How To Be Like Nero Wolfe

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1) Speak Well.

A) Think before you speak. The person you are speaking to dictate the volume and the tone of your speech. However, volume does not mean shouting. You can increase your voice without the need to yell.

        Example: On many occasion Nero Wolfe uses his baritone voice to rumble vocally to people when they are unreasonable. But there are times when he too see that volume alone has no place when an girl like Anna Fiore in “Fer De Lance” refuse to name the culprit. A timid girl with stubborn attitude like her required him to be soft tone and concise.

B) People’s self interest always lead them. So show them the path. AND THIS IS IMPORTANT YOU MUST LEAD THEM INDIRECTLY. NEVER DIRECTLY.

          Example: Anna Fiore in “Fer De Lance” must have a reason why she refuse to name the culprit. Nero Wolfe saw that reason was her self interest in keeping the money the killer has given to her in return for her silence. So Nero Wolfe contrive the idea that he would replace that money if Anna threw the Killer’s money away into the fire. That way her obligation to the killer would be nulled and void. But Anna did not take his offer. Why do something someone told her to do when she already had the money in her hand.

             Nero Wolfe then thought of another plan. Force her to take the offer by indirectly and placate her interest. So he stagged an robbery and rid her of the Killer’s money. Anna who is at an lost comes to Wolfe and accept his previous offer for the money.

C) Never be afraid to think something through. Go over the facts.

          Example. In “Disguise for Murder” Nero Wolfe invited guest to see his orchids. An short party, when an woman is found murdered in Wolfe’s office after Archie Goodwin (Wolfe’s assistant) left her to find Nero Wolfe. Wolfe listen to Archie tell him that the woman was frantic about an man she had seen in Nero Wolfe’s party and had only recognized him because of his hat. No one except Wolfe realized the importance of that statement; “The man wore an hat so she knew who he was.”

          In the 1960s men wore dashing hats to go with their suits. And it was customary to take off your hat when you enter someone’s home. And because no male guest in the party had an hat on, the only perpetrators possible was the female guest who had on bonnets or some sort of cap on their heads. So Nero Wolfe was able to narrow down who the Killer to be.

D) Become the Subject. Make Reasonable Assumptions and be ready to correct them when ideas are proven faulty.

           Example. Nero Wolfe always try to become the subject. How an person will think and act. Not in the sense of being Godly, but under circumstances Wolfe creates or plans. In “The Doorbell Rang” Wolfe hires actors to become him and his assistant Archie Goodwin without the FBI who is watching his home becoming wiser to this fact. He needed the actors to become them because he wanted the FBI to do something illegal so that he had an hold over them. To do this Wolfe made sure the FBI heard that he had something on them to tie to murder. The proof lying in his safe, he had the FBI watch his and Archie’s double leave his home and wait until the FBI agents break into his home and pounce on them to reveal their illegal activities.

Nero Wolfe knew with the FBI’s resources and that they would be listening and watching him. So he used these to his advantage. Knew very well that if he was the FBI, Wolfe too would find breaking in someone’s home no less illegal than ease dropping on innocent civilians.

           Another EXAMPLE: This one is personal. I actually made assumptions on a stranger I met.

There was an man in his 50s with white hair, Asian, and an baby strap to his shoulder. I try to think how that baby related to him. The man was too old to be the baby’s father. And typically Asian male tend to have babies early on and not in their later years. So I assumed that he was the baby’s grandfather. And then I saw that there was no one beside him there. No mother or father of the baby around. So I thought more into precisely how that baby related to him.

1) Was the baby’s father, the grandfather’s son

2) Was the baby’s mother the grandfather’s daughter.

3) Or even maybe an distant relative.

                But I managed to narrow it down. I try to place myself in the mother’s shoe. If I had an father in law would I allow him to watch my child alone without me being with the baby? Yes, but not likely. I would in fact be more comfortable if I or my husband was with the father-in law in case my baby was needed something. So I was emotionally more comfortable leaving my child with someone if they were more related to me. And then it became clear to me. The grandfather was actually the mother’s father. Choice number 2. That way I (the mother) would feel better leaving my child because who best to take care of my baby than the man who raised me. And in the end when I confronted the stranger about the child, I was completely right.

               I know this is not the whole case for every situation with an elderly man with an baby strap to him. But I am showing you this because many people are afraid to make assumption. The phrase “Never assume because it makes an ASS out of U N Me” come to mind. But to be a good detective like Nero Wolfe, assumption must be made. Without it, we would get no where. The only difference is to always be reasonable and skeptical and never base your assumption as facts. Only an thought to shed further light into an matter.


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