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Book Review

‘Mastermind’ by Maria Konnikova

Discovering the Sherlock Holmes in all of us

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 deduction. Psychologist and author Maria Konnikova (who cites Pinker as a mentor) goes on to explain how we, too, can learn to develop
Holmes’s habits of mind and how that training can help us make better decisions in our own lives.

Konnikova grew up in Russia listening to her father read Sherlock Holmes stories at bedtime, the beginning of her lifelong fascination with both Holmes and the human mind. She organizes her book beautifully, showing Holmes in action from Doyle’s stories and then tracing his patterns and methods of inquiry through the lens of the latest findings of neuroscience and psychology.

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