Review: The Art of Asking- Amanda Palmer

The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help (Aug)

I’ve always liked Amanda Palmer (although it was Benn who got into The Dresden Dolls first); I like her humour and weird imagery and just always liked what she stood for. This is a bit of a hybrid book- part memoir, part self-help book, it’s essentially Palmer looking at her life and acknowledging how asking for help from others (or not) has affected her life.

It’s very detailed about how Palmer took the journey to being an independence artist, supported not by a record label, but by her fans, via crowdfunding and collaboration. The book starts with her freaking out the night before her wedding to author Neil Gaiman; he’s just offered to help her financially and, to use a phrase from the book, she’s panicking about ‘taking the donuts’ (Palmer advocates taking the donuts and not feeling guilty about it.) The rest of the book goes through the ways in which Palmer has accepted help and how she eventually reconciles herself to allowing Gaiman to help. There’s also interesting stuff about her Kickstarter campaign, using Twitter- which often works, but sometimes backfires- and the early days of her experience in the conventional music industry.

Even if you’re not an artist, the stories here might resonate- how often have you felt awkward about asking for, and letting others, help? The anecdotes are witty and inspiring and the book is definitely coming from a place of love for her fans. If you’re not a fan? Well, I’m not sure you’d pick this book up in the first place.

Overall, it’s a warts and all book that might just encourage you to be brave and to take the donuts in your own life (which, if you’re British is obviously against every fibre in your being. But who knowa

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