Part autobiography, part business insider, part long-form blog post, The Art of Asking is an insightful slice into Amanda Palmer’s mind and her relationship with the fans.
While inspired by her TED talk on the same topic, this book is (thankfully) not really a business model. Unlike those self-help books that try to translate life experiences into neat, tidy lists of do-s and don’t-s, Amanda is sharply honest about mentioning that this is what works for her because of her particular history and her particular way of relating to the world. Actually, Amanda is sharply honest, full stop. Her openness goes from asking for tampons during concerts (and relaying the story), to telling intimate and painful details of her marriage, to literally giving herself naked to her audience.
It’s not a perfect book (though, as a first work, it’s a very good one) but it’s definitely an important one. In a society held by the myth of the self-made person, even in the face of evidence, it’s easy to forget that we are allowed to ask, and that there is no shame in it. And in the strange seas of the internet and the global market, when big companies play a ridiculous dance of putting more and more convoluted locks on content and then complaining about piracy, it’s important to keep on repeating: how do we let people pay for the things they love? How do we make it easier to share?