Rated Reads

The Art of Asking

by Amanda Palmer

Rated: High

Nominally an expansion of her TED talk, The Art of Asking is a meandering look into what makes Amanda Palmer, well, Amanda Palmer. I’ll be upfront about this: it’s not a book for everyone. Palmer is frank, which means that sometimes she (and her music) will rub you the wrong way. There is a positive side to that, though: it means she’s honest, and that makes her book utterly refreshing. She talks about a lot of things — her time as a street performer, her music, her relationship with Neil Gaiman — but at the book’s heart, it comes down to one thing: she is interested in the connections between people and how we ask for things.

Because Palmer is a musician, this is framed in music terms: a musician asking her fans for support, help, love, money. But what she says — that there are ways to ask that aren’t begging, and that it’s the connections (what she calls the net) that make asking possible — is applicable for just about everyone. It got me thinking about gifts and connections and how relationships work. At one point, she says that asking without condition is a gift, because it allows the other person to give, which is something that resonated with me.

While this can be read, I listened to the audio version and enjoyed it quite a bit. While Palmer’s voice was sometimes difficult for me to hear, I really enjoyed hearing snatches of her music. But, mostly, I felt like she was in the car with me, explaining her life view, and how, just maybe, it might make my life a little bit better.

Rated: High. Palmer doesn’t check her language. There’s a ton of swearing, of all shades. And she’s pretty frank about pretty much everything from sex to drugs.

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

One Response to The Art of Asking

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  • The Art of Asking
  • by Amanda Palmer
  • Rated: High
  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Reviewer: