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Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes

Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes - Maria Konnikova 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.

This review first published on Doing Dewey.