• 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
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 2015-05-26
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

Price: CDN$ 42.34

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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

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

8 of 8 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.

32 of 38 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.

17 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin
  • 2015-07-23

Inspirational

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.

13 of 16 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.

9 of 11 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.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe
  • Indianapolis, IN, USA
  • 2015-06-08

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.

22 of 28 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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  • Nicholas Cottrell
  • 2016-02-02

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.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Coffin Family
  • 2018-07-26

Why Nick, why?

I wanted to love this book. When it started to check the left wing ideologue boxes of intersectionalism I thought I could still like it, after all Offerman is a phenomenal performer and that shows up in the delivery. But why did you have to checklist every liberal ideal by chapter 4 when I admit, I stopped reading. Right after the part when he finds the 9/11 attacks justifiable considering the US foreign policy and calls the right to bear arms "clinging to our guns", which he finds understandable since all the people "we" have oppressed for so long could so reasonably rise up to kill all of "us". This book could have toned down the indoctrination by 50% and I would have enjoyed its preachiness, even though it is counter to my political persuasions. As is, it is mostly reading insults.

9 of 12 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.