Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Vocabulary: TBU


The acronym TBU stands for “true but useless”. I first came across the term in reading a Fast Company article. It’s a concept well-worth remembering, that many analyses of the data don’t do any good to address the problem at hand. TBUs don’t necessary guide you to change behavior or determine what course would be better.

My corollary to that acronym is TBD, “true but distracting”. When I edit academic papers, I find trying to figure out the true essence of the article: what is the thesis the paper is proposing?

Just as novelists like Kazuo Ishiguro observes that they keeping writing the same book over and over again (because they are exploring a particular concept, and the process of writing the book uncovered more variations on the theme), researchers, in some sense, tend to write the same paper over and over again. First optimizing it for a particular journal, and then to frame the same research in a different perspective for another journal.  However, once an analysis is made for one particular purpose, the statements tend to remain in the subsequent versions of the paper, even when they are TBU to support the new framework. Moreover they are TBD, because they detract from the new framework.

Photo: Pont Saint-Bénézet, also known as Pont d’Avignon, it wasn’t originally a “bridge to nowhere”. Because of the song, Sur le pony d’Avignon, tourists are often seen dancing and singing at the end of the bridge.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on March 27, 2015 by in language, Management, Vocabulary, Writing and tagged , .
Follow Sticky Notes of Thoughts on
%d bloggers like this: