Book Reviews

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

the art of asking

About the Book


What a ride!

I haven’t read something as honest, meaningful and beautiful in a very, very long time.

Take it away, Amanda.


Favourite Passages

  • “… confounding her crowd. And then, though forty-nine guys would ignore her, one guy would tip her fifty dollars [as opposed to 1 dollar].// That man, Dita said, was her audience.” Pages 37-8


  • “In both the art and the business worlds, the difference between the amateurs and the professionals is simple: The professionals know they’re winging it. The amateurs pretend they’re not.” Page 44


  • “Asking is like courtship: begging, you are already naked and panting.” Page 52


  • “Any time I ran into an old college friend on the street, any time I got into a conversation with a stranger on the subway, any time someone expressed even a remote interest in the band, I’d ask, DO YOU DO EMAIL? If the answer was yes, I recorded their address onto whatever was handy – my journal, a napkin, my hand – and when I got home, I’d send a personal welcome note.” Page 91


  • “And when you’re afraid of someone’s judgement, you can’t connect with them. You’re too preoccupied with the task of impressing them.” Page 103


  • “The art, not the artist, is what fundamentally draws the net into being. The net was then tightened and strengthened by a collection of interactions and exchanges I’ve had, personally, whether in live venues or online, with members of the community.” Page 121


  • “When you accept somebody’s offer for help, whether it’s in the form of food, crash space, money, or love, you have to trust the help offered. You can’t accept things halfway and walk through the door with your guard up.// When you openly, radically trust people, they not only take care of you, they become your allies, your family.” Page 158


  • “Any small, sustainable artist-fan community works like this. Crowdfunding works like this.// There’s years and years of authentic work, tons of nonmonetary exchanges, massive net-tightening, an endless collection of important moments. Good art is made, good art is shared, help is offered, ears are bent, emotions are exchanged, the compost of real, deep connection is sprayed all over the fields.// Then, one day, the artist steps up and asks for something.// And if the ground has been fertilised enough, the audience says, without hesitation: Of course.// But it isn’t magic. That first part can take years. Decades.” Page 235


  • “Effective crowdfunding is not about relying on the kindness of strangers, it’d about relying on the kindness of your crowd.// There’s a difference.” Page 244


  • “When we mailed out the physical album to thousands of backers a few months later, we included a single random yellow-page surprise with each order. Someone started a ‘find your yellow-page person!’ database online.// Two years later, people are still finding each other,// When they do, they tell me. And I tell everybody else. The net keeps tightening.” Page 248


Star Rating:


There are so many gems in this one!

I love Amanda’s discussion of what makes for an effective crowdfunding campaign, and the idea of collecting email addresses from virtually everyone she met as she was getting started is super powerful!

I salute you, Amanda!

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