May 01, 2015
Here is my March 2015 entry for ‘The best book I read last month’.
The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer is my pick for the best book I read in March.
I first found out about Amanda Palmer like a lot of other people on TED Talks. Actually that’s not true. Sometime last year, I read Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” and fell in love with that book. And when I looked him up, I found that he was married to a singer, an artist – Amanda Palmer. I downloaded their An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer and enjoyed it. At about the same time, her Ted talk came out and I was hooked. Of course, I had to read the book when it came out. And the decision was emphasized when href=”https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/11/11/amanda-palmer-the-art-of-asking-book/”>BrainPickings featured the book and recommended it as well. As soon as the library bought the book, I put in a hold request and got hold of it last month.
So, with such recommendations and hype, how was the book? Very enjoyable. I really enjoyed reading it. I know I marked out a great many lines for future reference.
It is about the Art of Asking, as the title suggests, and about Amanda’s life. But it also has some of her lovely poems. It has interesting insights on what it means to be an artist, on what it means to be an engineer-artist who work full-time in the workforce. About what we expect of people and how our upbringing shapes our expectation. About social media, about controversy, about philosophy and her life experiences.
The book is written in an interesting format. It has no chapters, just short essays. Actually more like a series of interconnected blog posts, which adds to its charm.
It makes reading this book easy. You can read it all in one sitting or you can read it in short bursts. It does make it hard to reference quotes – since for that I generally use chapter headings for it.
What I like:
Written in a blog-post format. Very different. Can be read in small bursts. This means Amanda can get away with writing about anything and everything which interests her – without having to subject herself to the tyranny of chapter titles, and without boring the reader. Her life stories, her thoughts, her experiences and her philosophies are all interconnected but almost self-contained – as we move from one section to another. Her style of writing comes across as open, honest.
Who should read this:
If you are interested in auto-biographies, memoirs, if you like to read about the lives of the rich and famous. If you are an artist and are wondering how to make a living. If you are an artists and wondering how to get people interested in your work. If you are curious about relationships. If you want to read some nice poetry. And of course, if you want to learn what exactly is Amanda asking and how to ask in your life as well. If any of this catches your interest, you should read this book.
Other Interesting Links:
BrainPickings talks about this book – Amanda Palmer on the Art of Asking and What Thoreau Teaches Us about Accepting Love
Amanda’s Interview with Tim Ferriss (podcast) – Amanda Palmer on How to Fight, Meditate, and Make Good Art
Amanda’s Ted talk (video) – The art of asking
Overall this book is highly recommended.
Public Library – Check here to see if it’s available in your public library.
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