Observation And The Detective

By Alex P.Potter

Alex P. Potter
6 min readSep 1, 2022


“ You see, but you do not OBSERVE “ — Sherlock Holmes. These are the words of the great detective, the great observer.

How can we as humans, without the sociopathic tendencies of Holmes, effectively observe like a detective? Let’s say that you are in the same situation as me, I wanna be the world’s first consulting detective for hire ( Just like Holmes ) and solve crimes, problems, and mysteries, or we could say that you are just really interested in being a regular detective, or you wanna know how to observe people and make logical deductions whether it be for the purpose of solving mysteries, true crime cases, you wanna be a detective, my situation, or you just wanna be a more observant person and impress your colleagues with the logical deduction and observation that I have trained myself to use when solving my cases and any other mystery or problem that comes my way. It’s also a great way to show your mental superiority by telling something very personal to someone that only they would know and the reason you know is because of your spontaneous observation, logical thinking, and logical deduction skills.


As humans, we are social creatures, but even with the instinct of a human, we tend to miss the tiniest of details in the world and we can soon become oblivious to the most obvious things in the world. For example the answer to an equation or where you left your car keys.

The first step to becoming an observing, thinking machine like Holmes and other great detectives is to forget about yourself. What do I mean by that? I mean simply that you cannot focus solely on yourself as we as humans tend to do. In order to see the world around us, we must exclude ourselves from it, we must be able to see everyone else, their movements, emotions, and habits, and study them. Make theories and deductions about them, but how do we effectively observe, correctly theorize, and deduce?

We must know how humans work, how we react, and how we emotionally, mentally, and physically work as human beings.

Now to effectively observe, and yes there are some methods that focus more on speed than accuracy, but preferring that over accuracy can lead us to wrong or conflicted deductions and conclusions, my method ( and the generally accepted method of observation and deduction ) focuses on observing someone and taking bits of information and, by using logical thinking and deduction, we can connect the dots mentally and form a conclusion based on what we’ve connected in our mind.


Now let’s say that we are in the park and you spot a man ( will call him John )

John woke up today at around seven thirty in the house that he shares with his wife and his two kids, one is 14 and the other is 10, and he gets up and gets ready with his wife. She wakes up before him as she is already dressed and sprays her perfume on her as he walks into the room. He brushes his teeth and kisses his wife goodbye after he grabs his briefcase as his 10-year-old gives him a drawing he made and puts it inside the briefcase and runs to the bus. The 14-year-old gives his dad a birthday present with a card with his name and signature, then the father heads to work. He walks today because as he turned on the car, it sputtered and died. He rolled up his sleeves and tried to fix the car, now he has to walk through the park to work.

You and your friend are sitting at a bench, as the man rushes through the park, he bumps into your friend as he gets up. Spilling everything from his briefcase onto the ground.

You notice the open card, the drawing, and his dirty hands from the car, and you smell the perfume from him along with his cologne. You now have all this information and now you must use logical thinking and deduction and form a conclusion based on all your observations. Here’s how we can connect the mental dots from all our observations and potential theories by using logical thinking and deduction.

You must note that the open card is written in really good penmanship and signed “ your son.” From this, we can deduce the person who signed this was his son, and a much older son probably in middle school or barely going into high school considering his writing and the card that was chosen, so now we know that he has a 14-year-old son.

Now we must observe the photo, the drawing. It appears to be done in crayon and at the bottom is a little tiny signature and in big green letters, it says “ TO DADDY “ on the back. Considering all the facts from this observation, the signature, and the way it was drawn we can deduce that he has another son, probably younger, but from the way it was drawn, it doesn’t appear to have been done by a younger child, it's not messy and all the colors are in the lines and it appears to be hand drawn. We can assume this is a younger, but older, we can assume maybe a 7 to 10-year-old, as it does not seem fit that a 13 or 14-year-old would call his father daddy.

Now we can connect another mental dot, he has two kids, one 14 and the other 10.

We must now observe the stains on his arms and his face, they don’t look like dirt, and so you must assume due to its black hue that it is oil. Why would a man on business be walking in the park at this hour of the morning? Because his car broke down, he tried to fix it, and now he is rushing to work through the park ( meaning he must not live far from here ).

Now we must piece together all the dots we connected and form our conclusion. This, of course, is a father to two boys ( a 14 and 10-year-old )and he has a wife who he loves dearly and today is his birthday based on the gifts given to him by his children, he also had some car trouble and is now having to walk to work where because he was not paying attention, he bumped into you and your friend.

This example is perfect when thinking of observation, now then, the best way to practice observation besides understanding people and stuff, you must do something called people watching


When you are in public, try to play a game that some people may find disturbing, which is why when you do it be very careful not to make it obvious that you are watching people.

The “ People Watching Game “ is an effective tool when it comes to practicing the art of observation, logical thinking, and deduction.

The best places to go would be the park, the mall, and other public places, but nobody likes a creep. When you practice this be careful, as staring can draw unwanted attention to yourself. I speak from experience, never follow a lead on a case and make it obvious you’re doing so, to effectively observe, deduce, and theorize, you must understand how to look when no one is looking.

The magical tool of observing can be used for many reasons, mine ( to be a consulting detective ) or to impress people with your mental superiority, or to simply understand people and moreover.

Now that I have explained how to connect the dots, observe, and why it is important, I hope that I have been able to inspire others to practice this magical ability.

Alex P. Potter



Alex P. Potter

Consulting Detective for Hire, young aspiring author, thinker, and education lover