Introducing TED Tuesday: Amanda Palmer Discusses ‘The Art of Asking’

Welcome to the first installment of our new weekly nugget of inspiration—TED Tuesday! Every Tuesday BookTrib will feature a TED Talk of the Week to inspire you to see the world with a new perspective.

If you don’t know what TED is, stop what you’re doing right now and check out their website. TED, short for “technology, entertainment and design,” is a nonprofit organization devoted to “ideas worth spreading” by hosting annual conferences where an eclectic mix of speakers—innovators, philosophers, artists, scientists and more—discuss their experiences and share their insight. They are also affiliated with local TED talks, called TEDx conferences.

Watching TED talks is a great way to get those brain juices flowing, so this week we’re featuring, “The Art of Asking,” presented by Amanda Palmer during the 2013 TED conference. Palmer, the punk singer-songwriter behind acts like the Dresden Dolls and the Grand Theft Orchestra, discusses the early days of her music career spent as a street performer and how her experiences with other people’s generosity shaped her decision to put her music online for free.

Recommended reading:

The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help, Amanda Palmer (Grand Central Publishing, October 2015)

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The popularity of the talk inspired Palmer to write a follow-up memoir on the topic. The book expands on the experiences she describes in her TED talk, and was criticized by some for her idea that the main obstacle keeping people from asking for help in life is personal fear, rather than social obstacles related to race or class. However, despite the criticism, Palmer’s devout belief in the generosity of others is moving, hopeful, and thought-provoking.

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