Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life” as Want to Read:
Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,348 ratings  ·  194 reviews
An engrossing guide to seeing – and communicating – more clearly from the groundbreaking course that helps FBI agents, cops, CEOs, ER docs, and others save money, reputations, and lives.

How could looking at Monet’s water lily paintings help save your company millions? How can checking out people’s footwear foil a terrorist attack? How can your choice of adjective win an a
Kindle Edition, 341 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published October 6th 2015)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,348 ratings  ·  194 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, art
"Visual Intelligence" is a course on improving your ability to see important details and clearly communicate your observations to others. The book contains full-color art that you study closely as part of the exercises. These exercises help you see what's really there (versus what you expect), see details that you might normally overlook, and recognize what details are most important depending on your goal. After gathering the information and analyzing it, you learn how to effectively communicat ...more
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I went to the local library looking for "Quiet" by Susan Cain for a book club, but they didn't have it. So I started glancing through the new arrivals section and after pulling out five books that didn't interest me, I suddenly started and realized this book was right under my nose. It was just what I really needed, a lesson on how to assess, analyze, articulate, and observe the world in new ways. I really like how Amy E. Herman caught my attention immediately with the colorful art, then went on ...more
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is my university's first-year read. It took me all summer, in 10 minute increments, to read it. As I feel with so many non-fiction books, this could have been more effective as a longish article. While I am happy to integrate ideas from the book into my class, I'm annoyed by the author's self-congratulatory tone and that my students will be subjected to that tone.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: museums
Loved this book. BUT four stars out of five for one single reason: a book about visual perception should provide better reproductions of the artworks used for practice. I couldn't help but find it ridiculous to be asked to pay attention to details when the details are lost in small reproductions. Do better.
Jordan Limtiaco
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
For anyone who wants to see art or things clearly and easily, this book will help you. Or if you want to look at things objectively like a journalist, the book also provides that.
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
can you look without prejudice? Can you see without some of your mental baggage? Can you see differently? Can you see what is really there? This is what the book explores. What we bring in actuality to what we see and what can potentially bring to what we see. And if we can see what is really there. We bring ourselves and our past experience to what we pay attention to when we see. This book is all about exercises of stretching our minds to see it in a new way. With lots of examples in pictures ...more
Allison Hogan
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book. It taught me how to observe situations differently. My favorite chapter is seven, "Seeing What's Missing." Herman describes to help organize data and find the most important elements of any situation, ask three questions:
1. What do I know?
2. What don't I know?
3. If I could get more information, what do o need to know?
A visual observation skills book that shows how we literally see with our minds and can have different types of blindness and bias because of that mind of what we see and don't. Planning on purchasing this course book so I can read, learn, and practice this important skill of Sherlock Holmes level detailed observation when I need a refresher.

Source: Amazon Prime Reading Loan
Paul Ark
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A far broader and more impactful book than the title implies, “Visual Intelligence” is about enhancing one’s ability to assess, analyze, articulate and adapt to what one sees around them. Using art as a medium for instruction, Amy Herman illustrates that improving visual intelligence has had significant impact in areas such as medical care, law enforcement, classroom education, business, and even mundane personal interaction. I am now keenly interested to take Herman’s “The Art of Perception” se ...more
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book, it was really useful for my job in software product development. I learned 3 things from this book. The first was increasing the number of things you see in a piece of art (or anything really). The second to separate the objective from the subjective so you are more accurately describing what you see. The third to understand how biases affect what you see.

In separating the objective from subjective, it also gives another tool for dealing with conflict at work and not being emo
John Steinmetz
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading self-help books for many years. I had no idea what to expect from this book, but I have not been very observant to many things in life and felt this would be interesting. I was very impressed with the many areas where being observant is very important. The author wrote with clarity and provided many examples. The book became more and more useful with each chapter. I would rate this book as may favorite non-fiction book. Maybe I'm influenced by being on vacation while finishin ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I bet the class is better

This book was all over the place. There is some value in here, but it’s a mishmash of concepts and popular self-improvement ideas pinned together to stretch something that is probably a lot better as a classroom lecture. Don’t bother.
Robin Tierney
Jun 01, 2016 rated it liked it
More reasons that art matters. The author shows how focused study of artworks can improve perception, analysis and decision-making in day-to-day and work activities that otherwise have nothing to do with art. You get better at noticing details and seeing the world more objectively. The author leads "Art of Perception" classes for FBI agents, police, medical personnel and other markets.

The book reminded me of a neat word/important concept: PENTIMENTO. Don’t let bad paint dry; comes from Italian f
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will want to periodically review this book as there are so many interesting suggestions for increasing one’s perceptions.

“...that the mere act of planning not only eliminated the mental interference caused by unfulfilled goals, it freed cognitive resources, which ultimately facilitated the attainment of that goal. Or as Dr. Stafford puts it, “[Our] mind loves it when a plan comes together—the mere act of planning how to do something frees us from the burden of unfinished tasks.”
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now it needs some tools like neuronation to practice visual intelligence. Chunk the image encode those fragments to decode easily.
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
great book very practical
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting and helpful book that deploys art observation to help improve observation, analysis and communication in all areas. I saw this author present in person but found the book more valuable. Be aware the reproductions are very small so I recommend a magnifying glass as you read.
This is a poignant and perfect book for our day when attention is fleeting and taking time to effectively analyze a scene or situation is rare. Herman uses fine art as a means for improving our individual insight into our lives and the world around us. By learning how to pay attention to the details, to only the facts that we can see and know, and to push aside our biases, assumptions, and guesswork, we can significantly improve our social awareness, our understanding of the world, and of oursel ...more
Wow wow wow. This book was an unexpected treat! Once again, I chose a book because it was suggested and available through Kindle Unlimited. Why not? I love to be surprised like this! Grab a beverage if you choose to read this's a bit of a long one. I am not sure if there can be spoilers in a book like this but I will warn you that I do share some interesting sections of the book. On the other hand, what I find interesting may be very different than what you find interesting so I don' ...more
Alex Daniel
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Allow Amy Herman to tell you about The Art of Perception. It's the 3-hour course she offers businesses, government agencies, police departments, medical groups, and other interested folks around the country. VISUAL INTELLIGENCE is the book form of this course (so it seems), and her course and the impact it has on other people comes up a whole lot in the ~250 pages of content here.

I like this book. Don't let me get you down. It's worth a read, but there are a few things that bothered me that may
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved-it
Today's world demands our vigilance, and we must keep our eyes peeled. Amy Herman teaches us to solve big problems by counting small details, and also how to look for these details by using classic and modern art. Basically, there's not a person alive who can afford not to read Visual Intelligence.
Holly McIntyre
Wordy and a bit disappointing

When I read non-fiction, I hope for new information presented concisely. I found neither here. The author has created a niche empire teaching people (emergency personnel, customer service reps, teachers, and doctors among other) to be more observant by using the techniques of art criticism — a great gig if you can get it. What I realized is that this 300+ page book could be boiled down to less than a dozen bullet-points and, in fact, were the very same that anyone wi
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lots of advice, most of it good, some about visual intelligence

This book gives both less and more than it promises. It is very unlikely it will "change your life". A lot of the advice is about topics only marginally related to its title -- visual intelligence. The advice is probably good but it is not in the area of the author's expertise and so not well motivated or explained.

The specific discussions of visual intelligence were quite interesting but only applicable in certain situations. I do t
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
The main premise of this book is that studying art can help one develop the skill of observation in life which is obviously very useful.
Paintings have hundreds of small details, learning to become observant to all of them tends to translate in other areas of life.
It goes on to provide a lot of examples of paintings and how one might go about assessing them.
In terms of framework, the book recommends using a "Who, What, Where, When, Why" framework to fully understand each painting.
Its recommend
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Should be required reading along with How to Win Friends and Influence People. I loved the comparing art analysis to real life. I have learned a lot of the things she spoke about working as an independent home health nurse for the elderly(who don't always have the answers you need) but continually seek to improve in my visual intelligence. I particularly enjoyed the last sections about bias and how they impact our visual intelligence. Media bias is very blatant and this book could help people be ...more
Patrick Juhasz
Wouldn't Suggest It

I thought this book started out really strong. It introduced this concept of looking at the world around you differently, more objectively and thoroughly. This I thought was valuable. then it went on and on about the same concepts. Example after example relayed the same message. I feel an obligation when I hit the halfway point of a book to tough it out and finish it. This one made it difficult to keep that commitment. Overall, to me this didn't have enough real substance to r
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved this book. I loved this book so much. Maybe it's the pictures or the way she writes, but somehow, I just couldn't put it down. I also liked the examples that she included in the writing. It's one of those rare books that is interesting even if it isn't fiction and isn't necessarily something you're interested in. It's one of those I-picked-it-up-out-of-nowhere-and-loved-it types. Totally recommend it!
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is surprisingly useful and much less repetitive than these kinds of books usually are. I would feel like I'd spent a long time reviewing a painting and then she'd point out something key that I missed (not always, but often enough!) Since there are so many paintings and exercises, you can also see improvement just from one chapter to the next.

Definitely worth a read.
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
Nice book on perspective and changing it to see the world differently. Keying in on details differently and adopting different framworks to scan a scene. Most importantly to pay attention to ones immediate environment and try to notice things one usually ignores. Lots of artworks used as case studies to hone these skills.
Visual Intelligence helps open your eyes to the detail of the world around you, helping you be more presently, more engaged, and more communicative as well. What's that mean, likely it helps you improve at just about every aspect of your life.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Art of Witty Banter: Be Clever, Be Quick, Be Interesting - Create Captivating Conversation
  • Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You'll Ever Need
  • You've Got 8 Seconds: Communication Secrets for a Distracted World
  • The White Blackbird: A Life of the Painter Margarett Sargent by Her Granddaughter
  • Art Is a Way of Knowing
  • The Way of the Shaman
  • Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential
  • The Great Mental Models: General Thinking Concepts
  • My Spiritual Journey
  • Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career
  • The Science of Self-Discipline: The Willpower, Mental Toughness, and Self-Control to Resist Temptation and Achieve Your Goals
  • Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything
  • Charisma on Command: Inspire, Impress, and Energize Everyone You Meet
  • But I'm Not An Expert!: Go from newbie to expert and radically skyrocket your influence without feeling like a fraud
  • Focal Point: A Proven System to Simplify Your Life, Double Your Productivity, and Achieve All Your Goals
  • Antarctica
  • El arte de no tener talento. Revolución Hamparte
  • Team Geek: A Software Developer's Guide to Working Well with Others
See similar books…

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our lis...
33 likes · 12 comments
“Glance at a man and you find his nationality written on his face,” he instructed, “his means of livelihood on his hands and the rest of his story in his gait, mannerisms, watch-chain ornaments and the lint adhering to his clothes.” 0 likes
“the brain is most effective at learning new material when stress hormones are slightly elevated by a novel experience, a theory verified by modern brain imaging. Therefore, the best way to rethink something we’ve been doing for years—the way we do our jobs, the way we interact with others, the way we see the world—is to step outside of ourselves, and outside of our comfort zone.” 0 likes
More quotes…