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BOOK REVIEW: Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova

Review by Alexandra Witze

By
12:41pm, February 7, 2013

Who wouldn’t want to think like Sherlock Holmes? Just imagine all the mysteries one could solve: nabbing murderers, foiling villains and locating prize racehorses.

So too might one conquer everyday puzzles, like finding lost car keys. Konnikova, a writer and psychologist, argues that even the dimmest among us can benefit from Sherlockian strategies.

It all sounds a bit self-helpy, but Konnikova unpacks the science behind the brain’s process of deduction and how it can falter. Patients with a severed connection between the halves of the brain, for instance, are able to connect facts in ways that seem logical but that don’t actually reflect reality. And volunteers incorrectly rank statements packed with more but spurious details as more reliable than statements with fewer but more truthful ones.

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