Nonfic Feature – January: Mastermind by Maria Konnikova

From the jacket:

No fictional character is more renowned for is 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 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. At once a fascinating lesson in psychology and a tour through Holmes’s most entertaining cases, Mastermind is a master class in elevating our thinking to the highest level.

Looking forward to this because . . .

Sherlock Holmes! But of course, you knew that.

I actually found this one while googling “how to be like Sherlock Holmes” (which stemmed from a Google search for “how to be like Mozzie in White Collar” because that’s what information junkies like to do. We research stuff) and I stumbled upon this article on PsychologyToday.com. It mentioned two books on Sherlock Holmes, the other being The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics by James F. Obrien (and though this sounds really interesting, and I’m not being sarcastic, Konnikova’s book is more in line with what interests me), along with eight strategies to be more like him. I skimmed over the strategies because my mind couldn’t let go of looking into Konnikova’s book.

Which brings me to . . .

Page 46. Chapter two of a 4-part book.

And I’m still intrigued.

Konnikova is doing a really good job comparing Sherlock’s thinking, a fictional character, to our default way of thinking, which is very real. She puts Sherlock’s thinking and methods into current research and facts and you can see reason in her comparisons. It’s making sense and that is always exciting since I’m actually being taught something. And what makes this even better is she demonstrates her points by walking us through Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories of Sherlock and Watson. Since I’m only 46 pages in, Konnikova has only started one case so far, but it’s enough to keep me going.

Snippets of what captured my interest in reading this far:

” […] never mistaken mindlessness for mindfulness […]” 

“At any given moment, you only thinking you know what you know. But what you really know is what you can recall.” 

“If we remembered everything, we should on most occasions be as ill off as we remembered nothing.” (Konnikova quoting William James)

 

 

Picture Credit: MariaKonnikova.com

#JustSayin