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.
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 508 g
Dimensions: 240 x 161 x 26 mm
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 * Ingenious... thoughtful... covers a wide variety of material clearly and organizes it well * Wall Street Journal * 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 * Based on modern neuroscience and psychology, the book explores Holmes's aptitude for mindfulness, logical thinking and observation... * Washington Post * 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 * A treatise on how the Watsons of the world can smarten up...culled from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original works and cutting-edge psych research * New York Post * Weaving together the fictional detective's cases and modern day neuroscience... important for solving cases or simply staying sharp as we age * Psychology Today * The book is part literary analysis and part self-help guide, teaching readers how to sharpen the ways they observe the world, store and retrieve memories, and make decisions * Scientific American * Ms Konnikova has that rare ability to make the complex easily understandable. And enjoyable, too. The reader is enlightened, and also entertained * Business Times * An entertaining and perhaps surprisingly practical guide to being more observant. Like Holmes, she eschews emotional responses for intellectual ones * Independent *