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Review by Maureen McLaughlin, PhD, RN-BC, NEA-BC   

Looking for a unique pedagogy to improve your visual intelligence? Look no further. Author Amy E. Herman transformed her "Art of Perception" professional development course into her first nonfiction book, "Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception and Change Your Life." This professional development course has been taught to experts in many disciplines including medicine, law enforcement, military, FBI agents, business, government and nursing. "Visual intelligence" is important for NPD practitioners who are responsible for the professional development of others, especially clinical nurses whose observation, perception and communication skills impact others and lives that may depend on what they see, or don’t see, what they say or don’t say.

The use of images of a painting, sculpture and/or photography with exercises to sharpen observation, perception and communication skills make this book unique. Divided into four sections, with eleven chapters, that follow the "Four A's" (assess, analyze, articulate and adapt) of the "Art of Perception." Each chapter includes exercises that seem simple — observe the artwork and describe what you see. With the author’s guidance, the reader quickly discovers how many details they missed in their observation of the artwork. The exercises help the reader to enhance their inquiry skills, improve critical-thinking skills and lead to better decision-making. This is done by learning to recognize the importance of communicating objective facts (not emotions or biases), to choose words carefully and to recognize our own blind spots, which often cause ineffective communication.

We’ve all heard the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words," yet when asked to describe a picture, many of us ineffectively communicate the details of it because we fail to fully observe the picture. If you are interested in "seeing what matters" and being able to effectively communicate what you see, this book is highly recommended.


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