Review: The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help – Amanda Palmer.

Amanda Palmer is a musician, artist, TED speaker, crowdfunder, now author – and, it’s worth nothing, pretty damn wonderful. She wasn’t afraid to ask for help, when it came to a couch to crash on or funding her post-label art, but it hasn’t always been this way.

Her fearlessness is documented here, for better and worse, but more importantly: her fear. Sure, she can strip down and be comfortable in her body, she can be a streetside, bridal art installation to captivate the passerby, but is she a bad feminist for asking for her help from her husband? Is she a failure in some way?

The Art of Asking is half-autobiographical, detailing her artistic and personal life for the last decade or so with some childhood snippets, but it’s half-revolutionary, in that readers riddled with self-doubt will likely feel the urge to get up and start asking for that promotion, that opportunity or that X, Y, Z. Whether that bravery comes to fruition is another matter, but the point is Amanda evokes that. You’re impassioned by this book, the openness of it all, , the desire to be braver and fully go for something.

Asking is a simple thing, but something so many people fear – be it insecurity, fear of rejection, or innumerable other reasons. Being a fan of Amanda Palmer helps – it oozes her personality throughout, and knowing the general happenings she’s referring to is good; but even without that there’s still something brilliant about the book – being able to put herself out there, even by her standards, is commendable, and if this inspires but one personal revolution for someone to aim for something, to ask for help and to be more self-confident through doing so, then that’s more than worth it.

An absolute breeze to read through, and a really enjoyable read too. Engaging and inspiring, and gives a really lovely insight into many aspects of her life, as well as evoking an optimism in the reader. You kind of feel like you can take on the world.

If you learn but two other wee things, it’s that her job as a street artist handing out flowers sounds absolutely gorgeous when she details it from her point of view, and that you want to take the donuts.

11th Nov 2014 | Little Brown Book Group

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