🕵️‍♂️ Mastermind: Design

In honor of her new book, The Biggest Bluff, we will spend this week revisiting Maria Konnikova’s book Mastermind: How to think like Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlocks Holmes is often imitated, never duplicated If we want to be more like Sherlock and rely less on dumb luck, we’ll need to approach our thinking like someone might approach their cooking. There are skills to learn and tools to acquire. 

Most of our mental lofts are little like the distinct detective. We act simply, relying on the availability tendency (neé bias) and fail to dig deep to consider other things. Life is complex, and there’s often more than one ‘right way’. Unfortunately, school conditioned many of us to rely on the one-right-answer approach. Instead, we can consider Rory Sutherland’s suggestion that “the opposite of one good idea may be another good idea.” 

One way to do this is to force a quantity of solutions. How might this situation be solved if we had ten times the money or one-tenth? What if the solution was compressed to one-weekend? How would a marketer solve this? What about an engineer?

“The trick is to train your brain to move past that part of the immediate reward, to find the uncertainty of the future rewarding in itself.” 

We could brute force our process but good design makes it easier. We need to think about exploring the solution space, not settling.