The star of Parks and Recreation and author of the New York Times best seller Paddle Your Own Canoe returns with a second book that humorously highlights 21 figures from our nation's history, from her inception to present day - Nick's personal pantheon of "great Americans".
To millions of people, Nick Offerman is America. Both Nick and his character, Ron Swanson, are known for their humor and patriotism in equal measure.
After the great success of his autobiography Paddle Your Own Canoe, Offerman now focuses on the lives of those who inspired him. From George Washington to Willie Nelson, he describes 21 heroic figures and why they inspire in him such great meaning. He'll combine both serious history with light-hearted humor - comparing, say, George Washington's wooden teeth to his own experience as a woodworker. The subject matter will also allow Offerman to expound upon his favorite topics, which listeners love to hear - areas such as religion, politics, woodworking and handcrafting, agriculture, creativity, philosophy, fashion, and, of course, meat.
©2015 Nick Offerman (P)2015 Penguin Audio
If you have read 'Paddle Your Own Canoe' or watched 'American Ham' and enjoyed them, this is one for you.
Essentially, Nick takes us through a selection of his American heroes who have displayed Gumption in their achievements. This starts with some of the the usual suspects in a few historical greats which I found interesting as an Englishman with a limited knowledge of American history and then takes us on a journey of more contemporary or obscure individuals, many of whom you will feel the need to discover more about. I can absolutely say that as a result of this book, I have a hunger to learn more about Frederick Douglass - what a legend!
I especially enjoyed Nick's reasons for choosing his subjects, not so much for what they achieved as how they achieved what they did.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I liked listening to something clearly aimed at Americans, but openly exploring some of the more shameful elements of American history and current affairs whilst openly celebrating those special things about the country and it's trailblazers. He has an honesty that I was not expecting and I found his writing quite refreshing.
I'd recommend this to anyone who liked Nick before, I suspect that you will like him (and probably the USA) even more when you have finished the book.
Brilliantly written and spoken by a true wordsmith, an insightful look into Nick's American heroes. Thoughtful as well as thought provoking....such an enjoyable listen that I feel saddened to have reached the epilogue...look forward to his next work...H
"Swagger and mirth"
Nick Offerman sold me on this book when I read that it would feature Theodore Roosevelt, Carol Burnett and Jeff Tweedy. I like Offerman -- you know where you stand with guys like him, and you know where guys like him stand on issues.
Each chapter details the lives and heroism of its subjects. Offerman makes strong cases for each person he picked, and uses their gumption as a springboard for his own views on politics, religion, comedy, the environment, and a host of other issues.
Offerman is likable and his main points -- that we need to be people of courage and kindness -- are timely and poignant.
What I didn't like about the book is that Offerman takes the opportunity in nearly every chapter to lay out his case about the same few topics. Certain types of religious folks, especially evangelical Christians, are the subject of many of these rants. The other thing that I struggled with is that his modern heroes are all his buddies or folks he already admired in some way. He wasn't moved by discovery very often, so the reader doesn't get the thrill of discovery with him. I agree with him that this type of book is "necessarily subjective," but the later chapters lack the freshness and enthusiasm as the earlier ones, simply because more research and discovery were involved.
I am big fan of Nick Offerman and his works. Even more so now. I am not much of a reader, mainly because I find myself dozing off after a page or two of any book, so audio is definitely my favorite option. The author's voice is very pleasant I must say. -Nick, if things don't work out with Mr. Tweedy, I would gladly take his place. haha. However, I am also a heterosexual and married to and outstanding woman whom I still sometimes don't understand how I managed to land- While I cannot say I agree with 100% of his political views, I respect and can understand his opinions. And as I've learned, I feel the author would nod in approval. I enjoyed the bits of history and will be researching more about the lives of the people on his list.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in understanding the importance of progressing the "togetherness of humankind". From this book, and his last, I have grow in maturity and have truly come to know myself better; or at least now I have a better way to explain how I really feel about religion and the world.
I rate this book a 5 across the board. Nick is a great story teller and I do hope he will be writing another soon.
"A great series of short biographies."
None of the subjects are delved into too deeply, but a breadth of great Americans are highlighted here in enough detail to make you look knowledgeable at a cocktail party, all delivered in Offerman's erudite style.
"Mirth all around"
Nick's book is amazing and full of inspiration. I think it will take me years to peruse all of the tasty and delicious suggested reading and music recommendations within. Highly recommended.
Nick Offerman combines quick wit, humbly gracious manners, and a lumberjacks work ethic. A funny and compelling tale of great Americans whose stories hopefully shape our own.
"Buy it and listen, or buy it and don't. I recommend the former."
Funny, informative, and at times, thought provoking. I love the comedy of Nick Offerman, and I could listen to him tell stories until he falls over with exhaustion.
"Feels like a nice intelligent chat"
Enjoyable and made me think
Less humor more thought than first book but overall still a great listen
Excellent Mr. Offerman! You renewed my interest in American history and surprised me by our shared list of heroes (with the exception of one or two).
Your ability to turn a carefully orchestrated phrase is enviable. You are a masterful storyteller and I hope that you will rank among those who inspire you. Your writing is most inspiring to me.
He knows what he wants and what he believes in. He shares a bunch of information that intrigues you with each person he is writing about.
Hearing Nick Offerman's voice isn't bad either.
"An audiobook that will melt the face off"
What can I say? Once again, Mr. Offerman's writing and narration to "Gumption" expresses itself in a way worthy of it's own unique presentation that will demand the attention and respect of it's readers, no matter who they are. To size up the epidemics present in today's culture, while entertaining readers, only further promotes Mr. Offerman's signature quality of his own sense of gumption. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who has the hankering for a good laugh, and is craving an educational perspective on what has shaped us into who we are today.
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