Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SMART by Amy E. Herman Kirkus Star


Adapted From the New York Times Bestseller Visual Intelligence

by Amy E. Herman with Heather MacLean

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-66590-121-5
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

An adaptation of Herman’s Visual Intelligence (2016).

This creative reimagining from a renowned art historian and leadership trainer is divided into three sections (“How To See,” “How To THINK About What You See,” and “How To TALK About What You See”). Opening with a series of exercises to spark more active looking and increase readers’ powers of observation, the first section offers a fascinating discussion of psychological phenomena that can impede our ability to make accurate observations and how to circumvent those preconceptions. The second part focuses on organizing all those pieces of visual information and thinking through to gather as many clues and details as possible. The third section closes the circle by explaining how readers can use accurate, objective, precise language to convey their observations of the world to others. Written in a conversational tone and full of journal-style prompts (for instance, look at Edvard Munch’s The Scream and list everything you notice about it) along with longer-term practice exercises, this is a book to be revisited again and again. At each stage, readers are encouraged to become more aware of their initial assumptions and perceptions and the ways those reactions may be skewed or flawed, gently touching on unintentional but automatic biases and judgments. The thorough discussion of clearer, more effective communication transfers to many contexts, and Herman’s note to adult readers sets the stage for use of this book as a whole-family learning experience.

An engaging, enlightening interpretation that will lead readers young and old to clearer observation and deeper thought.

(endnotes, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 10-14)