Book review: The art of asking: or, How I learned to stop worrying and let people help by Amanda Palmer

The art of asking: or, How I learned to stop worrying and let people help

by Amanda Palmer


Ted Talk

This book is an extended version of Amanda Palmer’s Ted talk of the same name. You can watch it here.


Reviewers Thoughts

If life were a symphony, Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking” would be a vibrant movement, blending the discordant notes of independence with the harmonious melodies of collaboration. As a longtime follower of Palmer’s career, from her days with The Dresden Dolls to her digital presence and marriage to Neil Gaiman, I eagerly anticipated diving into her exploration of the delicate dance between self-sufficiency and seeking support.

Palmer’s narrative unfolds like a ballad, weaving personal anecdotes with insights garnered from her unconventional journey as a musician and performance artist. From her humble beginnings as a street performer to her defiance of industry norms through pioneering internet marketing tactics, Palmer strikes a chord with authenticity. Her experiences resonate deeply, whether you’re an artist navigating the turbulent seas of creativity or simply a soul seeking guidance on embracing vulnerability.

At its heart, “The Art of Asking” is a symphony of stories about the power of reaching out and extending a hand, even when societal norms dictate otherwise. Palmer reflects on her own struggles with shame surrounding the act of asking for help, a sentiment that reverberates within the blind community, where reliance on assistance is often both necessary and stigmatized. Through Palmer’s lens, asking becomes not just a transactional exchange but a profound act of connection, a testament to the symphony of humanity’s interdependence.

In a world where self-help books often peddle rigid formulas for success, Palmer’s approach is refreshingly improvisational. She eschews step-by-step guides in favor of a more fluid exploration of the spectrum between asking and giving, acknowledging that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but a bridge to empathy. Her assertion that artistry is a valid occupation, worthy of support and compensation, strikes a resonant chord, challenging our perceptions of value and worth.

For me, as a member of the blind community, Palmer’s message strikes a particularly poignant note. In a landscape where accessibility remains an uphill battle, the act of asking for help transcends mere inconvenience, becoming a rallying cry for inclusivity and understanding. Through Palmer’s narrative, I find echoes of my own journey towards embracing vulnerability and shedding the cloak of shame that too often accompanies reliance on assistance.

“The Art of Asking” is more than a book; it’s a symphony of resilience, compassion, and the transformative power of connection. Palmer’s melodic prose invites readers to tune into the universal rhythm of human experience, reminding us that, in a world of discord, harmony can be found in the simple act of reaching out a hand. As I close the final chapter, I find myself inspired to embrace vulnerability, to ask for help without fear, and to join Palmer in her quest to compose a more compassionate world.


Book Details


The art of asking: or, How I learned to stop worrying and let people help


Amanda Palmer


Book: 352 pages
Audiobook: 11 hrs, 27 mins

Find it Here

Select here for the Kindle E-book
Select here for the Audible audiobook
Select here for the NLS talking book, DB 80179

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.