Sherlock Holmes is definitely one of the most admired and loved characters in all literature. The short and long stories featuring him are classics and deservedly so. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote these stories while he was waiting for patients for his medical practice. But people world over still think that he was a real person. Even today people visit Baker Street in London hoping to experience and see London the way he perceived it.
When I was studying for my Chartered Accountancy examinations my mentor suggested that I read Sherlock Holmes stories to help me think deductively and logically. I was not mature in those days. I read the books that he suggested but only for enjoyment. But the implication is clear; to be a competent Chartered Accountant it will help if you learn to think like Sherlock Holmes.
So how do we use these short and long stories to change the way we think?
The answer is simple. Read and reread these stories repeatedly. I knew another Chartered Accountant who borrowed my Sherlock Holmes book to read. He returned it in a couple of months after finishing the stories. I don’t think that he benefited much from this effort.
You need to read and reread and reread the same books over and over. Aim to read them a hundred times. Two hundred times is better still. Best is to keep reading and rereading and not keep a count.
Now this is the key. Do not try to analyse as you read. If you like you can list down the main insights contained in the books which struck you in your first few readings and keep it for ready reference. But to change the way you think; to learn a new method of thinking altogether you need to imbibe the stories and examples in the Sherlock Holmes books.
This is something which is difficult to describe although we have all done this when we were toddlers and young children. Young children learn from the example of their parents and elders around them whom they respect; they catch ideas and habits from the air so to speak. You need to be like a child again in order to learn a new skill as basic as changing the way you think.
I think Jesus mentions in the Bible that if you cannot be like a young child you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
I have more than 500 books in my library at home in Pune. Regarding this Swami Vivekananda made a pertinent comment. He said that only a fool will buy and read many books without judgement of what sort of books he is reading. A wise and sensible man would buy and read only a few books. But he would read them over and over repeatedly until it changes him as a person and thus benefits from his reading.
I wish I had come across this comment of Vivekananda when I was young. I could have saved myself a good amount of time and money. But what is done is done and I hope some young person reading this article will benefit from my mistakes and my experience.
Choose the books that you read carefully; a sound guideline is to read the classics and the Sherlock Holmes stories are definitely classics of literature.
I hope you found this article interesting.
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