Get a free audiobook

Paddle Your Own Canoe

One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living
Written by: Nick Offerman
Narrated by: Nick Offerman
Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (77 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Parks and Recreation actor Nick Offerman shares his humorous fulminations on life, manliness, meat, and much more in his first book.

Growing a perfect moustache, grilling red meat, wooing a woman - who better to deliver this tutelage than the always charming, always manly Nick Offerman, best known as Parks and Recreation's Ron Swanson? Combining his trademark comic voice and very real expertise in woodworking - he runs his own woodshop - Paddle Your Own Canoe features tales from Offerman's childhood in small-town Minooka, Illinois - "I grew up literally in the middle of a cornfield" - to his theater days in Chicago, beginnings as a carpenter/actor and the hilarious and magnificent seduction of his now-wife Megan Mullally. It also offers hard-bitten battle strategies in the arenas of manliness, love, style, religion, woodworking, and outdoor recreation, among many other savory entrees.

A mix of amusing anecdotes, opinionated lessons and rants, sprinkled with offbeat gaiety, Paddle Your Own Canoe will not only tickle readers pink but may also rouse them to put down their smart phones, study a few sycamore leaves, and maybe even handcraft (and paddle) their own canoes.

©2013 Nick Offerman (P)2013 Penguin

What the critics say

“[Offerman] not only explores his Paul Bunyan-like image with tongue-in-cheek lessons on manliness, complete with illustrations and advice, but also offers poignant memories of his childhood growing up in Illinois and hilarious anecdotes from his career.” (Entertainment Weekly

“Offerman touches on everything from his days as a break-dancing, football-playing farm boy in Minooka (about 50 miles southwest of the Loop) to his freewheeling, hedonistic 20s in Chicago to the inevitable Hollywood struggles that followed. But he doesn’t gloss over embarrassing moments, including his two trips to jail during college at the University of Illinois - one for shoplifting Ronnie Milsap cassettes from Kmart as a joke; the other, he says, a convoluted case of mistaken identity. Between anecdotes, he delivers impassioned pleas and rants…” (Chicago magazine)   

“Thought-provoking, profane, and frequently hilarious…getting to know Offerman through his stumbling courtship with Megan Mullally and Kabuki theater training is well worth the price of admission.” (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    62
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    63
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    49
  • 4 Stars
    16
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

amazing stuff

Loved reading the book, but really loved having the book read to me by Nick Offerman. Can't go wrong.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beyond funny!!!

Omg I loved this audio book so much Nick Offerman is adorable and having him narrate his book is the best way to hear this story. This book was my walking buddy and so many times I laughed out loud which probably looked odd as I was with my dog! I absolutely recommend this book and really I loved hearing Ron Swanson my favorite character in this as well!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Hilarious!

Better than expected! This book was surprisingly even more funny than I anticipated and it even had me a bit weepy at times. An intriguing look into the character you love, while revealing so much about the actor you probably don’t know. #Audible1

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kyle
  • 2014-01-03

Like bacon for your ears

Would you consider the audio edition of Paddle Your Own Canoe to be better than the print version?

Yes, I read through half of the printed edition until I found out the author read the audio version. Without hesitation I downloaded this book and let ten hours fly by as I listened to this gentle, bear-like man recite prose that made my chest hair grow

What does Nick Offerman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Is this a question? Have you heard him talk? His man giggle? Phenomenal stuff, really.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed much, but more importantly I could feel my twenty-something-year-old inner yuppie child quiver before a new mountain man like giant of self reliance and well roundedness

Any additional comments?

You'll love it more than Ron Swanson. I read this book going in with the idea that it'd be more of a book on life from the humorous outlook of Ron Swanson ( A character played by Offerman on Parks and Rec.) Instead, I was delightfully surprised to hear Nick's recounts of growing up with larger than life parental figures, his often humor infused humility, and his down to earth life lessons. I Will listen to it again.

68 of 75 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • 2018-02-16

Some funny parts

Nick Offerman can tell a funny story. This book is part memoir and part "life lessons." I enjoyed the first half of this book. Much of that consisted of funny stories about stupid things Offerman did while growing up. His comic schtick of telling crude stories in a high brow manner was funny and worked early on. And he wove in many wise life lessons, too. When he shifted to a more serious look at his professional life and even his marriage, his schtick just didn't work as well. It wasn't funny enough and wasn't serious enough, and I got bored in the second half. If you like Offerman's humor, you will get enough of it in the first half of the book.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • OpenMindedNotCredulous
  • 2013-11-17

On the need to acknowledge the role luck plays

I don't think I've ever laughed so much listening to a book. Admittedly I'm in the ideal demographic for this book: a middle age male who enjoys living life with gusto, eating and drinking heartily, and working with wood. Still, I suspect that anyone who enjoys the TV show "Parks and Recreation" will enjoy this book. This is essentially an autobiography but with a lot of wit, wry humor and frequent acknowledgement that he's been lucky. It leaves no doubt that Nick is someone you'd be happy to call a friend.

Warning: If you're a fundamentalist christian you're likely to be offended by his observations regarding religion in the early part of the book. But if you're an atheist or at least religiously liberal you'll enjoy those parts as much as everything else he has to say.

77 of 86 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Joshua Kring
  • 2015-03-30

No, it's not hilarious...

Any additional comments?

It's a really good book, but it's not hilarious. It's amusing, it's entertaining, it's motivating, but it's not laugh out loud funny. I liked this book. I liked it a lot. I love Ron Swanson, and I found it very interesting to see where Ron Swanson ends and Nick Offerman begins. I don't agree with all of Offerman's views, but it's damn close. He's a cool guy. He's lived a cool life. He's not a bad writer. I recommend this.

End review!

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Devin Rogers
  • 2015-08-26

Scotch in one hand and a thesaurus in the other.

As big of an Offerman fan that I am, I struggled through this one. The writing was 'festoon with multifarious verdicts and befuddling patios'. It came across as forced and trying.

The flow and structure was all over the place. Jumping forward and backward in time without a coherent arch, and done so without much reason or purpose.

Lastly, while it did draw out a few chuckles, I would not be remotely tempted to place this in the humorous section.

I did enjoy the overall behind the scenes look at Nick's journey from high school theater to Parks and Recreation. Though the journey could have been a lot smoother.

Nick's dictation was pleasant when not being awkwardly forced over the needlessly antiquated prose.

Overall, it is a difficult audio book to recommend and I would steer clear of the written format as I fear it would be doubly difficult to finish.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Crystal
  • 2017-10-12

Not a Huge Fan

I really struggled to finish this book. I am a huge fan of Ron Swanson, which is why I chose to listen to this book, but the story line was not my taste. Too much discussion of religion and fine arts which I have no interest in.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Boro Gilliam
  • 2016-01-13

Hoping for better...

Like some of the others, I found this book disappointing and hard to follow. Nick jumps around a lot which would be okay if the stories had a point. He also makes fun of Christians all the time, which is fine for his opinion but he beats it to death, which seems like a typical showbiz person he claims not to be? I had trouble finishing the book and honestly don't know why it received such good ratings. The actual book ratings on Amazon is much more accurate.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Nick Peine
  • 2015-11-22

Couldn't finish

Couldn't finish the book. Was just a boring collection of the authors past, with no real connection, story, or lessons. Couldn't keep my interest

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Claudia H
  • 2015-07-21

A Man's Man

I am a huge fan of Nick Offerman and the character of Ron Swanson, whom I consider the love of my life. As mentioned in other reviews, there are times when the book comes off as a bit preachy, there were times when I was agitated by this and didn’t really want to listen. That doesn’t come until much later in the book. What saved this book, and makes it far superior to the print version, is getting the chance to hear him sing; this is an experience I would have missed out on had I just read the book. It’s a good listen if you can ignore the preaching parts.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Eric Murphy
  • 2013-11-03

Entertaining listen

I listened to this in one sitting. I couldn't stop. Partly because Nick Offerman has a hypnotic voice, and partly because I was simply curious about what he had to say. He is a fascinating man that legitamately loves his life.

I reccomend it highly. It seems many people wanted a book written by Ron Swanson, but I prefer this. There is a depth of charm and wisdom that wouldn't be there had this book been on meat and scotch.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • O. Couston
  • 2017-04-13

Ce n'est pas Ron Swanson

Tout d'abord, cet homme pourrait lire un annuaire ou la notice d'un meuble ikea, ce serait quand même intéressant. Je n'ai pas vu passer les 10 heures que dure cet ouvrage et j'étais même un peu triste quand ce fut fini. Je pense que je vais m'offrie sa lecture de Tom Sawyer

Comme il l'annonce dès le début, il n'est pas Ron Swanson. Le personnage de Park and Recreation n'est pas basé sur lui mais sur son père. Nick Offerman nous raconte sa vie, son parcours inhabituel et toutes les leçons qu'il a su en tirer. Il nous explique comment évoluer de fermier à star du petit ecran, en passant par charpentier et acteur de theatre, le tout délivré avec humour, tout en gardant ce ton stoïque auquel il nous a habitué. Je ne sais pas s'il faut classer ce livre dans la catégorie humour, inspiration ou life-coaching, mais on passe un bon moment et on peut même en tirer quelques leçons. Je me revois en train de rire tout seul dans la rue, pendant que je promenais mon chien en écoutant ce livre.

Evidemment, une bonne maîtrise de l'anglais est recommandé, mais Nick délivre son texte juste à la bonne vitesse, de façon très intelligible, ce qui devrait le rendre accessible à la plupart. Si vous voulez faire des progrès en anglais, sans vous prendre la tête, je recommande cette ouvrage.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful