- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (October 20, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781455581092
- ISBN-13: 978-1455581092
- ASIN: 1455581097
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 492 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,610 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 Paperback – October 20, 2015
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About the Author
Amanda Palmer rose to fame as the lead singer, pianist, and lyricist for the acclaimed band The Dresden Dolls, and performs as a solo artist as well as collaborating with artists including Jonathan Richman and her husband, author Neil Gaiman.
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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.
Yes and no. The book definitely captures her overall persona and charm. It has the uncanny ability of showing Amanda's full range of high energy emotion in the context of remarkable control and brilliant writing. Her style is robust and at the same time profoundly spiritual and grounding.
Her story is an inspiration to us, and an anthem for authenticity. She makes herself vulnerable in a way few artists have ever done.
As a professional editor, I have had the opportunity to read hundreds of books. The Art of Asking is easily in the top 5% of all books I have ever read.
Whether you know Amanda or not, are a fan or not, you will likely be immeasurably enriched by Amada's amazing tale. I recommend this book without reservation!