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A Book Holmes Could Have Written
on June 16, 2012
If Sherlock Holmes wrote a book (other than The Whole Art of Detection and The Practical Handbook of Bee Culture), it might be something like this.
In fact, Holmes did write some of it in the sense that quintessential quotes from the Master are spread throughout this little book. Riggs, a mentalist, psychological performer, and consultant, has been called "the real Sherlock Holmes" for his ability to read people. A Sherlockian, he wears the label proudly.
In the first part of the book, Riggs calls upon his upbringing as the child of psychics to expose the tricks of the trade. He discusses the seven subjects that are on people's minds all the time, cold reading (no preparation), hot reading (advance work needed), something called the Forer/Barnum effect, and how psychics cover up when they go wrong. He names names.
Part II is perhaps more practical for most of us. Here, Riggs offers advice on how to develop a supermemory, how to read body language, and how to detect lies. "Much like Sherlock Holmes," he writes, "an adept Mentalist can gather a wealth of information from a person or place within minutes, or even seconds. Sherlock may be fictional, but his tools and powers are not. Let's develop them."
That's hard to do with a short book as your guide. I would have loved a much longer volume exploring these subjects in greater depth. I'm looking forward to the sequel.