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Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes

Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes [Kindle Edition]

Maria Konnikova
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* Fascinating...A delightful tour of the science of memory, creativity and reasoning -- Steven Pinker * An entertaining blend of Holmesiana and modern-day neuroscience New York Times * Here is a giant helping of Daniel Kahnemann, a tincture of Atul Gawande, a whiff of Nassim Taleb, a dollop of Jonah Lehrer...and the whole assemblage served, Heston Blumenthal-style, in a deerstalker hat -- Sam Leith Guardian * Devotees of Arthur Conan Doyle's conundrum-cracker will be thrilled by this portmanteau of strategies for sharpening cognitive ability Nature * Serves the non-Holmes aficionado as a route into the stories without any spoilers. And for those of us who have enjoyed the intellectual might of the great detective before, it gives us a fresh insight into Conan Doyle's deductive masterpieces We Love This Book * Steven Pinker meets Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in this entertaining, insightful look at how the fictional London crime-solver used sophisticated mental strategies to solve complex problems of logic and deduction...This practical, enjoyable book, packed with modern science and real-life examples, shows you how to get your inner Holmes on and is worth at least a few hours of pipe-smoking reflection in a comfortable leather chair Boston Globe * Bright and entertaining ... Will enthrall Baker Street aficionados while introducing many readers to the mindful way of life Kirkus * Not for Baker Street Irregulars alone, this fascinating look at how the mind works-replete with real-life case studies and engaging thought experiments-will be an eye-opening education for many Publisher's Weekly * Konnikova's aim is not to make us better at solving crimes but to turn us into sharper and more creative problem solvers in our everyday lives. She offers numerous research-based, easy-to-follow suggestions for improving our awareness Toronto Star * a good self-help guide for clearer thinking, setting a clear framework to train your mind to think and approach problems like Holmes would, as well as a unique approach towards Holmes for anyone interested in the detective himself -- Sam Harby Nudge * With wit and real flair, Konnikova suggests that by properly harnessing the great detective's [Sherlock Holmes] methods we can significantly improve our mental ability... Konnikova offers a way to turbo-charge our mental faculties, enhancing creative thinking and developing our powers of logic Good Book Guide


What is it that separates Sherlock Holmes from his long-suffering friend and side-kick Dr John Watson? What makes Holmes such a superior detective, able to piece together clues and solve problems that seem elementary to Watson only in hindsight? And can we - most of us Watsons ourselves - ever harness a bit of Holmes's extraordinary powers of mind, not to solve crimes, but simply to improve our lives at work and home?

The answer is yes, and in Mastermind, psychologist Maria Konnikova shows us how. Using plots and passages from the wonderfully entertaining Holmes stories, she illuminates how Arthur Conan Doyle's detective embodies an ever-present mindfulness, and how this active mental disposition proves foundational to his success. Beginning with Holmes's concept of the 'brain attic' - a metaphor for the information we choose to store in the mind and how we organise our knowledge, Konnikova unpacks the mental strategies that lead to clearer thinking and deeper insights. Moving through principles of logic and deduction, creativity and imagination, Mastermind puts 21st century neuroscience and psychology in service of understanding Holmes's methods. With some self-awareness and a little practice, we can all employ these methods to develop better strategies, solve difficult problems and enhance our creative powers.

Writing for Holmes fans and casual readers alike, Konnikova has translated what so many of us love about the great detective into a remarkable guide to upgrading the mind.


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4.0 von 5 Sternen A Brief Summary and Review 22. Januar 2013
*A full executive summary of this book will be available at newbooksinbrief dot com, on or before Monday, January 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.
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Von Donald Mitchell TOP 500 REZENSENT
"My son, be wise, and make my heart glad," -- Proverbs 27:11 (NKJV)

Mastermind doesn't quite fit into any category that I know. It's not a book about science. If it were, there would be a lot more science in it. It's not a self-help book. If it were, there would be a great many tools to apply along with exercises. It's not a pop culture book. If it were, the references would be to some character or person more contemporary than Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

To me, the book came closest to being that most wonderful of all books, a sincere homage designed to bring new reasons to appreciate a writer and his creations. Maria Konnikova uses scientific research and simple observations about psychology to validate the approaches used by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in writing the Holmes books and stories. Reading Mastermind made me want to re-read the whole series again. Fortunately, I have a complete set in my library.

So if you can't get enough of Sherlock Holmes and his methods, Mastermind will be a source of new reasons to enjoy those fictional outings. If, instead, you want to learn about how to make better decisions, you'll find better books elsewhere.

In recent years I've found that books about Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tend to be on the debunking side. I enjoyed reading a book like this one that might have been written by a zealous defense attorney with good communication skills.

Have fun!
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Brilliant book 6. Juli 2014
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Maria Konnikova is a brilliant author and her writing is both enjoyable and informative.

This book offers some very interesting insights into our cognitive process and how we might be able
to alter it in order to become more efficient, mindful and observant.

Some themes of the book are reminiscent of the excellent book "Thinking, fast and slow" by Daniel Kahnemann,
albeit written in a less dry and more easily digestible style. The book points out inherent biases ("heuristics" in Kahnemanns book)
that oftentimes affect our judgement without us being aware of it. These biases might however be conquered by being explicitely
aware of them, thereby enhancing our congnitive process.

There are many more interesting themes in the book that I will not mention here, I just recommend that you buy it and enjoy for yourself, especially if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes (be it the classic novels or the TV-Series).
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.0 von 5 Sternen  125 Rezensionen
291 von 305 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent title, but slightly disappointing content 25. Januar 2013
Von Michael S. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
The first thing that strikes you as you read through the book is that it feels like a collection of essays and articles stretched into a book more than a fluid book itself. Indeed, Mastermind was based on a series of articles that the author wrote for two different web sites: Big Think and Scientific American.

Another issue with the book is that it isn't quite sure if it wants to be a psychology book, explaining key cognitive concepts through the framework of Sherlock Holmes, or a pop culture book, looking at what Sherlock Holmes can tell us about cognition and psychology. As a result, it fails to really be either. The book alternates between analyzing the deductive prowess of Sherlock Holmes and explaining current research in cognitive psychology, but the switch between the two is sometimes jarring. There isn't a fluid amalgamation of the two. Furthermore, it struggles to be an elaborate analysis of Holmes' deductive reasoning, with latter chapters reframing concepts from earlier ones. The book takes a very long time to explain too few concepts that require less detail than what is actually given.

The book ultimately might be mistitled. One would expect a book subtitled "How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes" to actually have instructive steps and exercises, but it does not. The only clear recommendation is to maintain a journal. Other elements are analyzed, but no actual instructions are given on how to successfully implement them in daily life. For example, after reading extensively about mindfulness, you really only come away with the idea that you have to be more mindful, and very little on how exactly to set up a successful regimen to train yourself to be more mindful.

Most of the book can be summed up with the idea of simply being mindful of your surroundings and your thinking methodology - essentially meta-thinking - yet the book only approaches a few key elements of critical thinking, and there is not enough of an examination of the actual process of deductive reasoning. It talks about imagination and knowing your own weaknesses, but fails to cover any significant ground on memory techniques to improve recall. Holmes wasn't just a great deductive logician, but also had a keen memory.

Lastly, much of the final chapter seems like it was tacked on for good measure, but it was wholly unnecessary. In fact, the final chapter is mostly an examination of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's spiritualism and foray into a faerie investigation. Konnikova seems almost apologetic for Doyle's folly, asking us to remember to see things through the context of Doyle's life and surroundings. It seemed vastly out of place.

Mastermind is an excellent choice for those who are fans of Sherlock Holmes and want to see how his abilities relate to cognitive psychology, but if you've taken a college level course on memory and learning, you'll already be familiar with the concepts presented in this book. If you're looking for instructions on how to actually think like Sherlock Holmes, you'll come away with about four or five ideas to ponder as you think about your own thought processes, but ultimately you'll want to examine reasoning and critical thinking topics in other books for more details.
112 von 122 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen Sorry I Fell for This One 29. April 2013
Von T. Hampton - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I pre-ordered this in a moment of weakness after reading an article about it. There isn't much to it. Of course, Sherlock's powers are observation are keen; he is a fictional character and the stories would suffer if he wasn't. So the self-contradictory lessons of this book, boiled down: (1) focus on the important things and disregard any distractions, and (2) but be keenly aware of the totality of your surroundings, and details no matter how trivial. No great practical advice on how to do either, even if you could. Skip this book.
37 von 42 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Good as an introduction but rather tiresome if this isn't your first go at this topic 14. Mai 2013
Von Rob Slaven - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
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.
115 von 142 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Be your own Holmes! 3. Januar 2013
Von imfrom51 - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
In the past few years, there has been a huge resurgence of all things Holmes. But Conan Doyles most famous character has been with us since 1887 and has never really left the public's imagination. In fact, The Guinness World Records has consistently listed Sherlock Holmes as the "most portrayed movie character with more than 70 actors playing the part in over 200 films. In Maria Konnilovas latest book, he (and of course, Watson) are now themselves investigated and used as prime examples on thinking, deduction, observation, and much more.

Marias book is a "great twist" on a popular subject that too, is very much in the public eye. How can we change ourselves, our thinking, and our surroundings for the better. Maria suggests that we spend much of our time in a Watson mode of thinking. Basically this means we are not really paying attention, and hence our thinking and then our actions are hasty and not thought out. The Holmes way is, well, as Sherlock thinks. Methodical, thought out, and evidence based. She uses many examples from the novels to explain and illustrate well documented problems with how we think, and how we can, perhaps, change for the better.

Mastermind is broken into 4 main areas: Understanding yourself. From observation to imagination. The art of deduction. The science and art of self knowledge. Each of these parts are the detailed into smaller chapters, which go into greater detail.

Having a background in the Holmes novels makes this a fantastic read. If you have never read one, this book would be a tough and uninteresting read, as Maria uses many examples from the stories to explain her thoughts. Without this knowledge, it would be hard to make head nor tail of what is going on. Thankfully, what with the BBC's Sherlock, CBS Elementary and Granada's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, this preknowledge can be come by in a entertaining way.

For me, this is not a one time read. There is a LOT to take in and think about (which this book helps your deal with), and put into action! It's not a book to be taken sitting down. There is work to do, and to think like Holmes is no easy task. It takes effort, practice, and meditation, all of which Maria discusses in depth. There were a good many times, that, as I read, would stop after just one sentence and soak it in. Love it!

This is a well thought out, researched and organized book on unpacking our minds to clearer and deeper insights. At first glance, it would seem that Maria is taking a too light hearted approach. But that is not the case. Though the book rolls along at a smooth and easy pace, there is no indications that she takes the subject lightly. By using personal experiences, Holmes and Watson, and real world scientific studies, Maria melds all these into small manageable bites. For me, this worked very well. It's easy to go back and re-read parts that you didn't digest the first ( or second time) around.

So, for example, in explaining how to improve our observation skills, Maria first uses the incident of when Holmes and Watson first meet, and how he knows Watson has been living in Afghanistan. She then goes on to break his method down into 4 parts: Being Selective, Objective, Inclusive, and Engaged. Within each of these sub topics, more Holmes and Watson stories are told and dissected for our edification.

As Holmes says in his first adventure " There is nothing new under the sun. It has all been done before." And though this is true of MasterMind, that doesn't mean you can't benefit and learn something. Maria has taken the subject of improving our thinking skills and added a fresh, new angle. It's not only a great read, but has much that can be used, if time and practice are applied. Enjoy!
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4.0 von 5 Sternen a fun and inspiring way to learn about psychology 9. Januar 2013
Von K. Wilkins - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Can you learn to think like Sherlock Holmes? Drawing on both anecdotes from Holmes stories and exciting studies in psychology, author Maria Konnikova suggests ways in which you can. She's clearly familiar with and enthusiastic about both her topics - Homes and the psychology behind his way of thinking - and she does a great job making you feel her enthusiasm too. As someone who understands loving a good book, she had me from her description of her first experience with Holmes. She also integrated real-world, relatable examples with her Holmes/Conan Doyle anecdotes and the psychology studies in a way that constantly piqued my interest.

The book mostly flowed very well and I always enjoyed reading it. However, the book sometimes got a little wordy, particularly where there were long descriptions of a list of items. To help me always see where the author was going with her descriptions, a road map in the intro would have been useful. A summary of her most important pieces of advice would also have made the book more usable. Despite occasional problems figuring out how each piece fit together, I do feel like I came away from this book with some valuable advice, particularly the author's emphasis on mindfulness. As the author acknowledges, mindfulness is a pretty common theme in self-help these days, but the way she presents it is unusually fun and appealing.

In fact, while this isn't the most usable as a self-help book, it's exciting and enjoyable in a different way. The author does a spectacular job explaining psychology concepts in clear way and her real world examples make me want to take action on her suggestions even though they aren't spelled out in a self-help sort of way. And any bibliophile will appreciate her love of Holmes and the excitement of possibly being able to replicate his way of thinking. What I mostly took away from the book was the need to be more mindful, particularly of your own thought-process, plus a new appreciation for Sherlock Holmes. So, of course, I would highly recommend this to any Sherlock Holmes fans. But I would also recommend it to any one who wants to be more aware of the world around them and to any one who needs to make logical decisions at work, especially other scientists.
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