. The pursuit of wealth goes beyond income, and understanding the impact of noise allows us to make better decisions in both personal and professional realms.

By embracing choice, seeking knowledge, and conducting noise audits, we can navigate through life's complexities with greater clarity and confidence. Remember, wealth and success are not solely defined by monetary value but by the quality of life we lead and the happiness we cultivate. So, let us strive to make informed judgments, reduce noise, and carve our own paths towards a fulfilling and prosperous future.

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