or How I learned to stop worrying and let people help by Amanda Palmer
I knew I wanted to read this book because of her TED talk, plus all I heard about this book, and some of her interviews. And, of course, because of her husband, Neil Gamian; I have a fan crush on him.
So I got a copy and devoured it. There were a couple of surprising things about this book.
It was well written. I read a lot of nonfiction and I consider very little of it well written. I read it for the information, for the case studies and for the ideas I glean. Most of it is at least coherent with sentences that work, good grammar and an arc that guides us through the narrative. Not all of them.
This was compelling, fast paced and interesting the whole way through. I’d go so far as to say that it was hard to put down.
She talked about struggling with asking. This surprised me because of how much asking she does, the variety of asking she does and how open she is about asking. Like many things, we think that the people we see who do it, are different from us. “It’s all right for THEM.” we console ourselves. “It’s easy for people like them, but not for people like me. I don’t like asking.”
Clearly, it’s not easy for her, but she does it anyway because she craves the closeness that results. We all respond to vulnerability. It’s why her fans are happy to fund her. She says, “Don’t make people pay for your art. Let them.”
She has some great advice about asking:
Take the Donuts! When someone offers you a gift. Take it. With grace and gratitude.
When you ask, allow for the No. It’s not an ask if you don’t leave room for refusal.
At it’s essence, an ask is a transaction. Give and take. Sometimes the give is direct. Sometimes it’s about pay it forward. Sometimes it’s as subtle as being open, vulnerable and giving of yourself.
Sometimes people will take make than you are willing to give. She tells a couple of stories about times she exposed herself and people took it too far. She advises not to let those times make you stop. Do, with the best in mind, rather than the worst.
Some people have very weird ideas and hangups around asking. They will project them on to you and hate at you. Let it go. They are saying everything about themselves and not talking about you.
What will I do and take from reading this book?
Ask. I’m working on a community project that needs plenty of support to work. It’s hard to ask, but I will keep asking with Amanda’s advice, and voice, in my mind as I do it.