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

TV 411: BBC’s Sherlock, The Abominable Bride

sherlockCreated by: Mark Gatiss & Steven Moffat
Network: BBC
Show Debut: 2010
On Air: 2010 – present
Episode Title: The Abominable Bride
Episode Debut: Jan 1, 2016

What a heart-stopping episode! I usually try to stay away from anything that would scare me, like all things that fall in the horror genre, because I have an overactive imagination. Understanding what The Abominable Bride was all about, you would expect to be prepared. NOT! It was a chilling experience. A good, excited, all things I expected from this series, kind of experience, but still, chilling. From the first 10 minutes!

*** SPOILER ALERT for the rest of this post ***

Episode Story Arch:

The story starts off in 1890s London (which is one of my favorite eras) with Sherlock and Watson being approached by Lestrade with a very troubling case. That’s not unusual and pretty much how things normally start for this detective duo, but the troubling part is, well, troubling. drum roll plus spoiler alert warning: Someone was killed by a someone who was already declared dead gasp! So off Sherlock and Watson go, trying to figure out how a ghost can kill someone and they are trying to solve it with a community where some people still strongly believe in superstitions and all things paranormal.

The breakdown:

I absolutely love this episode.

We start with the story line. I enjoy the fact that this case is taking place in 19th century London. A time before some of the technological advancements of the time and strong believers in superstitions within the community. Where ghosts weren’t too far-fetched and almost plausible. The story keeps a consistent pace and does a nice job weaving in the pieces of the story to create the entire plot. In addition to that, this episode also ties itself to “present day” Sherlock and Watson story lines such as Mary Watson and Moriarty. And my favorite thing about this episode is the blend of past and present. It’s almost like 19th century Sherlock and Watson is running parallel to present day Sherlock and Watson, solving a similar case or, well, a similar problem. The blend of both timelines, stories, and themes was so much fun to watch and put together in a way that just worked. Sherlock and Watson have a moment, the in 19th century time line, where Watson touches on Sherlock’s … love life so to speak, which was a nice play on their friendship side of things. After all, Watson is married and, well, that’s that. With season four on its way, you know Sherlock’s character development has to evolve in some ways, whether he sticks on that trajectory and makes it back to his single self it will be interesting to see how they follow up on this.

As always, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) and Martin Freeman (Watson) continue their great on screen chemistry as friends and colleagues. In addition, you have Amanda Abbington (Mary) and Mark Gatiss (Mycroft) making an appearance as well as Rupert Graves (Lestrade) and even Andrew Scott (Moriarty) in this episode. Oh, and Louise Brealey (Molly) is in this one as well and I love the part she played and how they portrayed her … well, I’ll stop here. I also love this episode because it was interesting to see how Cumberbatch and Freeman portray their personalities across two time periods. How their 19th century counterparts would react to the world around them yet keeping true to their distinct personalities. They did wonderfully, all those who played both timelines. And I have to say, Natasha O’Keeffe, our Abominable Bride was excellent! I mean, chills. Enough said.

And, since I’ve gushed on about the two time periods, may as well continue that into presentation. The set directors and costume designers did a great job giving us the feel of two distinct eras. I’m not an expert on historical accuracy, yet, and even if I was I wouldn’t nitpick here because it was done well enough for me to discern 19th century timeline and 21st century timeline. Camera and sound work were awesome. I know it takes a combination of costume and camera work to give viewers the chills, of course delivery is crucial as well, and they did it well.

I can’t wait to see what comes next. Especially with Sherlock’s whole “I said Moriarty was back not alive” bit at the end of the episode. What does that mean?! Ugh! Season 4 cannot come soon enough.

Movie 411: Trailer Alert – Mr Holmes

Yay! A new Sherlock Holmes movie? I can’t wait. And it’s like newguy87 said, this story actually looks like an original Holmes storyline. Even better.