Book List: Mastermind–How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


Holmes’s trick is to treat every thought, every experience, and every perception the way he would a pink elephant. In other words, begin with a healthy dose of skepticism instead of the credulity that is in your mind’s natural state of being. Don’t just assume anything is the way it is. Think of everything as being as absurd as an animal that can’t possibly exist in nature
— excerpt from Part 1: Chapter 1 of Mastermind by Maria Konnikova

With the rapid rise in popularity of shows like the BBC's mini-series Sherlock and the more mainstream Elementary, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional detective has reached a level of fame that surpasses even the widespread attention that he received when the Sherlock Holmes stories were first written. 

His detachment to the reality around him, and the quirks that come along with his character, combine to make him a fascinating figure, but the real reason we are so drawn to Holmes is because of his extraordinary intellect and ability to solve even the most complicated of cases.

The question that Maria Konnikova explores in her book Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes, is whether or not his talent for deductive reasoning is simply a gift of fiction, or something that we can learn to cultivate in order to improve our lives.

A psychologist, journalist, and Sherlock Holmes expert, Konnikova believes that this talent can be learned and in the book, she shows us how with "self-awareness and a little practice" we can use the same methods as Holmes to increase our perceptions, solve seemingly unsolvable problems, and elevate our creativity.

Though this is not the best book to pick up right before bed (it makes you think too much!), it is definitely worth picking up! Check it out and let me know what you think!