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Beware the Green Lumber fallacy

  • By Alan Knott-Craig
  • January 16, 2017

The Green Lumber fallacy refers to the disconnect between academic knowledge and real world results. Between theory and practice. Between talking and doing.

The “Green Lumber” descriptor comes from a story of a commodities trader who traded “green lumber”, also known as freshly cut wood.

This trader was the top trader for green lumber, globally. One day his colleague asked him if he knew what green lumber is.

The star trader’s answer: Wood that is painted green.

Turns out the star trader didn’t have a clue what green lumber was. But that didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered is that he was successful at trading it.

Thats the difference between academia and the real world. Academia wants to write a case study that others can follow. It wants to be able to explain success, break it down into a dummy’s guide.

Unfortunately that’s not how the real world works.

The real world mostly comprises inexplicable and random events.

Just because you can’t explain how something works, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

Making money is about doing, not talking.