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“I show them a work of art, something they have never seen before, and get them to tell me what they see. I then pull it together in a way that they can take that back to their work with them.” – Amy E. Herman

When the subject of problem-solving comes to mind, fine art may not be the first thing that you think of. However, today’s Finding Brave guest works with leaders around the globe and across many professions using the analysis of works of art to help them solve problems they are facing, from minor annoyances to intractable dilemmas.  

Amy E. Herman is President and Founder of the Art of Perception, a world-renowned speaker, and the author of Fixed: How to Perfect The Fine Art of Problem Solving. She is a recovering lawyer and art historian who combined the practical aspects of each of those disciplines—legal analysis and visual analysis–to create her company, the Art of Perception, over 20 years ago.  She has trained individuals in all branches of the military, the FBI, the New York Police Department, intelligence officers, officials at NATO, and Fortune 500 companies to look at works of art to become better observers, communicators, and problem solvers. 

Her program has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The CBS Evening News, and Smithsonian Magazine, among others. Her TED talk, A Lesson On Looking, has over 840,000 views to date. Her first book, Visual Intelligence, published May 2016 was featured on both the New York Times and Washington Post bestsellers’ lists and her upcoming (young adult) book, smART: Use Your Eyes to Boost Your Brain, is due out September 2022.

I’m so excited for you to learn, alongside me, from Amy about how analyzing works of art can improve observation, perception, and communication skills and facilitate better problem-solving. If you take the opportunity to use art to see things in different ways using different perspectives and it helps you to address problems in your own life differently, please do let us know! We would love to hear about your experience.

Highlights from this Episode:

  • How looking at the world of art will help with problem-solving in other areas of life [4:14]
  • Why Amy says that this type of work is so effective, and can be used by anyone to improve their well-being and problem-solving skills [6:36]
  • What visual intelligence is and how she helps people use it to craft their own solutions to problems [7:07]
  • Why she feels that everyone has a problem to solve, and the process she uses to people find solutions through the journey of an artist’s piece of work [13:37]
  • What her sessions allow participants to do as it relates to the new communication skills that they acquire [18:27]
  • How to start being the person “on whom nothing is lost,” and what this really means [20:17]
  • A look at the powerful concept of “failing forward” [26:31]
  • The ways that perfection can often be the enemy of good, and what you can do to ensure that isn’t happening to you [29:39]

For More Information:

Resources Mentioned:

Amy’s Latest Book, Fixed.: How to Perfect the Fine Art of Problem Solving & Upcoming (Young Adult) Book, smART: Use Your Eyes to Boost Your Brain

Her Previous Book, Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life 

Amy’s TED talk, A Lesson On Looking

Lux Aeterna by Edward Elgar (Video) 

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“I show them a work of art, something they have never seen before, and get them to tell me what they see. I then pull it together in a way that they can take that back to their work with them.” [13:18]

“My session opens the door to communication in a way that these professionals have not communicated before.” [18:27]

“You are training your brain, and you are engaging in neuroplasticity so that your brain will automatically start to notice more [things].” [21:19]

“Because homicide detectives don’t look at art for a living, I am engaging their brain in a way that they don’t engage it in other ways. Then I hold their hand and connect the dots back to the work that they do.” [23:37]

“Even if we fail, let’s fail forward. Yes, you made mistakes, but let’s honor the struggle.” [28:36]

“Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good.” [29:39]

“Knowing what I didn’t want to do was as important as what I do want to do, and I am forever grateful that I have forged this career and I can help other people see.” [32:21]


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