The Art of Asking

Amanda Palmer

The Art of Asking



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Rock star, ex street artist, crowd-funding pioneer and TED speaker, Amanda Palmer has learnt a lot about the art of asking. For years, she worked as a human statue, staying still and waiting for passers- by to throw a dollar in the hat she had placed at her feet. When she became a singer, she built close relationships with her fans, who had always supported her by allowing her to sleep on their couches while she toured the world. When she dropped her record label and asked her fans to support her in making her album in-house, her crowd-funding project on Kickstarter was the most successful project in history. In The Art of Asking, Amanda tells her story and explores the obstacles we all face while learning to reach out to others and to ask for help.

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Analysis and key concepts


The art of asking, the successful ingredient that nobody talks about


Don’t work to get everyone to like you, just your audience


“Get a job”: the imposter syndrome that afflicts all artists


When you don’t have the power of traditional media, you become your own media


Crowd-funding, the new digital patronage and the giving cycle


Cultivate your community: the secret of successful crowdfunding




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Build our own community based on authenticity and trust.
  • Learn to ask people for the help we need.
  • Help us find the courage to let other people see our vulnerability.
  • Think about the meaning and the art of being artists.
  • Look at the art market from another perspective in this new, digital age.

Amanda Palmer was born in New York in 1976. She is a singer/songwriter, pianist, performer, activist and blogger. She became world famous when she launched the duo The Dresden Dolls, later embarking on a solo career. In the years prior to devoting herself to music, she worked as a ‘human statue’ street artist in Boston. In 2012, she set up a crowd-fund to pay for the production of her album The Theatre is Evil. She raised 1.2 million dollars, a record in the history of the music industry. Following this success, she was asked, in 2013, to give a TED Talk. It was called The Art of Asking, and has had over 12 million views worldwide.

Publishing house:

Grand Central Publishing