Can you learn to analyze? (Part 2)

June 25, 2013

As I mentioned in a prior post on analysis, one of the ways to learn to analyze things is to read mysteries. I recently finished reading a 2002 mystery by Robert Ludlum, The Janson Directive.

In it, Janson, the hero, takes a break from the action and plot complexities that are characteristic of Ludlum’s novels. He is forcing himself to go through a “stack of articles…downloaded from online electronic databases of newspapers and periodicals”, in other words, publicly available materials.

In looking at these articles, Janson is looking for “an incidental bit of data with larger significance.…He was looking for a rhyme – a detail that would be meaningless to most people, yet would resonate with something that his subconscious mind had stowed away. We know more than we know [his mentor] liked to say: our mind stores the impress of facts that we cannot consciously re-create.”


The key here is that he reviews these open source materials with no preconception of what is important and, critically, what is irrelevant. He keeps his mind open and lets his subconscious mind work on what he has read over time. Essentially, he “sleeps on it”.

You know something? It works more than you would realize.

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