website statistics Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes

Availability: Ready to download

No fictional character is more renowned for his powers of thought and observation than Sherlock Holmes. But is his extraordinary intellect merely a gift of fiction, or can we learn to cultivate these abilities ourselves, to improve our lives at work and at home? We can, says psychologist and journalist Maria Konnikova, and in Mastermind she shows us how. Beginning with the No fictional character is more renowned for his powers of thought and observation than Sherlock Holmes. But is his extraordinary intellect merely a gift of fiction, or can we learn to cultivate these abilities ourselves, to improve our lives at work and at home? We can, says psychologist and journalist Maria Konnikova, and in Mastermind she shows us how. Beginning with the "brain attic"--Holmes's metaphor for how we store information and organize knowledge--Konnikova unpacks the mental strategies that lead to clearer thinking and deeper insights. Drawing on twenty-first-century neuroscience and psychology, Mastermind explores Holmes's unique methods of ever-present mindfulness, astute observation, and logical deduction. In doing so, it shows how each of us, with some self-awareness and a little practice, can employ these same methods to sharpen our perceptions, solve difficult problems, and enhance our creative powers. For Holmes aficionados and casual readers alike, Konnikova reveals how the world's most keen-eyed detective can serve as an unparalleled guide to upgrading the mind.


Compare

No fictional character is more renowned for his powers of thought and observation than Sherlock Holmes. But is his extraordinary intellect merely a gift of fiction, or can we learn to cultivate these abilities ourselves, to improve our lives at work and at home? We can, says psychologist and journalist Maria Konnikova, and in Mastermind she shows us how. Beginning with the No fictional character is more renowned for his powers of thought and observation than Sherlock Holmes. But is his extraordinary intellect merely a gift of fiction, or can we learn to cultivate these abilities ourselves, to improve our lives at work and at home? We can, says psychologist and journalist Maria Konnikova, and in Mastermind she shows us how. Beginning with the "brain attic"--Holmes's metaphor for how we store information and organize knowledge--Konnikova unpacks the mental strategies that lead to clearer thinking and deeper insights. Drawing on twenty-first-century neuroscience and psychology, Mastermind explores Holmes's unique methods of ever-present mindfulness, astute observation, and logical deduction. In doing so, it shows how each of us, with some self-awareness and a little practice, can employ these same methods to sharpen our perceptions, solve difficult problems, and enhance our creative powers. For Holmes aficionados and casual readers alike, Konnikova reveals how the world's most keen-eyed detective can serve as an unparalleled guide to upgrading the mind.

30 review for Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes

  1. 4 out of 5

    C

    "Mindless: How to Regurgitate Useless Information" Do you know what I learned in the first hour of this book while I went on my morning 5 mile run before I realized that there are no chapter markers? Absolutely nothing. I actually groaned out loud numerous times and yelled "Come ON! Are you serious?" to the running path. The only explanation I can think of is that author must have been paid by the word, because she has reinvented the meaning of taking commonly known ideas and taken the phrase "be "Mindless: How to Regurgitate Useless Information" Do you know what I learned in the first hour of this book while I went on my morning 5 mile run before I realized that there are no chapter markers? Absolutely nothing. I actually groaned out loud numerous times and yelled "Come ON! Are you serious?" to the running path. The only explanation I can think of is that author must have been paid by the word, because she has reinvented the meaning of taking commonly known ideas and taken the phrase "beating a dead horse" into new heights. To take on the tone of the author, I have crafted a representative paragraph: "Sometimes a horse is dead, yet you keep beating it (reads a paragraph from Sherlock Holmes). Do you understand what this means? Have you ever thought of the idea of beating a dead horse? I imagine a thousand My Little Ponies, each a different color, with fabulous manes and tails, hearts and stars, slowly dying and falling to the ground, and tiny little gnomes taking striped bats and hitting them, even after they are dead (reads the exact same paragraph as above that she read before, word for word, from Sherlock Holmes). That said, sometimes people do that. They happen to beat dead horses. Now that phrase is not to be taken literally, but figuratively. When people do that, they tend to over explain or repeat themselves over and over and over again. Did I mention that this happens more than once? It happens over and over. This is called. B.A.D.H. That stands for beating a dead horse (reads the exact same paragraph as above that she read before, word for word, from Sherlock Holmes). Now let's look at some studies where more people tell you how to beat a dead horse. Then I'll tell you again after the study how to beat a dead horse. AAAARGH! Yes, she actually makes an abbreviation for the words motivation to remember, referring to it as "M.T.R.". Guffaw. If there were even ONE new, original or helpful idea in that first hour, I would have been so grateful I would have clicked my heels in glee. But alas, they were all useless ridiculous time fillers like, "did you know that we often don't pay attention to things?…our minds are like an attic, it may look funny, it may have a little chimney, but it may not have a chimney (huh?)…sometimes people remind us of other people…people who try harder on tests do better…sometimes we all have first impressions or prejudices…have you ever had the experience of forgetting something?...and on and on and on and on….with not one helpful hint in sight. Also, she reads entire passages from Sherlock Holmes word for word not only twice, but sometimes THREE TIMES in a paragraph! She can't just say, "referring to the paragraph I just mentioned, x y and z", NO, she has to read the ENTIRE THING again and again! I have never seen an editor let an author get away with such ridiculousness, which is why I say she must have been paid by the word. And could the narrator sound any more condescending? The only thing she should ever read is something that ends in "And thank you for flying the friendly skies"! It was like listening to a debutante talk down to her toy poodle. I almost expected her to chime in with, "And where does Mimi go poopoo? In the widdle doggie doo box, that's RIGHT my little Angelpie!" At the end of my run, I clicked my iPod off, and when I turned if on again, the book went back to the beginning and HAS NO CHAPTER MARKERS! Which means I WOULD HAVE TO LISTEN TO THE BEGINNING OVER AGAIN to hear the entire thing! I would rather die a slow death in a sand pit being bitten by snakes while tigers claw out my eyes and vultures pull out my tongue than listen to that again. But if anyone has a version with chapter markers I'd love to give the rest of the book a chance to see if there are any actual instructions on how to think like Sherlock Holmes. Maybe my first impression of the book from the first chapter is incongruent with the rest of the book. I would be happy to find this to be the case. By the way, I agree with the other reviewers who say the title is misleading. It should be called something like, "My Homage to Sherlock Holmes" and NOT "How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes", because that is not what it was about. P.S. I have read and listened to hundreds of audio books and in case people think I'm just a grump, this is the first scathing review I've ever given.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andreas

    I was surprised about the many negative reviews here at Goodreads. The main complain is that the author doesn't come up with something new, which is true, and that the Sherlock Holmes examples are taken too far. In the last months I have read a couple of books about our brain, perception, memory and how we think. Many of the discoveries can be found here in the book, nicely wrapped in the world of Sherlock Holmes. This by itself is an amazing thing! It's astonishing how good it works and a great I was surprised about the many negative reviews here at Goodreads. The main complain is that the author doesn't come up with something new, which is true, and that the Sherlock Holmes examples are taken too far. In the last months I have read a couple of books about our brain, perception, memory and how we think. Many of the discoveries can be found here in the book, nicely wrapped in the world of Sherlock Holmes. This by itself is an amazing thing! It's astonishing how good it works and a great mental reminder for a different mindset. Do you want to be like Watson who gets easily distracted and draws conclusions without real proofs? Or do you prefer Holmes, the pipe smoking detective who looks at the smallest details and critically questions the world around him? If you like Holmes and psychology then this book is for you.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Janey

    If you're an avid Sherlock Holmes fan like me, then most likely you have already come across the examples and quotations explored in this book. Because that's what this book is all about: quotations, quotations and exploring and dissecting those Sherlock quotations in every manner possible. In short, you won't be learning anything new. But if you're such a ginormous fan that you'll read even the back of a shampoo if it's labeled Sherlock Holmes, then by all means, read this. This book is more of If you're an avid Sherlock Holmes fan like me, then most likely you have already come across the examples and quotations explored in this book. Because that's what this book is all about: quotations, quotations and exploring and dissecting those Sherlock quotations in every manner possible. In short, you won't be learning anything new. But if you're such a ginormous fan that you'll read even the back of a shampoo if it's labeled Sherlock Holmes, then by all means, read this. This book is more of a tribute than an actual how-to guide. You could learn more about how Sherlock thinks by reading his actual adventures. The title is so misleading that I felt an urge to throw the book away. Except I couldn't because I was reading an ebook. And I would've felt sorry for Sherlock anyway. To summarize, if you have plenty of time in your hands and REALLY REALLY adore Sherlock and you wish to get your hands on anything Sherlock-ish, then read this. Otherwise, you're better off reading something else.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bayla

    "If you get only one thing out of this book, it should be this; the most powerful mind is the quiet mind. It is the mind that is present,reflective, mindful of its thoughts and its state. It doesn't often multitask, and when it does, it does so with a purpose" (p. 257). A fine blend of character analysis, psychological research, and good writing, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes caught my interest and held it all the way through, which is a difficult task for nonfiction in general. M "If you get only one thing out of this book, it should be this; the most powerful mind is the quiet mind. It is the mind that is present,reflective, mindful of its thoughts and its state. It doesn't often multitask, and when it does, it does so with a purpose" (p. 257). A fine blend of character analysis, psychological research, and good writing, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes caught my interest and held it all the way through, which is a difficult task for nonfiction in general. Ms. Konnikova (re)introduces us to Sherlock Holmes, the great detective, and how he thinks - vs. how Watson, and we, think, react, fail to observe. She teaches us, through Holmes' example and with a healthy research backing, ways that we can improve our observation and decision making and avoid common thought errors. She tells us of the importance of keeping your "brain attic" well organized and allowing creativity and imagination in; the importance of practice and education, constant learning; the importance of remembering that we are only human, and that even Sherlock Holmes made mistakes - the important thing is to learn from them, and to see yourself as someone who is constantly getting smarter, whose intelligence is not fixed. Highly recommended for people who enjoyed books like Thinking, Fast and Slow orBlink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, but also for the many Holmes fans among us.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Well written grammatically but... An extremely frustrating read in so far as that the inescapable premise of the book appears to be that psychological principles can be taught upon the back of an entire fiction. There is such paradoxical logic in this that at times I felt genuine anger, the work is simply riding the crest of a huge wave of interest in Sherlock Holmes at present, this is not in the main, psychology, but literary review in the guise of science, and as such the whole thing appears Well written grammatically but... An extremely frustrating read in so far as that the inescapable premise of the book appears to be that psychological principles can be taught upon the back of an entire fiction. There is such paradoxical logic in this that at times I felt genuine anger, the work is simply riding the crest of a huge wave of interest in Sherlock Holmes at present, this is not in the main, psychology, but literary review in the guise of science, and as such the whole thing appears to be a colossal misrepresentation. To argue, by reference to fictional and unlikely examples of induction, phrased straight from the Holmes stories, that this is how we should think, is a bizarre conceit indeed. There are several interesting psychology experiments referred to, absent any reference; curious to say the least. As a graduate in psychology I'm fascinated by the suggestion that we can, for example improve insight by thinking about the colour blue, (?) but without proper identification of the research in this area, how can I possibly further my knowledge? Part of the power of Holmes as an intellectual character, is in watching the seeming magic by which he observes and deduces. (induces, is more accurate). There are no shortcuts here, you would best look elsewhere for insight. There are no examples of improving memory, such as using the mind palace, or various other peg systems of memory. There are no practical, ie NOT FICTIONAL, examples for improving observation. It would have been far more educational had there been tutelage from the examples of REAL people, who observe and deduce as Holmes does, but have any such people ever existed? In short, Holmes is a super intelligent behemoth of a character, and to be able to think like him, as this book purports to enable us, the book would have to provide means of turbo charging our intelligence. And it doesn't.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Thibeault

    *A full executive summary of this book is available here: http://newbooksinbrief.com/2013/01/28... The main argument: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes is as popular today as when he was created back in the late 19th century. This comes as no surprise, of course, since there is just something about Holmes’ peculiar qualities—his keen observation, clever imagination, and incisive reasoning capabilities—that is both awe-inspiring and inspirational. We admire Holmes for cutting thro *A full executive summary of this book is available here: http://newbooksinbrief.com/2013/01/28... The main argument: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes is as popular today as when he was created back in the late 19th century. This comes as no surprise, of course, since there is just something about Holmes’ peculiar qualities—his keen observation, clever imagination, and incisive reasoning capabilities—that is both awe-inspiring and inspirational. We admire Holmes for cutting through the errors of thought that are so common to us in our daily lives (and that are reflected in Holmes’ sidekick, Watson). And yet we recognize that there is nothing in Holmes’ thought that is entirely out of reach for us. Indeed, his qualities are not so much superhuman as human plus: human qualities taken to their extreme. Still, human qualities taken to their extreme are intimidating enough, and we may find ourselves doubting whether we could ever really think like Sherlock—even if we put our minds to it. But for cognitive psychologist Anna Konnikova, we should think again. Holmes’ prowess, Konnikova argues, rests no so much in his mental powers as in his mental approach. Specifically, Holmes has succeeded in making his thought methodical and systematic—essentially bringing the scientific method and scientific thinking to his detective work. This is an approach to thinking which, Konnikova argues, we can all practice. More importantly, it is an approach to thinking that can extend well beyond sleuthing. Indeed, it is a general approach that can help us get at the truth in virtually any arena, as well as help us solve virtually any problem. It is simply a matter of bringing a little science to the art of thought—and it is this very thing that Konnikova aims to help us achieve in her new book 'Mastermind: How to Think like Sherlock Holmes'. Konnikova breaks down Holmes’ method into 4 parts: 1. Background knowledge; 2. Observation; 3. Imagination; and 4. Deduction. To begin with, Holmes keeps an extensive and well-organized knowledge base to help him solve new cases. What’s more, he is vigilant in ensuring that he is ever assimilating new and important information that could help him in the future. Second, Holmes uses careful, mindful, and unbiased observation to glean what is important about the various characters and circumstances of each case. Next, Holmes uses the evidence that he has gathered—in conjunction with his far-reaching (though disciplined) imagination—to formulate multiple scenarios that could explain the mystery. Finally, Holmes uses his acute powers of reasoning to cut away the scenarios that just don’t hold up, until ultimately there is but one scenario left: the only one that is possible, however improbable. While this approach seems straightforward enough, it is easier said than done. Indeed, our minds can and often do go wrong at any one of the steps. Konnikova construes it like this: our minds have two distinct modes of thought. The first of these modes operates quickly and automatically. It is our default mode, in that it is the one that we rely on as a matter of course. While it may be quick and effortless, it is also very error-prone. Our second mode of thought is slower and more deliberate. It has the potential to be far more accurate than our default mode, but it takes effort, and this is effort that we often aren’t willing to expend. Still, Konnikova contends that activating the second mode is worth the effort. What’s more, the more we employ this mode of thought, the more habitual and the less effortful it becomes. (These modes of thought correspond to System 1, and System 2 in Daniel Kahneman’s 'Thinking, Fast and Slow', though Konnikova refers to them here as our Watsonian and Holmesian systems). At each step of Holmes’ method, Konnikova points out the errors of thought that our Watsonian system is wont to draw us into (as exemplified by a series of psychological experiments). In addition, she points out numerous tricks and pointers that can help us use our Holmesian system to best advantage in order to overcome these errors (exemplified by still other psychological experiments). In the end, it is really a matter of being ever mindful and careful in our thinking, and this is something that we could all certainly do more of. Readers of Kahneman’s 'Thinking, Fast and Slow' will no doubt recognize many of the experiments talked about here. However, unlike in Kahneman’s book, Konnikova makes much more of an effort to explain how we can overcome the errors of our Watsonian system (system 1). I found these efforts to be worthwhile for the most part (4 stars). Also, I found Konnikova’s style easy enough to follow; however, I would not say that I was a huge fan of it: it comes across as patronizing at times, and she does engage in a fair bit of repetition. Still a good and worthwhile read. A full executive summary of this book is available here http://newbooksinbrief.com/2013/01/28... A podcast discussion of the book will be available soon.

  7. 5 out of 5

    VaultOfBooks

    By Maria Konnikova. Grade: B Sherlock Holmes, hands down, is my favourite detective, and Conan Doyle an absolute genius. Like all fans of his genre, I’ve devoured the books, the TV shows, and now, the movies. This is one such adaptation wherein author Maria Konnikova, a graduate of Harvard University and holder of PhD in psychology from Columbia University, applies her brain to find the science beneath the thrill. The point of this book is simple. There’s something about Sherlock Holmes that keeps By Maria Konnikova. Grade: B Sherlock Holmes, hands down, is my favourite detective, and Conan Doyle an absolute genius. Like all fans of his genre, I’ve devoured the books, the TV shows, and now, the movies. This is one such adaptation wherein author Maria Konnikova, a graduate of Harvard University and holder of PhD in psychology from Columbia University, applies her brain to find the science beneath the thrill. The point of this book is simple. There’s something about Sherlock Holmes that keeps him as popular as he was a century ago. His coherent reasoning, incisive observation, and perceptiveness combined with lucid imagination has made him one of the most fascinating characters in the history of books. But what makes him stand out – indeed what makes all characters stand out – is not that he has superhuman skills, but rather that he does not have superhuman skills. His qualities are extraordinary, but not entirely out of reach. As we constantly understand through Watson, we all have that immense potential inside us, and that potential for the potential is what would make this book sell. Alas, it’s mistitled and an illusion. Let’s be straight. The book’s pure research, a step-by-step break up of Sherlock’s brain and methodology. Because of that, it’s not a quick read. And because we’re discussing Sherlock’s mind here, it’s certainly not simple to grasp and comprehend. A degree or two in this field won’t hurt. The author has tried to make the task easier by quoting numerous case studies from his old classics, maybe to give the reader something familiar to hang on to as he makes his way through this quagmire of big words and advanced human schematics. The reader is at a constant risk of being bamboozled by the theories and counter-theories which have been scripted out to make the book interesting. It’s also mis-titled. Technically, it does not provide any steps on how to think like Sherlock Holmes. It analyzes how he thinks, but there are no steps to be found, aside from the advice of maintaining a journal. It tells you what you need to be as aware as Holmes, but fails to point out how you get on to achieve that. But despite the flaws, it has many things going for it. The uniqueness has already been mentioned. Maria Konnikova has taken the idea of getting to know your fictional character to an entirely new level. The book lacks illustration, but it has depth. It’s not a beginner’s approach by any means, but lovers of biology and psychology will be right at home. It has a niche market, mainly for researchers and enthusiasts who want in-depth detail of the great mind of Sherlock Holmes, or into the human brain in general. Originally reviewed at Vaultofbooks.com, a close-knit community of fanatical readers. We are looking for perceptive readers who can write well, and we are eager to provide lots of free books in exchange for reviews. Shoot us a mail at [email protected]

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I'm not going to finish this book because (1) it is redundant (padded like a high school paper with an assigned word count); (2) the psychological and neurological concepts are fairly basic; and (3) it's more about Holmes her hero than a book on mindfulness. If you're a big Sherlock Holmes fan, you'd probably like this. I'm not going to finish this book because (1) it is redundant (padded like a high school paper with an assigned word count); (2) the psychological and neurological concepts are fairly basic; and (3) it's more about Holmes her hero than a book on mindfulness. If you're a big Sherlock Holmes fan, you'd probably like this.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Just a note: I review Sherlock Holmes-related books on a blog, so my reviews on Goodreads are generally shortened versions of those posts Maria Konnikova, a doctoral candidate in psychology at New York’s Columbia University, first encountered Sherlock Holmes as a child, when her father read Waton’s accounts to her and her siblings at bedtime. As happens for many, the sleuth stuck with her, and in Mastermind she combines current psychological insights with lessons from the Canon, in the touchingly Just a note: I review Sherlock Holmes-related books on a blog, so my reviews on Goodreads are generally shortened versions of those posts Maria Konnikova, a doctoral candidate in psychology at New York’s Columbia University, first encountered Sherlock Holmes as a child, when her father read Waton’s accounts to her and her siblings at bedtime. As happens for many, the sleuth stuck with her, and in Mastermind she combines current psychological insights with lessons from the Canon, in the touchingly firm belief that, if we just apply ourselves, we can shift our brains from relying on the default “System Watson” to the more effective, albeit demanding, “System Holmes.” Doubtless there are many exceptions, but it seems to me that most of us spent our years in school being taught a lot of facts. Occasionally–say, while learning geometry proofs–we might have been taught to reason things out, and perhaps our supports were measured against our thesis statements in those ubiquitous five-part essays, but I don’t remember ever really being taught how to think about problems in a systematic fashion. We were left to our own devices, to rise and fall as our innate abilities led. Like Watson, we’ve ambled along pretty well, assured we’re seeing the world correctly and making proper decisions. Then we run into Sherlock Holmes. Holmes’s ability to cut through clutter to find the truth, while possessing no superpowers or special gadgets, have made him intriguing for over a century. He doesn’t have infinite resources and isn’t empowered by our yellow sun, so what he achieves seems just possible, if only we were smart enough. I think we’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s read the stories and didn’t try, at least once, to “deduce” something. I know I have–and given up in frustration, because I didn’t even know where to start. Also, the driver behind me was impatient. So, we try, and fail, to emulate our hero, then tell ourselves that he was just born a genius or (if we’re feeling especially bitter) that the stories were formulated to make him so. Ms. Konnikova argues, however, that by practicing–and practice is crucial–a different way of managing our “brain attics” and becoming aware of faulty thinking patterns, we can get much closer to our ideal than we might believe. She begins with the idea that we must pay attention. Really pay attention, in a directed way. We need to define our problem, specifically. Then we need to observe–to gather information, as well as use what we have already stored up in our brain attics–in a systematic, thorough fashion, working to avoid biases, shortcuts, and other pitfalls of lazy thinking. Once we have our (thoroughly vetted) data, it’s time to make bricks, using our imaginations, asking questions, building up scenarios and giving our brains some “play.” At times, we may even need to step back–to go see Mme. Norman Neruda or something, in order to let the information percolate in our heads, allowing it to come together in ways we couldn’t see for looking too closely. Finally, we test our ideas against the facts–and only the facts–to see which stand, which fall, and which, however improbable, must be the truth. It sounds simple enough (and indeed, the above paragraph was a gross simplification of over 200 pages worth of information), but if it were, we’d all be doing it, wouldn’t we? Just as Ms. Konnikova shows us–using the canon–how Holmes reasons and deduces, she also shows us how Dr Watson illustrates, with frightening accuracy, common flaws in the way humans think. Watson is oblivious to factors in his environment or mood that might divert his focus and influence his observations. He doesn’t use all five of his senses. He’s easily distracted, and often judges solely based on appearance–particularly if said appearance is feminine. He makes up “stories” using a few facts, and then tends to see only the evidence which supports them. And once Holmes corrects his deductions, he tends not to learn from his errors–in order to improve–but instead salves his ego with the one or two points he got right. I’ll admit to patting myself on the back on the few occasions when I recognized a “System Holmes” component in my brain…but those “System Watson” errors were far, far more frequent. You’ll find that, too. Generally, this blog reviews books about Sherlock Holmes. Mastermind, however, is about YOU. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I saw aspects of my own life reflected (and even explained) in Konnikova’s chapters. Ms. Konnikova–a frequent science contributor to such well-regarded periodicals as The Atlantic, Scientific American, Scientific American MIND, Slate, and The Paris Review (as well as the science-fiction oriented site, i09)–knows how to present complex ideas in an understandable fashion. Don’t worry if you haven’t cracked the binding of a science text in twenty years. You’ll be able to navigate her descriptions of brain physiology and psychological research–and will find them engaging. I really wanted to know more about several studies; while my old academic self would have preferred a formal bibliography, there is a section dedicated to further reading in the back. Occasionally, I found the book slightly repetitive, but I put this down to the academy's style of building an argument. “Well, that’s all very well and good,” you say, “but as a Sherlock Holmes fan, I have concerns. How does the canon fare?” The answer is: very well, actually. The subtitle, How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, is not a gimmick roused up to take advantage of Holmes’s resurgence in popularity. Ms. Konnikova is a genuine fan. She chooses her stories well, and takes care to explain them–accurately– for readers who may not be familiar with Conan Doyle, helpfully providing canonical references at the end of each chapter. It is fascinating to see how she is able to use Holmes and Watson to illustrate her concepts. There is nothing forced or artificial about it; the information she presents is really there. One is left with a greater appreciation both of Conan Doyle’s intelligence, and of his ability to weave his era’s fascination with science and scientific reasoning into popular tales. And while we may look at his involvement with spiritualism and…fairies…with a little embarrassment, Konnikova uses those aspects of his life to gently illustrate how we are all products of, yes, our desires–but also of our times. Are there canonical glitches? A few. For example, when discussing Holmes’s practice of distracting himself when he hits a mental block while working on a problem, Konnikova seems to think he’s reading, rather than writing, the monograph on the polyphonic motets of Lassus. But these instances are few, and do not distract from the book’s mission. Because Maria Konnikova is, in fact, on a mission. She truly believes that you can learn to think like Sherlock Holmes; that, with enough Motivation, you can train yourself to pay attention–to be truly present in any situation–using this Mindfulness to handle information skillfully while avoiding the errors replete in lazy thinking. It takes a good deal of effort and practice, she acknowledges, but our own biology is on our side. Recent studies have shown that the human brain is much more “plastic” than we’ve always thought, and we can build and develop it as we can our muscles–faster, even–regardless of our age, or (even better) prior mental fitness level. Yes, you can turn off the television and, by beginning to educate yourself–by refusing to stop learning, by practicing critical thinking methods, and by holding yourself to more rigorous mental standards–you can rebuild and develop your brain. I was about to say, “You probably won’t solve crimes with it,”–but hey, what do I know?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I’ll give her five stars for the book’s premise, but only two stars for execution. This book is like a good first draft. I would love to get in there and get the material organized in a concise readable format and get the scientific references cited properly so that it could be a good book. The Writer is very wordy and takes several paragraphs to say what she’s trying to say, yet still doesn’t manage to say it. It’s hard to explain but she has a way of wording things in a mildly sarcastic way so I’ll give her five stars for the book’s premise, but only two stars for execution. This book is like a good first draft. I would love to get in there and get the material organized in a concise readable format and get the scientific references cited properly so that it could be a good book. The Writer is very wordy and takes several paragraphs to say what she’s trying to say, yet still doesn’t manage to say it. It’s hard to explain but she has a way of wording things in a mildly sarcastic way so that she doesn’t actually make her point. She talks around it and expects you to connect the dots yourself. Secondly the book should have been subtitled “why you don’t think like Sherlock Holmes” rather than “how to think like Sherlock Holmes” because the book is primarily criticizing the reader for not thinking like Sherlock Holmes but doesn’t give much practical advice as to what they can proactively do to improve their thinking. Thirdly, the Author uses copious references to scientific studies, but does not give any footnotes, citations, or information about the study she’s referring to. She just starts the sentence with “there was a study done...“. There’s no way to know if these studies were done last year or 50 years ago or if they were performed by Harvard or some junior high school science class. It’s really a shame because if these references are valid it would’ve been a great study of how analysis is done. Fourth, there are holes in her discourse. It’s long been known that what is commonly referred to as “memory” is actually not the storage of info but the recall of it. For greatest recall, you need to store information under the right heading or category based on how you will likely want to retrieve that info. This is key to Sherlock’s method and yet it is not mentioned here. Instead, The author explains that you should pay attention to absolutely everything and take in absolutely everything and consider absolutely everything BUT you can’t possibly remember everything so you must decide what is important and what is not important and just throw out all the extraneous stuff even though she acknowledges that you can’t possibly know what information will be useful in the future. (No I’m not kidding. And that run on sentence was a warmup for the book text. ) Fifth, the information is not organized and presented well. The headings are all but useless, there is no clear point to many sections of writing, and no formatting that might put her ramblings into easy-to-skim points so that you can use it as an aid to improve your skills. I truly would like to see an author write on this topic and do it justice. But this one failed.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    A marketing ploy with a catchy title, devoid of any new, insightful content whatsoever. I am both a zealous Sherlock Holmes fan and familiar with Konnikova's work for the New Yorker, which, while not especially well-written or scientifically rigorous, at least attempts to discuss new research findings in contemporary neuroscience. At least it gets the mental gears turning in fresh directions. But, this useless, supposed "close-reading" of Holmes is a merely a childish regurgitation of detail thr A marketing ploy with a catchy title, devoid of any new, insightful content whatsoever. I am both a zealous Sherlock Holmes fan and familiar with Konnikova's work for the New Yorker, which, while not especially well-written or scientifically rigorous, at least attempts to discuss new research findings in contemporary neuroscience. At least it gets the mental gears turning in fresh directions. But, this useless, supposed "close-reading" of Holmes is a merely a childish regurgitation of detail through the taste buds of an incompetent pop psychologist. And the results are not savory. She bores us with common sense or intro psych lectures that have been heard the world over, and cannot even package the wealth that is the Holmes oeuvre with any pizzazz. The marketing MBAs did a great job with the branding to reel us in, but Konnikova devalues not only our time and money, but also our intelligence as an audience, with this drivel. I would much rather read the original works themselves to extract wisdom, and I suggest you do the same.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    Simplistic and lacking research behind many of the suppositions, the book is more homage to Holmes and Doyle than how to improve thought process.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Crystal Starr Light

    Sherlock Holmes is the epitome of the mystery genre and the private detective. He uses his senses, his expansive knowledge, and his cunning skill to seek out the truth behind the crimes that come to his door. But what goes on in Sherlock Holmes mind? How does he think? And can we get anywhere near the skill of the Master Detective? While I like Sherlock Holmes well enough, reading two books and a couple movies based on the stories is not enough to call me a fan. The primary reason I read this boo Sherlock Holmes is the epitome of the mystery genre and the private detective. He uses his senses, his expansive knowledge, and his cunning skill to seek out the truth behind the crimes that come to his door. But what goes on in Sherlock Holmes mind? How does he think? And can we get anywhere near the skill of the Master Detective? While I like Sherlock Holmes well enough, reading two books and a couple movies based on the stories is not enough to call me a fan. The primary reason I read this book was for my book club. And honestly, it did sound intriguing - COULD I learn to think like Sherlock Holmes, to see every detail in my surroundings and process it efficiently? I honestly think that people who will adore this book will come in two flavors: 1) Sherlock Holmes fans (don't worry - none of the cases are spoiled whatsoever!). 2) People who can read about how Holmes think and figure out how to start thinking like Holmes with little direction from the author. This wasn't a bad book. There were some really interesting psychological concepts. Unfortunately, I already read a book that discussed almost every single one with nearly the same exact examples, called You Are Not So Smart. And the latter book, I found to be much better - mostly because it didn't say in the title it would help you to think like Sherlock Holmes and then fail to tell you how to think like Sherlock Holmes (unless the last chapter of steps, using "The Hound of the Baskervilles" was supposed to be the "How To" portion). I guess that one thing is what trips me up the most about this book, what sent this book from "Okay, but really nothing special" to "frustratingly befuddling". If the title had merely been changed to "Mastermind: How Sherlock Holmes Thinks", I think I could have sailed past much of my frustrations. But this book told me that I would be able to think like Sherlock Holmes, that I should have things to practice to be able to think like Sherlock Holmes. At the end of this book, the only real useful piece of information I took away was: "If you get only one thing out of this book, it should be this: the most powerful mind is the quiet mind." Well, that's nice, but just that one thing won't help me think like Sherlock Holmes. Maybe it's a first step, but I have no idea where to go from there. I did think that perhaps that was the book's objective - like Holmes, we were to pay attention, gather clues from the book, and assemble our own steps or "solve the crime". If that was the job, then kudos to the author for the clever execution, but that doesn't solve how lost and frustrated I felt. For a book that is only 259 pages long, there is an awful lot of repetition. Some sections - such as when things are divided into lists - go on for so long, I forgot what list the item was a part of. Concepts were repeated over and over, with slight word changes. Tons of Holmes stories were included as well, but none of them were ever finished. I guess I can understand not wanting to spoil the mystery, but it left me confused. Also, I started mixing up all the various stories and forgetting which one showed what concept. And then there are absolutely no notes. No notes, no bibliography, no intext citation, nada. At the end of the chapter, there is a Further Reading section that can send you either to a Sherlock Holmes story or one of (I guess) the sources Konnikova used. As for where she got the research and studies - absolutely nothing. Not what I like to see in a non-fiction book. The one other point I really want to bring up is this: Sherlock Holmes may have been based on real characters (Doyle and Bell), but he is still fictional. The world he lives in is fictional. So it's exceptionally easy for him to always be attentive and soak up every detail and make the right assumptions based on stereotypes or "common knowledge" of the time, but that doesn't necessarily translate to a real world environment. I'm not saying this entire book was pointless - oh, well, Holmes is fiction, therefore, his thought-process is fiction. I'm saying it's as if I wrote a book about how to meditate like Yoda or Luke Skywalker. Those two are fictional characters in a fictional universe that meditate in a fictional Force. While there would be attributes of the meditation process you could adapt, there still would be fictional parts. I know this seems like a terrible, scathing review, but that wasn't my point in writing it. This certainly wasn't a terrible book; I just wasn't the person that this book would be best suited for. If you are unfamiliar with confirmation bias or omission neglect, love Sherlock Holmes, and don't expect a list of steps followed by practice exercises, this is your book. Otherwise, you may want to check it out from the library before plunking down hard-earned cash for this.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rob Slaven

    As usual, I received this book for nothing from a GoodReads giveaway but despite that kindness I give it my candid opinion below. Our author's submission is one of those that tries to be two things at once, cross-selling you on a bit of neuroscience in the context of Sherlock Holmes as favorite fictional genius. The basic format boils down to something like this: * Quote from a Sherlock Holmes story * Here's what Holmes did that was so genius * Here's what Watson, mental midget, did. [explanation of As usual, I received this book for nothing from a GoodReads giveaway but despite that kindness I give it my candid opinion below. Our author's submission is one of those that tries to be two things at once, cross-selling you on a bit of neuroscience in the context of Sherlock Holmes as favorite fictional genius. The basic format boils down to something like this: * Quote from a Sherlock Holmes story * Here's what Holmes did that was so genius * Here's what Watson, mental midget, did. [explanation of psychological foible or misapprehension Watson succombed too] * Don't be like Watson; here's how you can think more like Holmes As a pattern, it's not bad. Assuming the reader is a fan of Holmes, it's a fairly good gateway to the headier topics of Neuroscience and Psychology. Personally, I found the whole thing rather cloying. I've read a dozen books on this topic so the slow and easy introduction to the science was rather annoying and ponderous. I found myself skimming over the quotes and introductory banter to find the real meat of what she was trying to get at. So in summary, a good introduction to the topic if you're a fan of Holmes. If you're past the introductory stage though, best to look elsewhere. There really is a lot of noise and at the end of it the material covered is done more incisively in other popular works on the topic.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emeraldia Ayakashi

    I do not think like Sherlock Holmes. Not in the least . This is the rather depressing conclusion I came to researching , until I read this book ... Watch and observe. This is the secret key. When I first read these words, I was a child then and I was amazed. Alertness and keen sense of observation used by Sherlock Holmes to solve the biggest mysteries are legendary. Although Sherlock Holmes is often used a survey to ascertain the facts , its approach demonstrates that he relied too much on his int I do not think like Sherlock Holmes. Not in the least . This is the rather depressing conclusion I came to researching , until I read this book ... Watch and observe. This is the secret key. When I first read these words, I was a child then and I was amazed. Alertness and keen sense of observation used by Sherlock Holmes to solve the biggest mysteries are legendary. Although Sherlock Holmes is often used a survey to ascertain the facts , its approach demonstrates that he relied too much on his intuition , he saw clearly the logic and intuition as two inseparable elements in the art of solve a puzzle . As it is impossible to see everything intuitively , there are times when it may be also useful sense to listen to his intuition to find a solution in areas such as relationships, relationships with others and adequacy certain lifestyle choices. In terms of what happens in the minds of others, there are intuitive tricks that you can refer to help you deduce a relative accuracy and your intuition can easily be developed with a little practice and perseverance by following these steps very accessible .

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sadaf

    As a psychology student, I am familiar with many of the studies that the author has mentioned to support her explanations. But, I like how she puts it across in a manner that layman could easily understand. What makes it different from mainstream psychology books, is that she takes sherlock holmes stories to explain how he trained his brain to think, and gives examples from his words and actions. She also delves into real life incidents in the criminal world at the time when Sherlock holmes was As a psychology student, I am familiar with many of the studies that the author has mentioned to support her explanations. But, I like how she puts it across in a manner that layman could easily understand. What makes it different from mainstream psychology books, is that she takes sherlock holmes stories to explain how he trained his brain to think, and gives examples from his words and actions. She also delves into real life incidents in the criminal world at the time when Sherlock holmes was published, many these are incidents in which Arthur Conan Doyle was personally involved. She explains the methods of the mind with good evidence and studies. For the slightly impatient readers, the book can get repetitive in certain places. But i acknowledge that if she doesn't repeat it, important conclusions of all the chapters might leave the mind. Overall it is a hopeful and helpful book, and urges the readers to invest in training their mind, and they will surely get a Holmes-like mind if they do so diligently.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ahmed ElMashad

    1) What is the book about ? -Maria Konnikova explains how she thinks Sherlock Holmes think. So the title is misleading. 2) What to expect from the book ? -Redundancy, and hours of a boring book. 3) Recommended for whom? -Any Sherlockian who has a lot of time to spare, and want to read something Holmesian.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Science For The People

    Featured on Skeptically Speaking show #193 on December 21, 2012, on our special Book Review episode. This book was reviewed by Scott Huler and the review can be heard starting at timestamp 00:00:58. http://skepticallyspeaking.ca/episode... Featured on Skeptically Speaking show #193 on December 21, 2012, on our special Book Review episode. This book was reviewed by Scott Huler and the review can be heard starting at timestamp 00:00:58. http://skepticallyspeaking.ca/episode...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Akib Ahmed

    A book that deserves a reread (twice in my case). The writer gave emphasis on two Ms: Mindfulness and Motivation, but described Sherlock Holmes as much more than that. The level of isolation he provided his thoughts with was so extraordinary that resulted in him accurately deducing each case. This book deserves reread not because it's about Sherlock Holmes, instead, this book gives me methods to think elementarily. A book that deserves a reread (twice in my case). The writer gave emphasis on two Ms: Mindfulness and Motivation, but described Sherlock Holmes as much more than that. The level of isolation he provided his thoughts with was so extraordinary that resulted in him accurately deducing each case. This book deserves reread not because it's about Sherlock Holmes, instead, this book gives me methods to think elementarily.

  20. 4 out of 5

    ArwendeLuhtiene

    I found this book engaging, interesting and useful, both as a Sherlock Holmes fan and as someone who is interested in self-help books about self-awareness and how to hone our critical thinking and problem-solving strategies in our everyday life. +1 When talking about how bias influences people's thinking, there are also some (brief, though) mentions of various forms of discrimination - sexism, racism, heteronormativity and ableism, mainly. She cites, for example, the study showing that women per I found this book engaging, interesting and useful, both as a Sherlock Holmes fan and as someone who is interested in self-help books about self-awareness and how to hone our critical thinking and problem-solving strategies in our everyday life. +1 When talking about how bias influences people's thinking, there are also some (brief, though) mentions of various forms of discrimination - sexism, racism, heteronormativity and ableism, mainly. She cites, for example, the study showing that women perform worse in math-related tests when they were asked to write down their gender because of the 'stereotype threat' of women being 'naturally' worse at science and math. -1 The main thing I didn't like about this book is the fact that the author uses 'man' and 'he' as a generic - instead of the actually more generic term 'human(s)', and 's/he' or the gender-neutral impersonal singular 'they'. Using 'he' as an impersonal or 'man' to refer to the whole human race is a sexist use of language that promotes the invisibility of women. I also found this particularly grating given that we're talking about a female writer in this case :/

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Not what I expected. This book is one third anecdotal observations about using the powers of deduction in everyday life. That was very interesting. One third examples from Sherlock Holmes mysteries, kind of interesting but very chopped up and you never get the entire story. And one third part of some psychology thesis, not interesting at all. Plus the author treats Holmes as if he is not a fictional character but an actual detective from history and as if Conan Doyle did not manipulate both the Not what I expected. This book is one third anecdotal observations about using the powers of deduction in everyday life. That was very interesting. One third examples from Sherlock Holmes mysteries, kind of interesting but very chopped up and you never get the entire story. And one third part of some psychology thesis, not interesting at all. Plus the author treats Holmes as if he is not a fictional character but an actual detective from history and as if Conan Doyle did not manipulate both the manuscript and the readers to be fascinated by Holmes' powers of deduction.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Megan Wilcox

    A fascinating book. It was interesting, yes. I enjoyed the snippets and discussion of many different Holmes cases. Contained many fancy psychological terms and applications. I found a few gems of great advice, which I intend to put to good use! An interesting read, if nothing else.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Short

    Cognitive science is interesting to me and I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan, so this book was a sweet spot. The author weaves moments from the Holmes canon into her approach to mindfulness. Konnikova relies on the wealth of literature on the subject and notes it. I like the Holmes illustrations and have long thought there were things to be learned from the stories beyond just the enjoyment of a great character and great stories. She put names to some of the things I have picked up from Holmes, but Cognitive science is interesting to me and I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan, so this book was a sweet spot. The author weaves moments from the Holmes canon into her approach to mindfulness. Konnikova relies on the wealth of literature on the subject and notes it. I like the Holmes illustrations and have long thought there were things to be learned from the stories beyond just the enjoyment of a great character and great stories. She put names to some of the things I have picked up from Holmes, but went much further. Some of the books and authors she referred to I have read, some were already on my to-read list, and I picked up a couple more for the to-read list. So, reading it was a win.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Fans of Sherlock Holmes, detective wannabes, and those who wish to improve their cognitive skills may find “Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes” by Maria Konnikova to be an interesting—and certainly a thought-provoking—read. This nonfiction work tackles the inner functioning and the elements behind the mind of the most well-known detective in literary fiction. Konnikova contrasts what she terms “System Watson” from “System Holmes,” with the former being that which overlooks details and Fans of Sherlock Holmes, detective wannabes, and those who wish to improve their cognitive skills may find “Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes” by Maria Konnikova to be an interesting—and certainly a thought-provoking—read. This nonfiction work tackles the inner functioning and the elements behind the mind of the most well-known detective in literary fiction. Konnikova contrasts what she terms “System Watson” from “System Holmes,” with the former being that which overlooks details and jumps to conclusions based on what seems most likely at the time and the latter being a reflective and disciplined approach which takes everything into consideration before arriving at a conclusion. “Mastermind” can be boiled down into a few pieces of advice for those who want to enter into a more Holmes-like state of mind and thought. The first and most important step is to become mindful, which is easier said than done in the modern era of multitasking. In order to achieve this, Konnikova notes that we must improve our natural attentional abilities by being selective, objective, inclusive, and engaged. We must also always consider every scenario and all evidence, no matter how improbably it may seem because, as Holmes repeatedly admonishes, the improbably is not necessarily impossible. Employing these techniques marks the difference between a static mind such as Watson’s and a dynamic mind such as Holmes’. Overall, “Mastermind” is a stimulating book, although it does have some caveats to consider. As is evident from the fact that it began as a series of scientific articles, this is not a light read by any means. It reads much like a textbook and offers somewhat excessive preliminaries. With the frequent use of such scientific and psychological terms as “affect heuristic,” “reward prediction error,” and “declarative memory,” to name just a few, this book is aimed at a critically-engaged audience who is familiar on some level with technical reading. Readers are not, however, required to have a full arsenal of knowledge regarding the cases of Sherlock Holmes, although this would no doubt enhance the experience, as Konnikova posits many scenarios from Sir Conan Doyle’s stories. The concepts presented are not revelatory, being based mostly on common sense and the art of mindfulness, but the extensive research and background material—including notes for further reading after each chapter and a cumulative index—make for an interesting venture. If it were possible given the current rating system, I would give this book 3.5 stars.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jim Razinha

    Wonderful survey of thought processes and cognitive theories woven within a framework of how the characters Sherlock Holmes and John Watson might approach problem solving. I hope Ms. Konnikova continues to write, because she has a talent like Sagan for making science accessible. I found it less "how to" than the title suggests, rather "here are possibilities why you might think a certain way". I am particularly interested in the additional reading suggestions...the list grows longer with each of Wonderful survey of thought processes and cognitive theories woven within a framework of how the characters Sherlock Holmes and John Watson might approach problem solving. I hope Ms. Konnikova continues to write, because she has a talent like Sagan for making science accessible. I found it less "how to" than the title suggests, rather "here are possibilities why you might think a certain way". I am particularly interested in the additional reading suggestions...the list grows longer with each of these books. And she picked at my own bias against meditation, which she offers as an excellent focusing mechanism; I'll have to investigate further if I think I might be able to take advantage of it. For those expecting an academic treatise, look elsewhere...and more power to you. For me, this was an enjoyable read that sparked follow on reading and thinking.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tanja Berg

    Rating 4 out of 5*. One star deduction only because most of the content was familiar to me from before. Despite this, I found it engrossing. I absolutely loved having Daniel Kahneman's two-system theory presented using Sherlock Holmes (and Watson) as an example. In fact, Maria Konnikova calls the two-system theory "Holmes" and "Watson". The Holmes side of it being mindful, aware of surroundings, careful of prejudice - whereas the "Watson system" is unware, lazy and quick to draw incorrect conclu Rating 4 out of 5*. One star deduction only because most of the content was familiar to me from before. Despite this, I found it engrossing. I absolutely loved having Daniel Kahneman's two-system theory presented using Sherlock Holmes (and Watson) as an example. In fact, Maria Konnikova calls the two-system theory "Holmes" and "Watson". The Holmes side of it being mindful, aware of surroundings, careful of prejudice - whereas the "Watson system" is unware, lazy and quick to draw incorrect conclusions. "It all comes back to that very notion of attention, presence, of mindfulness, of the mindset and the motivation that accopmany us throughout our lives. / We will never be perfect. But we can approach our imperfections mindfully, and in so doing let them make us into more capable thinkers in the long term." Interesting, entertaining and highly recommendable.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I find it annoying when "scientific" evidence is presented to help prove facts, but no notation is provided except a brief suggested reading at the end of the book. Where are the footnotes or endnotes? Where is the specific study that Konnikova is referencing? Also, I have not read a lot of Doyle and I felt like that was another detriment. I find it annoying when "scientific" evidence is presented to help prove facts, but no notation is provided except a brief suggested reading at the end of the book. Where are the footnotes or endnotes? Where is the specific study that Konnikova is referencing? Also, I have not read a lot of Doyle and I felt like that was another detriment.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Quinn

    I had to skim this one, it was pretty boring. It reads a lot like a literary examination of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books. Before you read this book go to page 257 read the paragraph in the middle of the page that starts with "If you only get one thing out of this book..." if you like what you read then start at the beginning and if you get bored put the book down. I had to skim this one, it was pretty boring. It reads a lot like a literary examination of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books. Before you read this book go to page 257 read the paragraph in the middle of the page that starts with "If you only get one thing out of this book..." if you like what you read then start at the beginning and if you get bored put the book down.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eva Jensine

    A truly insightful guide to the human brain, whilst providing a perfect balance between elements of Holmesian tales and provoking cognition to the reader. It is also a great reminder of how to go from mindlessness to mindfulness in today’s world. I will definitely be reading this book again in order to hopefully let the information register definitively!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tarek Omran

    Such a light read yet uncovering interesting psychological concepts and phenomena, while simultaneously tying them to examples from various situations that took place in the fictional world of the infamous novels of Sherlock Holmes 🕵️‍♂️ . Makes me wonder if the detective stories are all that fictional after all? (Fictions are anyway still based on worldly experiences that are a creation of an author that is bound by the same sphere that encloses us all - Planet earth. So no wonder, it fits perf Such a light read yet uncovering interesting psychological concepts and phenomena, while simultaneously tying them to examples from various situations that took place in the fictional world of the infamous novels of Sherlock Holmes 🕵️‍♂️ . Makes me wonder if the detective stories are all that fictional after all? (Fictions are anyway still based on worldly experiences that are a creation of an author that is bound by the same sphere that encloses us all - Planet earth. So no wonder, it fits perfectly into naturally occurring phenomena!) The author (Maria Konnikova) gracefully unravels deep psychological concepts and insights of which I plan to share a couple of them in this review. 1. Misinformation effect: Is a super interesting effect that takes place when you ask somebody to recall a situation from their memory by subtly using suggestive words. For example:- the way we might frame a question about a car accident can actually influence the recall of the accident. If we look at the two questions below: (i) What was the speed of the red car when the accident happened? VS (ii) How fast was the red car at the time of the collision? As you can see the phrase (ii) has a lot of suggestibility and according to the famous Loftus experiment: When the study participants were asked similar questions with carefully placed nudging words, they were more liable to say that it was faster than it actually was, as the brain starts become more suggestible. Research aside, I myself was aware of this and have used something similar to it when collecting feedback from my workshop participants. I would casually ask them about their key takeaways and how they benefited from the workshop *wink*. Hence, enforcing objective self-reflection of the learning outcomes and avoiding them to focus on subjective recall of their negative discomforts which are definitely part of any learning experience. (Yes your honour! Guilty of steering towards positive experiences...sue me!) 2. Conjunction Fallacy: Now this is a concept I ABSOLUTELY LOVE ❣ !! So get this mathematical equation of none-sense below: 1 True/Likely Piece of Information + 1 False/Unlikely Piece of Information = 2 Pieces of Information that together "Feel" like they are MORE TRUE. Let's have a reality check and dive a bit deeper into Conjunction Fallacy. If an article states that: "eating meat everyday is not healthy and that having more vegetables in your diet is healthier" (likely piece of information), then the same article can easily get away with coupling that aforementioned #Truth about meat & veggies with another statement such as: "you need to avoid eating Fish and Eggs because they are equally unhealthy too" (unlikely piece of information). This conjunction fallacy is mainly used by sophists in their arguments. e.g. religious institutions can essentially use likely pieces of information mixed in the same pot with many unlikely pieces of information and present it to us as hard Truths.. Our brains unconscious reaction to this is usually...ummm, well, PLAUSIBLE 😃 ? A phrase that Maria Konnikova repeatedly mentions is one of my favourites: "The Improbable is not Impossible". That is something to tell us to keep a flexible mind and be open to possibilities instead of doing things the good ol' way and being rigid with our ideologies. All in all is a good read and touches upon Daniel Kahneman like every other book that takes about psychology and human behaviour. Grab it, read it and become more mindful, because that's all it takes to overcome the lazy wirings that can turn us astray.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.