Master Class

We skimmed the book so you wouldn’t have to

Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, by Maria Konnikova (Viking) $26.95

Train yourself to be a better decision-maker. “For instance, use a checklist when hiring a candidate for a job instead of relying on your impression,” writes Konnikova. As Holmes proves time and again, there’s no benefit to jumping to conclusions. p73

Bolster your memory by recreating events to a friend. “Much like Holmes talks his theories through out loud to Watson,” writes Konnikova, “gaps and inconsistencies that weren’t apparent before come to the surface.” p88

Gain some perspective. Getting psychological distance from your work “may be one of the single most important steps” you can take to improve mental acuity. “It engages ‘System Holmes,’ ” she writes. “Individuals who employ distancing in problem-solving scenarios emerge ahead of their more immersed counterparts.” p130

Light a pipe, sit back, and silently reflect. “[Holmes] the hunter knows when to quiet his mind,” she writes. “The world is a distracting place. It will never quiet down for you. ... Without that occasional silence, there can be little hope of a successful hunt.” p245

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