Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Art of Asking: How I learned to stop worrying and let people help

By Amanda Palmer
Grand Central Publishing, 2014. 336 pages. Biography

Expanding on her TedTalk by the same title, musician Amanda Palmer talks candidly about her philosophy of “asking”, and how it has served her throughout her career and into her personal life. Starting her artistic journey as a living statue, she learned early the power and connection that comes when asking strangers for support, in monetary or other means, and how hard it sometimes is to both accept and ask for help. As she built her punk cabaret empire, she depended on the kindness of fans to allow she and her band mates to sleep on their couches, to spread the word of secret performances, and when she broke from her record label, fund her next record, which she did with a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign where she asked for $100,000 and raised over $1 million.

I was pleasantly surprised that many of her relayed escapades in asking were not just band and music making anecdotes, but were deeply personal, such as her relationship with a friend and mentor fighting cancer, and learning to accept help from her husband, author Neil Gaiman.

As a longtime fan of Palmer’s music, I enjoyed her stories from the road and the connection and community she feels among her fans, though I don’t think you’d have to be familiar with her music to understand and appreciate her philosophy, or relate to the struggle in accepting and asking for help from others. There is some language and adult content in this book, so those who find that objectionable should take that into consideration.


No comments: