At first glance, the premise of the book “Fixed: How to Perfect the Fine Art of Problem Solving” by Amy E. Herman seems an odd one–using art to train law enforcement including Secret Service, the FBI and NATO. And, while the book serves as a guide for problem-solving, the parallels to Braver Angels’ work quickly became evident.
Herman, an art historian, walks the reader through the process of studying art to explore various possibilities. She cleverly identifies a 9-step process broken into three categories, “Prep,” “Draft,” and “Exhibit” used by artists that have implications for how anyone can look at the world differently.
Throughout the book, she encourages the reader to look more closely at objects and circumstances, considering different possibilities–just like how one should view a piece of art. And, just like viewing art, we come to problems and issues with our own biases.
She uses her own biases, life experiences and training examples to demonstrate how we can use art to expand our understanding of the world and creatively solve problems that might seem to evade explanation.
She engages the reader to look at themselves, asking, “In the age of unprecedented information, why are we so in the dark about ourselves? The simple answer is: because we want to be.”
Herman gives the reader multiple pieces of art to test their skills just as they would if they took her class called “The Art of Perception.”
In all, there is a tremendous amount to process here and, for me, at least, it is a book I plan to return to over and over.