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OPERATION MASTERMIND BOOK

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Operation Mastermind Book

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Operation mastermind

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Meth, Murder, and Pirates: The Coder Who Became a Crime Boss

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More importantly, it is an approach to thinking that can extend well beyond sleuthing. Indeed, it is a general approach that can help us get at the truth in virtually any matter, as well as help us solve virtually any problem. It is simply a matter of bringing a little science to the art of thinking—and it is this very thing that Konnikova aims to help us achieve in her new book Mastermind: How to Think like Sherlock Holmes. Background knowledge; 2. Observation; 3.

Imagination; and 4. To begin with, Holmes keeps an extensive and well-organized knowledge base to help him solve new cases. Second, Holmes uses careful, mindful, and unbiased observation to glean what is important about the various characters and circumstances of each case. Next, Holmes uses the evidence that he has gathered—in conjunction with his far-reaching though disciplined imagination—to formulate multiple scenarios that could explain the mystery. While this approach seems straightforward enough, it is easier said than done.

Indeed, our minds can and often do go wrong at any one of the steps. Konnikova construes it like this: our minds have two distinct modes of thought. The first of these modes operates quickly and automatically.

It is our default mode, in that it is the one that we rely on as a matter of course. While it may be quick and effortless, it is also very error-prone.

Our second mode of thought is slower and more deliberate. Still, Konnikova contends that activating the second mode is worth the effort. In addition, she points out numerous tricks and pointers that can help us use our Holmesian system to best advantage in order to overcome these errors exemplified by still other psychological experiments.

In the end, it is really a matter of being ever mindful and careful in our thinking, and this is something that we could all certainly do more of. The Two Modes of Thinking: The Watsonian Mode and the Holmesian Mode In order to get where we want in life we need an accurate picture of the world before us, as well as the ability to solve the problems that we face.

Now, our minds naturally work at these things as a matter of course. Indeed, the brain is constantly surveying the environment, and forming quick impressions and judgements of what it takes in; which impressions and judgments influence our understanding and decisions loc.

However, our brains are not always so rigorous in how they operate. Indeed, the mode of thinking that we normally work under is full of shortcuts and biases that often run at cross purposes to the goals we want to achieve as we shall soon see.

Ultimately, while this default mode of ours may be quick at forming impressions and judgments, and handles our day to day affairs well enough, it often sacrifices accuracy in the process—and this can lead to less than ideal results loc. Now, it is certainly possible for us to go beyond this default mode of ours, and to be more conscious of how we engage with the world, and more rigorous in our thinking.

In other words, in addition to our default mode of thought, we have access to a second mode of thinking with which to negotiate the world. One system is fast, intuitive, reactionary—a kind of constant fight-or-flight vigilance of the mind. While this second mode of thinking is slower and more effortful than our default mode, it has the potential to be far more accurate.

Indeed, it is able to cut out the shortcuts and biases that plague our default mode, and so stands to yield great gains as a result.

However, activating our second mode of thinking is not something that many of us do as much as we could or should. The latter part of the quote above helps explain why: our second mode of thinking takes more effort than our default mode, and the simple fact of the matter is that we tend to be lazy. That is, our default mode tends to allow us to get by well enough, thank you very much; and therefore, we may often see little reason to move beyond it. For Konnikova, though, when we look at the matter objectively, and weigh all the evidence, we should come to the conclusion that making more use of our second mode of thinking really is worth the effort.

This may sound like a monumental effort indeed. However, Konnikova contends that it is not really so bad as it sounds. This proves to be the case since the more we make use of our second mode of thinking, the more habitual it becomes; until, finally, with enough practice, mode two becomes our default mode loc. It is this, effectively, that Sherlock Holmes has been able to do: thinking in mode two has become second nature to him loc.

Watson, on the other hand, remains firmly rooted in mode one loc. Indeed, to begin with, Conan Doyle based his Sherlock Holmes on a real-life acquaintance. The following is a very good documentary about Dr. In other words, while all of us are equipped with both modes of thinking, one or the other will dominate in each of us; and it is up to us to decide which one it will be.

Since Watson remains stuck in the original default mode of thinking, while Holmes has managed to elevate himself to mode two, Konnikova refers to the different modes of thinking as Watsonian and Holmesian respectively loc. Those interested in pursuing this topic further may be interested in my Summary of Thinking, Fast and Slow.

Now, when we take rigorous, methodical and rational thinking to its extreme, this is really nothing more nor less than the scientific method in action loc. And indeed, when Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes, this is precisely what he had in mind. It is an entire way of thinking, a mindset that can be applied to countless enterprises far removed from the foggy streets of the London underworld.

These are, essentially, the very steps that Holmes practices as he goes about solving a crime.

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Specifically, Holmes begins by way of making observations about the case including the cast of characters involved loc. And voila, he is able to draw his conclusion loc. When it comes to getting at the truth of a matter, or solving a problem, this is roughly the procedure that most of us follow as well. That is, we begin by way of considering certain bits of information; we then come up with a way of explaining the phenomenon, or a way of solving the problem we are faced with; and then we try as best we can to fit the hypothesis or solution to our conundrum.

Of course, the difference between us and Holmes is that Holmes is far more regimented and rigorous i. So, how does he do it? Rather, it begins with the extensive background knowledge that he keeps, and which allows him to perceive what he sees in an insightful way loc.

Of course, we too keep a vast store of knowledge in our minds. Indeed, the brain continually processes information, and selects certain pieces to be stored away in our long-term memory, while it discards others loc. Now, the difference between how most of us stock our brain attic that is, how we file information into long-term memory , and how Holmes does this, is that most of us allow our brains to do it automatically, whereas Holmes does this consciously and deliberately, and based on his own goals—which can be very different from that of the brain on auto pilot.

Holmes, on the other hand, makes a conscious effort to remember those aspects of each case that will help him with future cases loc. The research agrees: the brain stores information automatically, but this process can be commandeered and altered by conscious intention loc.

Of course, we should never expect to wrest control of our memory-formation system entirely. In order to take more control of our memory-formation system, it really begins with being consciously aware of the purposes that we have, and making an explicit effort to remember those things that may mesh with these purposes loc.

However, there are other tricks that can help us here. Finally, remembering new knowledge is also aided by making an explicit effort to connect it to our existing knowledge-base loc. For example, if we are trying to remember the details of a particularly gruesome crime scene work with me here , it may help to explicitly bring to mind the details of other gruesome crime scenes loc.

The reason why this works seems to have to do with the fact that memory works according to a system of associations, such that each memory is connected to other memories that are similar to it in some way, or have been connected to it through experience loc.

By bringing up related information in the context of information we are trying to remember, we effectively link up the new information to the old the linking occurs right down to the level of physical connections forming between neurons [loc.

By making a conscious effort to direct what information our brains store, and how this information is organized, we can greatly enhance both our knowledge-base and our ability to retrieve our memories. But what about the ability to make the most of what we perceive? Can we really become as perceptive as Holmes, and if so How? Let us find out. To take the most famous example, Holmes is able to tell, just by looking at the man upon first meeting him, that Watson is a military doctor, freshly come from Afghanistan.

Watson is astonished at the insight, and inquires into how Holmes could possibly have deduced this. From long habit the train of thoughts ran so swiftly through my mind that I arrived at the conclusion without being conscious of intermediate steps.

There were such steps, however. Clearly an army doctor, then. He has just come from the tropics, for his face is dark, and that is not the natural tint of his skin, for his wrists are fair.

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In the purely logical sense, deduction is the arrival at a specific instance from a general principle. Indeed, the mode of thinking that we normally work under is full of shortcuts and biases that often run at cross purposes to the goals we want to achieve as we shall soon see. Subjects Readers -- 20th century.

In a lake there is a patch of lily pads. As the meeting winds down, Paul flashes a hint of his technical prowess, offering to send Pepe mobile phones that he has set up with encryption software to allow the two organizations to communicate securely. Of course, we too keep a vast store of knowledge in our minds.

Sherlock Holmes, by contrast, does not jump to conclusions.

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