- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First edition (November 11, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1455581089
- ISBN-13: 978-1455581085
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (426 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help Hardcover – November 11, 2014
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"A book unlike any other I've ever read. . . a book I'd have no problem recommending to everyone I know. My mother, my best friend, my work friends, my Facebook friends, my LinkedIn contacts, even the people I meet on the street or see on the subway when I commute to and from work. It's that important and that groundbreaking. This book is not just someone's brave and personal journey from childhood to her life as an artist, but it also addresses why and how it's so hard to look into someone else's eyes and be real, and ask for help when we need it. . . . Palmer has, not to put too fine a point on it, ripped open her chest and exposed her heart for all to see. She's written her truth - and it's at once brutal and gloriously, importantly beautiful."―The Huffington Post
"'The Art of Asking' is a compelling read, easily the most universal work she has ever done."―The Boston Globe
"Much as Anne Lamott offered 'instructions on writing and life' in Bird by Bird, Amanda Palmer will be instructive to anyone who struggles with fear of the 'no.'"―Shelf Awareness
"This is the kind of book that makes you want to call the author up at midnight to whisper, 'My God. I thought I was the only one.'"―Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess and author of Let's Pretend This Never Happened
"To read Amanda Palmer's remarkable memoir about asking and giving is to tumble headlong into her world. At first, you find yourself thinking, 'Goodness, what a crazy world that Amanda Palmer inhabits! How does she possibly endure it?' Then, gradually, as you read along, a doorway opens up in your heart, and you realize, 'I want to live in a world exactly like hers.' God willing, this book will show us all how to do it."―Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things
"Amanda has a direct line with her audience-a lifeline for them and for her, the codependency all truly great performers surrender to . . . She's capable of anything, incapable of telling anything but the truth."
"A story about a life in one dollar bills, from statue to icon, where media doesn't matter, crowds do. Mandatory reading in the digital age, for aspiring artists and their doubtful parents."
―Nicholas Negroponte, founder, MIT Media Lab
"Amanda Palmer joyfully shows a generation how to change their lives."―Caitlin Moran, author of How to Be a Woman and How to Build a Girl
"Amanda Palmer's generous work of genius will change the way you think about connection, love, and grace."
―Seth Godin, author of Tribes
"From this beautiful, heart-wrenching story of art comes an incredible account of the nature and future of commerce."
―Lawrence Lessig, author of Free Culture
About the Author
Amanda Palmer is a world-renowned singer, songwriter, activist, director, and blogger who first came to prominence as one half of the internationally acclaimed punk cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls.
She is a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and has shown her underwear on Australian television. She currently avoids living in places including Boston, New York, and Melbourne with her husband, author Neil Gaiman, who is easily embarrassed.
Palmer's TED Talk, "The Art of Asking," which she presented at a 2013 TED conference, has been viewed at least 8 million times around the world. You can visit her website and blog at www.AmandaPalmer.net.
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Top Customer Reviews
When I heard she had a book coming out, I definitely wanted to read it. So I grabbed a copy, and tore through it in a couple of days. It was one of those books people like to refer to as "unputdownable" (though I really hate that word) or maybe "gripping" -- as in I was gripping the covers, refusing to let anyone pull it out of my hands.
I really enjoyed the book, as it gave me a lot of insight into Amanda's mind and personality, two things that fans will definitely have a lot of insider information on already. But guess what? The stuff she does won't work if she's not at the center of it all. She's found her tribe, and she's pulled each member in close by being real with them, one on one. Whether that was at live shows, in the signing line, via email (back when email was new and weird), on Twitter, or through "ninja" shows that she throws together at a moment's notice or by crashing at their house with her band, her success has clearly come from connecting with her people -- the people that get what she's doing and support it. And all of that is intensely interesting, as she details how she did all of this and why.
Some reviewers have noted that this is a book that will give you a lot of info about how things work for Amanda, but not for anybody else, and I would agree with that to some extent. However, that's also the point: this isn't a self-help or how-to book (despite Amazon's placement of it in both categories). It's a memoir.
That being said, if you think there's nothing you can apply to your own life after reading this book, you should read it again. There are lots of great things you can take away from Amanda's story (and the various mini stories woven in throughout), whether you're an aspiring artist, a struggling artist, a world-famous artist in need of some human connection, a fan or even a hater. It got me thinking about how I used to write, back before I went to school to study creative writing and "learn" how to be an artist. And it's got me pondering other things, too, like why it's so frustrating when people stand there staring at me instead of just saying, "Hey, can I ask you something?" or why my first reaction, a lot of the time, is annoyance instead of acceptance or compassion. Why I rebel against sappiness and oversharing, but also avoid those too clever for their own good. Why it's important to me that people be "real," but I am terrible at spotting the phonies. Why asking for things is, indeed, so difficult -- even when it will help, even when it's necessary.
Am I one of AFP's rabid fans? No. But this book certainly made me see her in a different light, and within its pages she has given me plenty to ponder, and therefore it is completely worthy of all 5 stars. Well done, Amanda. And thank you.
P.S. I love the "blender setting" analogy used towards the end of the book. It's a great way to explain fictional works to those that insist on reading them nonfictionally, and especially autobiographically.
Long before I knew there was an Amanda Palmer in the world, I’d been spreading the message that creators and consumers must consider themselves part of an interdependent, peer-to-peer community with the swirling blend of the creator’s works and the consumers experience at the center.
Through carefully chosen, sometimes painfully personal, anecdotes from her own life and the lives of her closest friends, mentors, and family, Amanda Palmer demonstrates how that community coalesces, sustains itself, and grows.
She’s walked the walk of the Conversation-Age creative community member, a beneficiary and sponsor of neo-patronage, on a path that, while uniquely her own, speaks to what’s possible for the rest of us.
The “how to,” put succinctly?
Be vulnerable, trust, give back… and ask.
-- excerpted from a blog post on my website
Amanda Palmer's prose is crisp, concrete, emotional and detailed for any artist who feels guilty about "asking" for assistance. Not to mention that she talks about what being married to Neil is like, putting that fantasy to rest while making the reality heartwarming and more fantastic. I hope that one day I can aspire to share her daring, while also learning to take curve balls.
This book is best for people that like memoirs, Neil Gaiman, and Amanda Palmer. The Art of Asking is not a work of fiction, but it talks about the power of art, and how building relationships between the artist and fans is important.