cover image Fixed: The Fine Art of Problem Solving

Fixed: The Fine Art of Problem Solving

Amy E. Herman. Harper Wave, $32.50 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-300484-9

Art historian Herman (Visual Intelligence) suggests in this accessible survey that people can be better problem-solvers by following the examples of artists. Herman studies the way artists prepare, approach, and complete their works, starting with Théodore Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa, which depicts the aftermath of a shipwreck caused by terrible decision-making. She writes that the painting is the key to the “critical survival skill” that is problem-solving—which is often as simple as nurturing relationships with others and leaning on them when problems arise (“When in doubt, we must default to our humanity”). Herman presents a series of images and follow-up questions to help readers learn their tastes (which can “lead to better self-realization”), and offers a study in perspective intended to help one adopt different “vantage points.” Along the way, Herman analyzes various works and their creators—Artemisia Gentileschi (from which the author draws lessons on “shifting... how others people see us”), Ai Weiwei, who dealt with much adversity before triumphing—and provides a wealth of context and art history. Timely and passionate, this candid look at generating solutions will please the creatively inclined. Agent: Susan Ginsburg, Writers House. (Dec.)