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StyleBistro Book Club 2014

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25. November 2014: Cristina Velocci, Deputy Editor
The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer ($27, from Grand Central Publishing)

Before indie alt-rocker Amanda Palmer made a name for herself as the lead singer of The Dresden Dolls, she was a living statue busking for money as a white-faced bride in Boston's Harvard Square. It's where she first learned how to ask (albeit silently, with her eyes), and that skill has proved instrumental in her career as she went on to crowdsource everything from opening acts and crash pads to $1.2 million on Kickstarter—at the time, the most amount of money raised on the platform for a musical act—for her first solo album. Anyone who's enjoyed Palmer's TED talk will appreciate her debut book, which allows her to voice everything that didn't fit into its 12-minute constraints: the difference between begging and asking, the vulnerability and trust required with performing the latter act, and anecdotes illustrating the rewarding human interactions she's experienced from opening herself up to the process. As a street performer, Palmer would give out daisy poms to anyone who threw money into her hat as a gift of gratitude, so it's only fitting her work of non-fiction be paired with a daisy-print dress as a reminder "to give and receive fearlessly, and ask without shame."

Brave Soul Long Sleeve Skater Dress in Daisy Print, $66, at