The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer | Book Review

Rating: 8/10

Format: Audio-book – Libary

Buy it Here:  The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

I found this book when I was looking through Brene Brown’s books, trying to choose which one to use next. Since I spent several years as a couple’s therapist, I often find myself encouraging people to ask, and use your words. This book detailed exactly how hard it is for even the most comfortable, extroverted of people.

Palmer’s visceral honesty and incredible trust in the good side of humanity powered this book. I enjoyed getting to know her mentor, Anthony, and “the author Neil Gaiman,” (adorably what she calls her now-husband for most of the book). I especially enjoyed getting to know Palmer herself. I’d certainly heard of the Dresden Dolls but never experienced any of their or her own music. It’s really fun, and it feels like they’d be even more fun to see live.

The book centers around the only thing Palmer has trouble asking for– help from her wealthy, famous husband. She feels fine crowdsourcing, staying on couches, borrowing instruments, bartering, and receiving gifts from fans. It’s this idea of accepting help from her husband that sends her into a veritable tailspin.

It’s easier to understand why, after reading about some of her experiences with Imposter Syndrome, internet trolls, and her own record label, Palmer feels she needs to be legitimate. She mentions several times that people seem to feel she should get a “real” job. The morality of art as a passion project and art as a career are particularly prominent in the book. I was fascinated to read about the backlash after she had volunteer musicians (paid in tips/crowdfunded) on a particular tour. The strange paradox that if she’d auctioned off that same position, it would have been fine. If she would have paid them, it would have been fine. It’s this free exchange that seems uncomfortable. It summarizes the book, really.

I myself am a noisy introvert. This sounds like a paradox, but your place on the introversion/extroversion spectrum isn’t a result of how much you enjoy talking, being in the spotlight, or hugging strangers. It’s where you’re able to relax and recharge. I love going to live music events, but they exhaust me to the bone.  The idea of staying with strangers on a road trip sounds hellish to me. So this book was especially fascinating to get a window into a completely different way of life.

This book was touching, captivating, and a joy to listen to. I recommend it to anyone who’s ever had trouble reaching out (PS, that’s all of us).

Also, I badly want to learn how to play the ukulele now. I mean, really. I already wrote a Ukulele song. It’s called “Feelingsectomy,” and I expect you all would love it.

Subjective Hearts: ♥♥♥♥ 4/5

Objective Hearts: ♥♥♥♥ 4/5

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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