The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer

art of asking

I don’t really listen to audiobooks. They always seem like a huge time investment compared to reading books (which they aren’t) but more so, I can’t do anything else when listening to audiobooks (whereas when reading, I’d normally listen to music also). Anyway, my main criteria for listening to an audiobook is who is reading it, and like this one, I tend to only listen to ones read by the author and of author’s I’m interested in.

I’m a long term fan of Amanda Palmer and her former band, The Dresden Dolls, who I’ve listened to for well over a decade now, so I was looking forward to getting this book. I initially got it in paperback but I didn’t get very far with it; I was distracted, and also I wasn’t mad about reading it, however, I ended up getting it through Audible and due to some unusual circumstances, I found myself in the position to listen to hours and hours of an audiobook.

And I was very glad I did. The book completely comes alive when Amanda reads it. More than that, she has punctuated sections with her own music, and occasionally, the music of others, the conceit of which works really well when she’s talking about a specific song.

The book stemmed from her crowdfunding over $1million for her record, Theatre is Evil, and the subsequent TED talk she was asked to give which introduced her to a whole new audience. It’s about much more than that though. Part memoir, part journey through an artist connecting with her fans, part self-help at times (in a good way), this book starts with her working in an icecream shop in Boston and on her days off being a living statue, the 9ft tall “The Bride”, replete in white facepaint and an old wedding dress. She talks about this and how it was good training for connecting with an audience and more than that, being unafraid to ask for help when needed, being unafraid of connecting with someone.

There is so much in this book that I could go on and on about it for ages. Like she is in her music and online, she doesn’t hold anything back, going into detail about her relationship with Neil Gaiman, her abortion, what it was like being hated on the Internet, but more than anything, this book is about a musician seeking to connect, seeking to be an artist, and not feeling ashamed for either. Recommended.


You can reserve a print copy of this book on South Dublin Libraries’ online catalogue here.

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