Friday, April 25, 2008

Crowded 'Facts'

Crowded 'Facts':
"I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it.
Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent.
Depend upon it - there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones."
-- Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes)
Quite interesting it is that the same context, when applied to the premise (mind attic) of Business Analysis, holds equally true. It is the weeding out of 'useless' facts from the assortment of information is what makes of an effective analysis.

The cryptic puzzle of 'The Adventure of the Dancing Men'
Learning to Observe:
"Like all other arts, the science of deduction and analysis is one which can only be acquired by long and patient study, not is life long enough to allow any mortal to attain the highest possible perfecting in it.
Before turning to those mortal and mental aspects of the matter which present the greatest difficulties, let the inquirer begin by mastering more elementary problems. Let him, on meeting a fellow-mortal, learn at a glance to distinguish the history of man, and the trade of profession on which he belongs.
Puerile as such an exercise may seem, it sharpens the faculties of observation, and teaches one where to look and what to look for."

-- Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes)

It is much telling that the century-old master analyst has termed 'science of analysis' as an art.

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