The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer
(Grand Central Publishing, 2014, 339 pages)
Amanda Palmer is a songwriter, singer, and pianist of The Dresden Dolls, a musical duo out of Boston. She recently gained fame from her 2013 Ted Talk entitled “The Art of Asking,” which has reached about 7 million people. Her Ted Talk was expanded into a book with an added subtitle, The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help. The Art of Asking is more than the title implies; it describes her beginnings as a living bride statue on the streets of Boston to becoming an internationally-known musician to becoming the wife of author Neil Gaiman. She talks a lot about her fans, from her frequent interactions with them on social media, to sleeping on their couches in the cities in which she performs, to allowing them to draw on her naked body in public with markers. She is a trusting soul and sometimes gets hurt along the way, but always maintains her faith in humanity.
The book was read by Palmer herself, but it seemed less like a reading and more like a conversation. Songs were integrated into the reading, connecting the reader to her music. In the afterword of the book, Palmer describes herself as, first, a musician, and wants you to seek out her music. This I will do, but first I’m going to follow her on Twitter (@amandapalmer). If you’re fascinated by artists, you won’t be disappointed by this one. Don’t read it; listen to it.