The Art of Asking : book club discussion questions

Please be aware that our book club discussion questions contain spoilers

Art of Asking coverSynopsis

The Art of Asking is about the formation of a supportive community around the artist (and narrator) Amanda Palmer, and the role which asking and giving has played in her professional success.

The book is a memoir, and covers her early professional life, marriage, the extraordinary success of her Theatre is Evil kickstarter. It’s an apologia for several of her projects which have attracted internet backlashes. As the book concludes, Amanda is forced to choose between supporting her best friend, who has a life threatening illness, and  keeping her promises to her fans.

It’s an extraordinarily intimate book, about how Amanda’s life is changed and sustained by the generosity of others.

Discussion Questions

  • Does the book change your interpretation of performance art, street art, or Amanda’s music?
  • What risks does Amanda take which you never could? Why?
  • Which disclosure makes you most uncomfortable? Why?
  • Amanda’s friends and partner have allowed her to strip away their privacy in this book. Could you allow a loved one to expose you in this way? Why?
  • What are you afraid of? What else?
  • If you were aware of any of the controversies referenced in the book, did your opinion change?
  • If are an artist, how has this made you reconsider your practice?
  • Are you part of any form of circular giving? What does it mean to you?

Useful Links

The Library Service has this work in CD, which given the musical content and jokes based on accents is probably the superior form.

The author’s page contains a playlist for the book, which is available for free (or there’s a donation form, if you prefer).

The Ted Talk which is refered to in the book can be viewed below.