- 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: 485 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,532 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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What an interesting book on many levels. On one, it's the coming-of-age memoir of an odd, bright kid. On another, the struggle of a performer/musician from barely feeding herself to international fame (and deciding to reject the traditional recording label to return to indie--that was fascinating.) On another, it's the memoir of a woman who has developed the ability to ask for and receive help, and yet one of the greatest challenges of her life is to allow herself to accept monetary help from her wealthy husband. On another, it's a businesswoman's depiction of how to build and grow a business, and her version of that her fans are really her partners. She's so involved with them I don't see how a person could really have a family at that pace, and I think she's okay with that.
Palmer alternates introspection and musing about life's lessons with anecdotes about her life. The book is well-paced, fascinating, interesting, dramatic, funny, horrifying. I shed tears more than once. My takeaway/bit of life learning from the book: the act of receiving is an art, a life skill. So many of us are ashamed to receive, when in fact it's an act of love to receive well. It's not easy. We feel unworthy or guilty or obligated when we receive, but that's a waste of grace. I'm going to work on that. I enjoyed the book immensely.
However, since this was the point of the book, she gave example after example of it. She asks people for places to stay when she's on tour, asks fans for lyric ideas on Twitter, asks people to play with her band for free during shows, asks fans to fund her next album. And I get it--if you don't like that she does that, all you need to do is not give her money.
However, it got OLD. She asked for this thing, and got it, and didn't that work out great? Same with this other thing! She also asked people for that, and they delivered! Wonderful! And then, this other thing, she wasn't sure if she should ask, but then she did, and...guess what?
You get the picture.
Surely there were times when she was asked for favors as well, and was happy to give them? I'm hoping this was the case and she just didn't want to brag too much. Because it comes off a little selfish to hear about all these times of people helping her and very few instances of her helping back.
If you are a huge fan of AP and would like to know every detail about her career, then by all means, this book is for you. I enjoy her music but I was far more interested in reading a memoir about an interesting life. And after the first half, I just could not find her life that interesting.
The great thing about Amanda is that she actively lives a Why Not Life. I intentionally removed the Y from my name- and became a Y-not life. In her book, you feel connected and understand that she is connecting with people on a level that allows her the freedom to open her hand and share- whether it be a flower, or a song. She shares. She shares showing us that sharing is a reciprocity game. It's not unconditional, such as the love of her family- it's very conditional, and very much a matter of mutual respect. Artist and Patron. Patron and Artist- equals and forever in a back and forth of sharing. In her sharing she builds connections, relationships, partnerships. Her audience is more than an audience- it's a mutual respect society. And in a society, the norms are determined together. This is why the book, The Art of Asking, is so much more than just a memoir of a TED talk. It's a realistic look at what art means to audiences as well as how it behaves in the minds of artists.