Category: Sherlock Holmes

Observing: Part Two

Yesterday was a slow day, and while flipping channels, I stumbled across “The Zero Effect.” I enjoyed the film in its all-too-short theatrical release about thirteen years ago, and enjoyed it again, but I had forgotten the whimsical insights on the art of observing and deduction. The parallels between Daryl Zero and Sherlock Holmes are obvious. The story itself is almost a re-make of “A Scandal in Bohemia.” But my interest is more in the observational techniques of Detective Zero, self-proclaimed as the “greatest observer the world has ever known.”

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Observing People

Yogi Berra allegedly said: “You can observe a lot just by watching.” Brilliant, if he said that intentionally. Once the quote became famous, he embraced it and wrote a book called “You Can Observe A Lot By Watching: What I’ve Learned About Teamwork From the Yankees and Life.”

I always suggest to my law students that they practice people-watching as a method of learning how to select a jury and size up witnesses. If I were running a school of litigation, there would be a required course in the art of watching people. Nothing fancy as an academic course in human psychology; more like a practical course on reading people. It would not be taught by lawyers, but by those who do it for a living. I would hire agents skilled in counter-intelligence and interrogation.

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