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.
"Ingenious...thoughtful...covers a wide variety of material clearly and organizes it well." (The 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 detection...practical, enjoyable book, packed with modern science." (The Boston Globe)
"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, "Required Reading")
"Devotees of Arthur Conan Doyle's conundrum-cracker will be thrilled by this portmanteau of strategies for sharpening cognitive ability." (Nature)
"Weaving together the fictional detective's cases and modern day neuroscience...important for solving cases or simply staying sharp as we age." (Psychology Today)
"Based on modern neuroscience and psychology, the book explores Holmes's aptitude for mindfulness, logical thinking and observation...shares strategies that can lead to clearer thinking...help people become more self-aware" (Washington Post)
"MASTERMIND is the book I didn't realize I was waiting for...surprising and ingenious...a gift to all readers interested in Conan Doyle, mysteries and scientific thinking as well as those who simply want to be more self-aware about the inner workings of our minds." (Matthew Pearl, New York Times-bestselling author of *The Dante Club)*
"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, Starred Review)
"Bright and entertaining ... Will enthrall Baker Street aficionados while introducing many readers to the mindful way of life." (Kirkus Reviews)
From the Back Cover
"A delightful tour of the science of memory, creativity, and reasoning, illustrated with the help of history's most famous reasoner, Sherlock Holmes himself. Maria Konnikova is an engaging and insightful guide to this fascinating material, which will help you master your own mind." (Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Stuff of Thought)
"Far from elementary, Maria Konnikova's new book is a challenging and insightful study of the human mind, illustrated with cases from the career of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes himself would have been proud to author this fine work!" (Leslie S. Klinger, New York Times-best-selling author/editor of *The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes*)
"Maria Konnikova's bright and brilliant new book is nothing less than a primer on how be awake, a manual on how to work ourselves free of our unconscious biases, our habitual distractions, and the muddle of our everyday minds. Holmes fan or not, the reader will find Mastermind to be bracing, fascinating, and above all -- and most important -- hopeful." (Daniel Smith, author of *Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety*)
"'You know my methods,' Sherlock Holmes once said to Dr. Watson. 'Apply them!' Science writer Maria Konnikova has made those instructions the inspiration for what turns out to be a delightfully intelligent book. Using Holmes and Watson as both muse and metaphor, she shows us some of modern psychology's most important lessons for using our minds well. I probably won't be able to solve murders after having read Mastermind, but I will have much to reflect on." (Carl Zimmer, author of Soul Made Flesh and *Parasite Rex*)