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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

Critic Reviews

"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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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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.

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

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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.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Worth it.

What did you love best about The Art of Asking?

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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.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Wonderfully Written, Fantastic and Fun!

Where does The Art of Asking rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The Art of Asking is within the top 10 of all the audiobooks I've listened to, you really can't go wrong with Amanda Palmer. She's honest, forthright, and funny.

What did you like best about this story?

There's too many good things to mention them all! I really enjoyed the music she would play at the end of some of the chapters. Also, I loved the way it started, you know it will be a wild journey with that opening.

Which scene was your favorite?

When Amanda talks about her time as a street performer as the seven-foot bride. I could really see that come to life.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

YES!!! But, I decided to savor it instead.

Any additional comments?

Do yourself a favor and give this book a listen. I wasn't a fan of the Dresden Dolls and didn't really know who Amanda Palmer was, outside of being the wife of one of my favorite authors. However, she is so wonderful, she makes you want to be her friend. A year later, I'm still recommending this to anyone who will listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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GIVE THIS WOMAN AN AUDIE

I'd heard about The Art of Asking for awhile, but hadn't really been interested in it as I wasn't too familiar with Amanda (except for knowing that she had a band called the Dresden Dolls and was married to Neil Gaiman). I think I'd read her Wikipedia article at some point and got this vague impression that she was some super hipster-loved pop culture personality who was good at marketing, none of those things being bad, but generally not within my range of interest when it comes to nonfiction. Then I heard an interview with her on a podcast and was struck by how insightful, down-to-earth, articulate, wise, and humble she was. After listening to the conversation, all I could think was that she seemed to be the kind of person I'd want to sit down with, drink a happy beverage, and ask about her life and thoughts.

Turns out that so do thousands of her many loyal fans with whom she's developed relationships with over her career. It didn't matter that I'd never heard her music before, don't like memoirs, and don't really read self-helpish books....I was totally riveted and moved by Amanda's perspective on being an artist, what it means to actually live out vulnerability, creativity, love...I really don't know how to sum up how delicious and meaningful this audiobook was.

And damm can she narrate. I'm so used to listening to audiobooks on at *least* 1.25x because the narrators are such terrible readers. Amanda narrates with sureness, warmth, and just that right balance of ownership of and objectivity that is so rare to find in an author reading their own book. Holy cow is she great. I kind of want to buy the print book as there are so many wise things she says that I spent annoying amounts of time trying to transcribe...but if it were between one or the other, I would recommend the audio version 10 to 1. Not only does the content feel so much more authentic being read by her--she puts just the perfect amount of emotion into each part, but the production is creative and really quite masterful--just the right amount of space between the many breaks/shifts in tone, and just the right amount of musical interludes and bonus songs. It's a fun, intimate, rewarding experience that I came away from each time with something new and meaningful in a way that I don't think I'd have had with the print book. I would've enjoyed the latter, but as an outsider to her fan community, I don't think the content would have felt as compelling as it did.

Seriously, powers-that-be...Amanda deserves an Audie for this fabulous performance of her absolute gem of a book. (In fact, I seriously wish she'd narrate a bunch of other books.)

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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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.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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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 .

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • K. M.
  • San Francisco, CA
  • 11-20-15

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding

I laughed, I cried, I was inspired and I felt a deep connection. I had never heard of Amanda Palmer before reading this book and now...I love her. She is raw, real and authentic. I will listen many times more to her beautiful story. I recommend it to all who want to be seen.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Amanda lives in the world I live in

Would you listen to The Art of Asking again? Why?

This is a book best listened to in a group of people and then hearing the book as heard by all the people.

What other book might you compare The Art of Asking to and why?

The book most like this is one I found in my grandmother's collection, the Art of Writing by Dorothea Brande because of the courage of their voices. That book is now on Audible; check it out.

Which scene was your favorite?

When her husband proposed -- over and over again.

What insight do you think you’ll apply from The Art of Asking?

Now I know someone famous does stuff I've done all along.

Any additional comments?

Like Dorothea, Amanda is way ahead of her time. I plan on living in a world with many of her kind if I live long enough -- and humanity will be better for it.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful