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Gumption

Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America's Gutsiest Troublemakers
Written by: Nick Offerman
Narrated by: Nick Offerman
Length: 11 hrs and 42 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars

The best non-self help, help book.

If listening to Nick Offerman’s voice for near 11 hours isn’t enough enticement to get this book, then be assured that the messages laid out in each chapter will make you think about some of your motivations in life, while also adding some new ones.

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  • Charlie Kapuscinski
  • 2016-11-10

It was just ok

I love Nick Offerman. He and I agree on a ton of things, but this book just isn't one of them. It was well written and listening to him made it ok, but it just felt a little too preachy for my taste.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Tamara Shope
  • 2015-09-14

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.

38 of 45 people found this review helpful

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  • Scott
  • 2016-07-07

Seriously?

The book started off well, but quickly devolved from a book about 'people who had gumption' to 'I have a lot of famous friends, let me tell you about them.' If you practice any kind of religion, if you are white, or male, have ever owned a firearm, or are anywhere near conservative in your beliefs, prepare to be shamed.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrea Blum
  • APO, AE United States
  • 2018-08-26

Started out good but faded quickly

The first few chapters were fascinating and very well done. However the rest of the chapters devolved into sarcastic and left leaning political commentary. I couldn’t make it through the book.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Demosthenes
  • 2017-01-10

Entertaining, but Offerman loses his way

Gumption is humorous. Not uproarious nor silly, neither cerebral nor aloof, the book is exactly what you'd expect from a self-aware, but decidedly out of touch celebrity.

Offerman is an entertaining writer, but he struggles to balance the character he has created for himself and the man behind his mask. In speaking of his character, I'm not referring to Ron Swanson, his famous alter-ego from "Parks & Recreation." Offerman has carefully crafted a character he portrays in public for television interviews and public appearances; he's a rugged individualist who prides himself on labor, craftsmanship and (somehow related) independent thought. He lauds such attributes in characters from America's past and some of his contemporaries.

It is when he gets to contemporary figures where he loses the plot. I love Conan O'Brien and find him to be a quite humorous man; I likewise think Wilco is brilliant. I can't, however, imagine a scenario where there accomplishments would be stacked up against America's "gutsiest troublemakers" like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin James Madison and Elenor Roosevelt. The gravitas of the opening chapters so greatly overshadows the relative lightweights of the closing cast of characters as to render the overall point of the book almost nullified. Too bad. It starts great, but ends weak.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • adam
  • 2017-07-14

loved his other books, skip this one

I'm a fan of the author. I have enjoyed his other works. However I was not a fan of this one. just too much mixing of subjective opinions and occasional facts. I prefer either opinions or facts. not both.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • iamDelphia
  • 2015-06-04

Feels like a nice intelligent chat

Enjoyable and made me think
Less humor more thought than first book but overall still a great listen

18 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-01-14

Too much lecturing

Many of the other reviews have said the same: the beginning of the book is interesting, telling stories of Americans with gumption with humor. But then the book devolves into Mr Offerman lecturing the reader/listener. If you agree with his opinions (which I often did) his relentless lecturing gets boring and oppressive, and if you do not agree (which I did on other subjects), then he certainly comes off as uninformed and wildly arrogant. The stories stop being about Americans with real gumption but turn into platforms for Mr. Offerman's opinions.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • darwin dwight scott
  • 2016-06-18

almost no value

I feel sorry for the writer he had a good idea the book could have been great. I do wish I could get a refund

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Holcomb
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 2016-06-17

A sneaky Liberal

As he begins his opinions of persons with Gumption; you have to agree with his first few choices, but soon learn that he is exactly what he foretold I'd call him "Another Hollywood Liberal". He is going to blame the plight of all minorities on the evil white men that created this country and even believes they should pay reparations for wrongs perpetrated on the blacks and Native Americans. He feels justified in his stance because he is one of them. You will soon tire of his rhetoric and turn his prattle off.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • O. Couston
  • 2017-05-16

Moins bien que le premier, mais pas mal quand même

Ayant adoré son premier livre, Paddle your own canoe, j'ai acheté celui ci les yeux fermés et je fus un peu déçu. C'est juste moins intéressant globalement. C'est certes bourré de petites anecdotes marrantes à propos de grands hommes (et femmes) américains, mais très vite oubliables. Nick Offerman est toujours orateur génial, mais alors que son livre autobiographique était passionnant et donnait une bonne leçon de vie, ici on ne retient pas grand chose au final. C'est sympa, ca fait passer le temps, mais c'est tout, rien d'inoubliable. A recommander uniquement si on est fan de Nick Offerman et qu'on veut avoir lu/vu tout ce qu'il a fait.

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  • Kate
  • 2015-06-23

A Getty delight

Nick Offerman made me laugh out loud in public without shame. Thank you good sir.