Ladies Knight with Jen Shahade Featuring Maria Konnikova LK024
Play • 47 min

Award-winning author, New Yorker writer and psychology PHD Maria Konnikova joins Jennifer Shahade on Ladies Knight to talk about her first book, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes. Maria is also the author of the recent bestseller, “The Biggest Bluff“, a chronicle of her poker journey, when she went from newbie to champion in a year.   

Jen and Maria talk about the challenge of deep focus in both chess and poker, and how thinking like Sherlock Holmes is also similar to thinking like a child. Maria also talks about her work with Walter Mischel at Columbia University, where she got her psychology PHD. Mischel is widely known for his work on the “Marshmallow” Experiment, which challenges children to either eat one marshmallow immediately, or receive two marshmallows if they can wait 15 minutes. Konnikova reveals a little known fact about that experiment that takes Jennifer aback. 

They also touch on Konnikova’s book, “The Confidence Game” about con artists, in explaining how conning goes beyond the desire to win, and into the desire to exert control. 

She also reveals her short, but dramatic chess career as a fifth grader and flirts with the idea of giving it another go. It’s never too late to learn, Jennifer assures her. Mastermind is the subject of our December edition of our “Madwoman’s Book Club”, a new community of women around great books and chess, as featured in Vanity Fair and the New York Times. Learn more at and sign up for our December 18th session at

Find out more about Maria and her books on and follow her @mkonnikova.  You can also listen to her appearance on Jennifer’s other podcast, the GRID. 

Keep your eye on our YouTube Playlist, which will feature a video from Sabina Foisor to the Girls Club Room, where she talked about the new book she co-authored with GM Elshan Moradiabadi, “Sherlock’s Method.” 

Find all episodes of Ladies Knight on Apple, our website or The show features music by artist and singer Juga of

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