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The Art of Asking

Written by: Amanda Palmer,Brené Brown - foreword
Narrated by: Amanda Palmer
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Publisher's Summary

When we really see each other, we want to help each other."
—Amanda Palmer

Imagine standing on a box in the middle of a busy city, dressed as a white-faced bride, and silently using your eyes to ask people for money. Or touring Europe in a punk cabaret band and finding a place to sleep each night by reaching out to strangers on Twitter. For Amanda Palmer, actions like these have gone beyond satisfying her basic needs for food and shelter - they've taught her how to turn strangers into friends, build communities, and discover her own giving impulses. And because she had learned how to ask, she was able to go to the world to ask for the money to make a new album and tour with it, and to raise over a million dollars in a month.

In The Art of Asking, Palmer expands upon her popular TED talk to reveal how ordinary people, those of us without thousands of Twitter followers and adoring fans, can use these same principles in our own lives.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2014 Amanda Palmer (P)2014 Hachette Audio

What the critics say

"Amanda Palmer's resonant yet intimate reading is captivating - but in a way that keeps listeners wondering whether it's her wisdom about emotional connections or her outspoken self-promotion that makes this audio so powerful. She turned the skills she developed as a street busker and nightclub stripper into crowdfunding her indie rock career and sharing her ideals about human exchanges in a TED talk that garnered six million views. Bringing authenticity to her audiobook performance, she sells herself as a new millennium woman who knows something about inviting people to understand her and enter into productive exchanges with her. Her dramatic and seductive vocal style makes her message unforgettable: Asking for what you want and need will make you a more genuine participant in the human experience." ( AudioFile)

What listeners say about The Art of Asking

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Expanded autobiographical version of her TED talk

I have an odd relationship with Amanda Palmer. I supported one of her Kickstarters, and donated to her Patreon also for a while, but never actually read or listened to whatever it was they were for. I can name maybe two of her songs, but I enjoyed her TED talk about asking. To be honest, she entered my awareness more because I'm a huge Neil Gaiman fan than for anything she specifically did. I admire her work and her philosophy and feel it's worth supporting and validating, yet feel as if I SHOULD enjoy her work more than I actually do. I keep vaguely aware of what she's up to because I follow Neil Gaiman on twitter, not because I follow her. I strongly support her work, without personally being captivated by it. Would she be okay with that? I think she probably would. I hope so.

This book has been on my list for ages but I only recently finally got around to reading it. It's basically an expansion of her TED talk on asking, with a lot of autobiographical stories thrown in. It's open and vulnerable and talks about impostor syndrome (which she calls the Fraud Police) and her close relationship with her fans and her relationship with her husband Neil and her childhood friend Anthony and how difficult it is to really ask for help. She has a lot of wise things to say about being open and honest with your fans, something that more marketing professionals, and more people in entertainment industries in general, could learn a lot from.

Most oddly of all, as I listened to this book I found myself thinking about my relationship with my mother a lot. Even though Palmer barely mentions her parents; in fact she talks as much about Neil's parents than her own. Still, she talks a lot about the way we relate to each other and comfort each other, and Neil's very emotionally distant upbringing, and how important it is to have love in your life. One quote from her friend Anthony in particular stuck with me: "If you want to know what you believe, ask the people you taught." A lot of my adult life has been spent trying to learn to be a different person from what I was taught by my mother. Palmer's book made me question lots of fundamental behaviours about how we treat people and open up to people (or not). So while it was a little rambling and the message could probably have been delivered quite a lot more concisely, it was still an interesting and thought-provoking read that I'll give a solid four stars.

3 people found this helpful

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life changing, inspiring, real & i love her

it's the easiest book for my ears to fall into. i have the physical book but wanted to hear her.. now. 2019 is a hard year and i needed this audiobook more than anything. it's a gift. it's a flower. it's a donut.

2 people found this helpful

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Nothing short of what I expected from AFP

I loved this all the way through and was so sad for it to end. I laughed, I cried, I felt ALL the feels and learned a few things about myself in the meantime.

1 person found this helpful

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Authenticity is so amazing.

Now I can judge myself better and my perception of the world is more clear because I can see how it looks in Amanda's eyes. Thank you for sharing your honesty.

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Good storyteller. Good forward thinking messages

I wasn’t familiar with Amanda’s work as an artist but a friend recommended it to me as I was stuggling with my identity/worth as an artist. Loved her messages. Bonus is was her badass feminist voice and song clips.

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I'm in love

I absolutely loved this. The message and the delivery were so spot on. Never preachy. Felt like just getting caught up with an old friend and realizing some things about life along the way.

Definitely glad I read it as an audio book... Amanda Palmer's voice and cadence and timing just really added to the narrative. also music. always a delightful bonus.

1 person found this helpful

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This book is a gift.

The Art of Asking is vulnerabule and intimate and beautiful. I read and listened to it twice, constantly teary eyed. Thank you, Amanda Palmer.

1 person found this helpful

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Really an autobiography

I thought this would be about, you know, the art of asking with useful tips. It's really just a career/life history of Amanda Palmer with just a bunch of entire Dresden dolls songs shoehorned in. If that's what you want: enjoy! It wasn't what I was looking for.

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The Art of Asking book review

I didn’t enjoy the book the author didn’t explain the purpose of this book as I expected she kep on talking about her life… don’t waste your time listening to it. In addition, I didn’t like the music that was in between the chapters didn’t think it was necessary.. even though I love listening to music but it was too much especially if you are in the mood of listening to a book and not to music.

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The book everybody needs now

Rather than retype the whole thing, or come up with more words to say the same thing in different ways, here’s a link to my GoodReads review of this. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1095575268

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  • Meenakshi Dogra
  • 2018-01-10

The title is a misnomer

In the movie ‘Blood Diamond’, there is a scene where Leonardo scoffs at Jennifer and says something like,”you Americans love to talk about your feelings”. I felt the similar emotion throughout the book. It is Amanda Palmer’s autobiography and that’s it. There is nothing in the book related to the ‘art of asking’. There is nothing inspiring in her story except that she is a party girl who is always, well, partying. It’s like a character from animated ‘Barbie doll’ series which my 4 years old daughter watches so interestingly. Well you have found a way to earn money while you are enjoying with friends and fraternity and you are calling it ‘art of asking’, good for you. Although in my opinion, she is good song writer, but not a good singer at all. As she affirmed in the book, she is too loud. I’ve wasted money on this one and don’t want anyone else to repeat the mistake.

143 people found this helpful

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  • J
  • 2017-09-29

CLICKBATE Title. Don't Waste Your Time or Money.

I tried listening to this whole book but couldn't because it was very disappointing to find out that it's simply an autobiography that doesn't discuss the many ways that "asking" has moved Amanda forward in her life or career.

The first chapter was ok but the story goes downhill from there if you're looking for this book to offer what the title and book summary says it's about.

Another thing that was disappointing (for those of you who are actually interested in listening to her autobiography) is the fact that she was extremely hard to hear a lot of times. She mumbles A LOT and it's very annoying not to be be able to hear the author during an audiobook. At first, I kept rewinding it, then I got annoyed and just turned it off altogether.

In my opinion: Not worth it. Save your coins and spend them somewhere else.
Very dissatisfying and disappointing. I want a refund and I'd like my time back.

P.S. Excuse any typos; I used a phone to write this review.

127 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 2016-01-24

Not What I Expected

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I was looking for a book more like Amanda's TED Talk. I felt the book's title is very misleading. Palmer's book reads like a personal diary focusing mostly on the Dresden Dolls.

Has The Art of Asking turned you off from other books in this genre?

Yes, I will not judge a book by it's cover from this day forward.

Which scene was your favorite?

I like the insight Amanda gained from being a living statue. It makes me want to give to street performers when I see one. This was the most interesting part of the book. I mean what other book have you read talks about life as a living statue street performer?

Do you think The Art of Asking needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I think Amanda could make a follow up book, but I don't think it's needed.

Any additional comments?

Couple things I found strange is Amanda Palmer is perfectly fine asking everyone for money, a place to stay, rides, but she and her friends express deep shame in asking their husbands or boyfriends for money. Just found that interesting. Also, in the beginning Palmer in addition to becoming a living statue she also becomes a stripper. She does not give any reasoning behind becoming a stripper which I found endlessly fascinating so I started making up my own ideas. Since she didn't mention her family was she getting back at her Mom and Dad? Was Amanda on something? not sure.. but just passing off stripping as a logical career choice to the reader came off as bizarre. One more think I picked up about Amanda Palmer she simultaneously comes across as extremely confident and extremely insecure. I feel there are a lot of situations in this book where Palmer was in the wrong, but she justifies her actions because her heart/emotional state is in the right place. I quickly became tired of this because it seemed she never takes responsibility for her actions. Not saying she's a bad person or anything I just could side with the other characters in this book as easily as I could side with her.

109 people found this helpful

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  • Tzachi
  • 2015-10-16

Reading it in your own voice would be missing out

I expected something more in the lines of her TED-talk, working to deliver a specific message. Instead, "The art of asking" reads more like a blog, which is a writing form Amanda perfected over many years. She talks about her work as a human statue, and her battle to be released from the record-company to the mercy of her crowd, but also talks about her marriage to Neil Gaiman, and about the relationship with her life-mentor and friend, Anthony. Some of the storied are immediately relevant to the theme, some are just relevant to Amanda. Ultimately, figuring the lessons is up to the listener.

The audio form has some problem with the book frantically jumping back and forth between timelines/plots. Many times, it will take a few sentences to understand we have moved to a new subject. Even so, I definitely recommend listening to this book rather then reading it. Amanda is a singer/songwriter. Spilling her guts in from of a microphone is what she does for a living. I'd argue that Amanda probably hears the words as she writes them down, and that she herself experiences the book in audio-form, in her own voice. Amanda knows how to use her voice as a tool, and she knows the true meaning words because the words are hers, as are the attached emotions. The audio-book, in my opinion, gives a "closer to source" experience than the paper one. This book was meant to be experienced in the voice of Amanda Palmer, with occasional background music by Amanda Palmer. If you're reading this book in your own voice - you're missing out.

92 people found this helpful

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  • David Bernardo
  • 2015-11-29

Bahhh

I got the recommendation on Tim Ferriss podcast and should have got the message when he said 'what a great book, I was so excited by the message I didn't finish it. Just went outside and started acting on it'. Yeah right.
No clear message, a lot of whining and singing in the middle.
Maybe I can't admire the art in it but for me was totally not worth it .

85 people found this helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 2014-12-01

Love the book. Palmer reads and sings here!

What made the experience of listening to The Art of Asking the most enjoyable?

Amazing to hear Amanda Palmer read this to me, play music, sing her songs. The book is potentially life-altering without these additional courtesies ... with them, it's magic.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Art of Asking?

The things that hurt, are sad, are powerful. In one example, someone claims to have lost her family in a disaster to get Amanda's attention. And her response, that it's a tragedy either way, is the wisest possible.

What about Amanda Palmer’s performance did you like?

It feels very real and immediate to me, not that I'm an expert on this -- I feel like we've been on a journey together. Palmer and I are different, and my life isn't, couldn't be, much like hers -- but I am inspired, grateful, and changed.

What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

This book has so many things in it. I'll remember the way autobiography frames, and makes relevant, the citation of research. I'll remember the call to love and be loved, and admonition to ask for what I need, the advice that there isn't always a crowd who can hear and deliver on any given request.

Any additional comments?

The profanity in the book is not obnoxious, but it means I don't feel comfortable giving it to, for example, Mom.

72 people found this helpful

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  • Carioquinha17
  • 2016-09-29

DONT LET THE TITLE FOOL YOU!

The entire book is nothing but the biography of a very self-absorbed, narcissistic person who dreams of being a rock star. The title indicates that you can learn how to ask people for help, but the author can't even keep her finances in check or ask her own husband for help.
What a waste of money!

59 people found this helpful

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  • Sierra
  • 2017-03-10

Boring book well narrated

Amanda Palmer does a beautiful job of trying to bring her book to life. The addition of songs and her own brand of humor make this book nearly tolerable. However, the book itself is banal and dull, going on and on. I couldn't finish, though I attempted several times.

27 people found this helpful

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  • K. M.
  • 2015-11-20

Great book but sometimes tough to listen to...

I feel like a jerk saying it (because I really do respect and admire Amanda Palmer, plus I enjoyed this book) but I find her reading voice difficult to listen to for a long time. It was weirdly hard to hear clearly while in noisy places like on the train (as opposed to other books I've listened to with different narrators). Also, she has a very distinct cadence which at first seems earnest and personable, but by the end of the book makes me think of William Shatner's long lost (though much cooler) daughter. :-/ Great book, less great audio.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Mark Mulvey
  • 2014-11-30

Worth it.

What did you love best about The Art of Asking?

.

If you’ve listened to books by Amanda Palmer and Brené Brown (foreword) before, how does this one compare?

N/A

Have you listened to any of Amanda Palmer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

N/A

What did you learn from The Art of Asking that you would use in your daily life?

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Any additional comments?

This book is not so much about the art of asking as it is about the author's life. That said, Amanda Palmer seems to live her life more interestingly, candidly, and intuitively than the rest of us so it's most likely worth your while regardless. I was not a Dresden Dolls fan or an Amanda Palmer fan before listening to the audiobook (though I had seen her TED talk), but her honesty and appetite for connection really impressed me. The audiobook also includes all kinds of musical stylings and interludes, so I recommend it over the print version.

19 people found this helpful