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Visual thinking : the hidden gifts of people who think in pictures, patterns, and abstractions
2022
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A professor of animal science best known as an advocate for the autism community, Grandin first reconfigured our understanding of how the brain functions with her New York Times best-selling memoir, Thinking in Pictures. Here she suggests new ways of educating, parenting, employing, and working with visual thinkers.
Publishers Weekly Review
Animal behaviorist Grandin (Navigating Autism) advocates for visual thinkers in this illuminating survey. Drawing on scientific studies, news articles, and her own experiences, Grandin makes a case that those who think visually have underutilized talents. She begins by describing two types of visual thinkers: object visualizers like her, who "see the world in photo-realistic images" and easily grasp how mechanical devices work, and mathematical spatial visualizers, who see the world in patterns and abstractions. In a "one-size-fits-all" education system geared mainly toward verbal thinkers, the visualizers, Grandin argues, are being neglected and subsequently passed over in the workplace, resulting in a loss of skilled manufacturing workers-- "tinkerers"-- who don't have an engineering degree but can "build all the mechanically intricate specialized equipment." Grandin highlights how visual thinkers can "home in on design flaws and systems failures" as she analyses the failure at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan and the two Boeing 737 MAX airplane crashes, and shows how they might have been averted were more types of thinkers involved: "Verbal thinkers can overthink things," she writes, "to my mind, as a visual thinker and a designer, it's not that complicated." The result is a resonant testament to thinking one's own way. (Oct.)
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