Synopses & Reviews
Rock star, crowdfunding pioneer, and TED speaker Amanda Palmer knows all about asking. Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passersby for their dollars. When she became a singer, songwriter, and musician, she was not afraid to ask her audience to support her as she surfed the crowd (and slept on their couches while touring). And when she left her record label to strike out on her own, she asked her fans to support her in making an album, leading to the world's most successful music Kickstarter.
Even while Amanda is both celebrated and attacked for her fearlessness in asking for help, she finds that there are important things she cannot ask for-as a musician, as a friend, and as a wife. She learns that she isn't alone in this, that so many people are afraid to ask for help, and it paralyzes their lives and relationships. In this groundbreaking book, she explores these barriers in her own life and in the lives of those around her, and discovers the emotional, philosophical, and practical aspects of THE ART OF ASKING.
Part manifesto, part revelation, this is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet. THE ART OF ASKING will inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love.
"Performance artist and Dresden Dolls singer Palmer reflects on her career and shares insight into the economy of shared resources in this sometimes insightful but overly self-indulgent memoir. Beginning in Harvard Square performing as a human statue, Palmer first observed a 'subterranean financial ecosystem' of sharing. She found a similar environment at the 'Cloud Club,' an artists' commune where her band performed its first gigs and shot a music video to which residents loaned their various talents. As a touring musician, Palmer became familiar with asking fans for 'crash space' and meals, as when a Honduran family in Miami offered the crew their beds and treated them to 'tortilla lessons' in the morning. Palmer delivers a master class on harnessing technology for artistic purposes, explaining how to turn crowdfunding, Twitter, and digital music downloads to your advantage. She makes valid points about the controversial Kickstarter that raised 1 million dollars for her solo album, but remains utterly obtuse regarding the poor reception of a poem written in the voice of one of the Boston Marathon bombers she posted to her blog. Palmer's worthy message that 'asking is an act of intimacy and trust' is often obscured by an overly confessional, borderline narcissistic tone unlikely to placate her critics. Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Amanda Palmer's generous work of genius will change the way you think about connection, love and grace."--Seth Godin
"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, New York Times-bestselling 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. Immediately, you notice that her world is really different from yours and mine. Amanda's world is more open, more vulnerable, more fearless, more messy, more surprising, more dangerous, more rich with human encounters and exchanges at every imaginable level. 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
"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
"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
"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
"When we really see each other, we want to help each other." —Amanda Palmer
Imagine standing on a box in the middle of a busy city, dressed as a white-faced bride, and silently using your eyes to ask people for money. Or touring Europe in a punk cabaret band, and finding a place to sleep each night by reaching out to strangers on Twitter. For Amanda Palmer, actions like these have gone beyond satisfying her basic needs for food and shelter — they've taught her how to turn strangers into friends, build communities, and discover her own giving impulses. And because she had learned how to ask, she was able to go to the world to ask for the money to make a new album and tour with it, and to raise over a million dollars in a month.
In The Art of Asking, Palmer expands upon her popular TED talk to reveal how ordinary people, those of us without thousands of Twitter followers and adoring fans, can use these same principles in our own lives.
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.