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Summary

From the comedian, actor, and former host of The Late Late Show comes an irreverent, lyrical memoir in essays featuring his signature wit.  

Craig Ferguson has defied the odds his entire life. He has failed when he should have succeeded and succeeded when he should have failed. The fact that he is neither dead nor in a locked facility (at the time of printing) is something of a miracle in itself. In Craig’s candid and revealing memoir, listeners will get a look into the mind and recollections of the unique and twisted Scottish American who became a national hero for pioneering the world’s first TV robot skeleton sidekick and reviving two dudes in a horse suit dancing as a form of entertainment.    

In Riding the Elephant, there are some stories that are too graphic for television, too politically incorrect for social media, or too meditative for a stand-up comedy performance. Craig discusses his deep love for his native Scotland, examines his profound psychic change brought on by fatherhood, and looks at aging and mortality with a perspective that he was incapable of as a younger man. Each story is strung together in a colorful tapestry that ultimately reveals a complicated man who has learned to process - and even enjoy - the unusual trajectory of his life.

Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times/Contour by Getty Images 

©2019 Craig Ferguson (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Ferguson is a natural storyteller, sharp-witted and acutely observant of his surroundings. He's capable of maintaining a light touch yet his stories often transcend whatever humorous incidents may occur. Collectively, they serve as often poignant meditations on the long journey toward his late-middle-aged self. An entertaining memoir by a humorist who has gained enlightening insight into living an authentic life." (Kirkus Reviews)

“Humorous and heartfelt (often on the same page), Ferguson is a great story-teller, whose signature irreverence and comedic timing translates perfectly to print.” (Library Journal

“A smart, humble, and witty memoir.” (Publishers Weekly)   

“[Ferguson] has mastered the skill of self-examination. Fortunately for us, the lad’s willing to share it, and his evocative writing makes it worthwhile.” (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

What listeners say about Riding the Elephant

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Heart-warming

I am a big Craig Ferguson fan and listened to this book in one go. In this very human and personal collection of stories he reflects on ups and down of his life. From the way he sees world and himself, goes deep in his emotions, waves the fabric of a story, you can tell that this man has done some serious therapy. Love his voice, love the honesty, love this book! As soon as it was finished, I started it all over again. Recommend it highly!

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Craigy Ferg is awesome

A funny, deep and sensible look into his life, thoughts. All done in the awesome Ferguson style.

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Lovely stuff.

Never seen his stand up. Never seen his late night show, barring the odd clip on the ole YouTube machine. Yet I very much enjoyed this book. Highly recommend.

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A Mirror

The only mirror of my life that shows anything good. A truly beautiful book. It made me laugh uproariously, cry like nobody was watching, and feel unashamed by either. Thank you, Craig.

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Raw & Honest

Aside from a rather unpleasant albeit relatable story regarding zits/plukes, Craig delivers a delightfully narrated and honest account of his life pre and (en)during showbiz.

Heartfelt and genuine he recounts tales from both sides of the Atlantic as well as the borders. Acknowledging his faults as a man, an alcoholic and as a celebrity it's a raw, rather than entitled look back at his life. I sincerely hope there's a sequel. Perhaps "surfing the elephant" or just "Life in my castle". I'll be looking forward to either.

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Honestly Heartwarming

There is something to be said about the way Craig writes and subsequently narrates. Brilliant!

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Engaging performance of interesting stories.

Good listen. Happy to recommend whether you know anything or not about the author narrator.

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Brilliant

What a wonderful, moving and funny book. Can’t recommend it enough. Like other reviews have said if u like Craig then you’ll like this.

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loved it

5 stars, of course. Could listen to Craig Ferguson read my shopping list. This was a great listen.

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Sometimes a bit funny, sometimes a bit boring

i find it frustrating that comedians cannot write a memoir without (forcefully) trying to be funny. He comes accros as an intelligent and a decent man, his memoir (a serious and chronological version) could be so interesting.

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  • LA Rider
  • 15-05-19

Other drivers think I'm nuts...

...because, as I listen to this book while in my car, I'm either laughing or grinning like an angry monkey to myself for the entire 40-minute drive to my office. I've always enjoyed Mr. Ferguson and thought he was an adorable, self-deprecating and cheeky lad and this book just re-confirms that for me. I liked it so much, in fact, that I've gone and clicked "Add to Cart" for "American on Purpose".

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  • Bonnie
  • 08-05-19

Time well spent.

A delightful look at the world through the eyes of a man who doesn’t suffer fools. His descriptions of his Scottish family is spot on. Coming from a Scottish background myself I recognized them all.

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  • Sabot Images Photography
  • 23-05-19

Sentimental

This made me miss my goodnight TV buddy more than ever. The late late show was more than tv noise but a friend to stay up late chatting with. This gave me some of that and I miss this time.

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  • Luan J.
  • 29-05-19

Wonderful storyteller

His voice reading his stories is so much fun and very interesting. His wit and hope are very evident

9 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin J. Yellick
  • 21-05-19

fantastic storyteller

Ferguson is becoming a better author than a comedian and he is a great comedian. Love the stories - love the telling - everything about it is gerat. Read this book!

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  • BF
  • 21-05-19

So sorry I'm almost done with this book!

What a perfect beginning and ending to my day - I enjoy Mr. Ferguson's take on the world, his no-nonsense reaction to many of the frivolous parts of life, his common sense views and that Scottish accent! Everyone should listen to chapter 10 - The Helpers. Such a practical take on the politics and religion that currently divides the US. Please - more books from this wonderful author!

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  • HastyChester
  • 09-05-19

Art. Masterfully woven. Thank you Craig Ferguson.

This book and its narration is art.

Craig Ferguson guides us through a seemingly meandering retelling of key stories and moments in his life so far. Along the way, he shares observations, opinions and wisdom from his journey.

That sounds fairly standard for a memoir, but the grace of his prose floored me; even when he is spelling out less-than-graceful moments.

Mr. Ferguson's narration is perfectly paced and intimate.

I am grateful that he has chosen to share this collection of life. Thank you Craig Ferguson.

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  • John C
  • 22-01-20

Outstanding!

Craig Ferguson is in equal turns smart, hilarious and poignant. This book is no exception! His narration and storytelling is masterful. I laughed. I cried. I gained intelligence. Highly recommended!

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  • Inchpractice
  • 08-05-19

excellent performance and fun stories

Craig Ferguson's previous memoir was great and this one is almost just as good. highly recommended.

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  • Paul R Siech
  • 28-10-20

Good ole Craig

Another book from Craig Ferguson. This time I found myself a little confused at times. However, that may say more about me and less about Craig. He did a good job dragging you in and entertaining. This book is about himself like the last one but this one I feel is written from the point of closure of certain chapters of his life and reflect on them.

2 people found this helpful