Sunday 4 May 2014

Book Review: Mastermind - How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova

Title: Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes
Author: Maria Konnikova
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: Bought Copy
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 No fictional character is more renowned for his 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 at 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.

Mastermind is an entertaining and thought-provoking book that I really enjoyed reading. It is firmly based in psychology and the way the mind works, but also features many quotes and references to the books and the TV series. This means it should appeal to students of psychology, those looking to improve their memory and/or observation skills and those who are simply fans of the books or show alike.

Konnikova's prose is very readable and she presents her ideas and explanations in a clear and concise manner so they could be understood by both expert and layman.

All up, Mastermind is a delightful work and one I am sure I'll refer back to in the future as I try to improve my own mental capabilities.

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