Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes
By: Maria Konnikova
Penguin Books (December 31, 2013)
The subtitle of Mastermind says it perfectly. This book is about thinking like Sherlock Holmes. Author Maria Konnikova began reading/listening to Sherlock Holmes as a child and developed a love for his way of thinking. But don’t we all share that? Even if your only exposure to “Sherlock Holmes” is in the movies – or maybe you know him by reputation only – everyone knows that Detective Holmes has a way of seeing things that others don’t. He puts together pieces no one else would consider and disregards what seems obvious to others. Holmes does not waste a second of brainpower on something inconsequential – yet hyper-focuses on the smallest detail that moves the issue forward. We could all be more like that.
Two of my favorite quotes:
Remember: specific, mindful motivation matters. It matters a great deal. We have to frame our goals ahead of time. Let them inform how we proceed. Let them inform how we allocate our precious cognitive resources. We have to think them through, write them down, to make sure they are as clear-cut as they can possibly be.
What Sherlock Holmes offers isn’t just a way of solving crime. It is an entire way of thinking, a mindset that can be applied to countless enterprises far removed from the foggy streets of the London underworld. It is an approach born out of the scientific method that transcends science and crime both and can serve as a model for thinking, a way of being, even, just as powerful in our time as it was in Conan Doyle’s. And that, I would argue, is the secret to Holmes’s enduring, overwhelming, and ubiquitous appeal.