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The Bassoon King

My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy
Written by: Rainn Wilson
Narrated by: Rainn Wilson
Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
5 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Rainn Wilson's memoir about growing up geeky and finally finding his place in comedy, faith, and life.

For nine seasons Rainn Wilson played Dwight Schrute, everyone's favorite work nemesis and beet farmer. Viewers of The Office fell in love with the character and grew to love the actor who played him even more. Rainn founded a website and media company, SoulPancake, that eventually became a best-selling book of the same name. He also started a hilarious Twitter feed (sample tweet: "I'm not on Facebook" is the new "I don't even own a TV") that now has more than four million followers.

Now, he's ready to tell his own story and explain how he came up with his incredibly unique sense of humor and perspective on life. He explains how he grew up "bone-numbingly nerdy before there was even a modicum of cool attached to the word." The Bassoon King chronicles his journey from nerd to drama geek ("the highest rung on the vast, pimply ladder of high school losers"), his years of mild debauchery and struggles as a young actor in New York, his many adventures and insights about The Office, and, finally, Wilson's achievement of success and satisfaction, both in his career and spiritually, reconnecting with the artistic and creative values of the Bahá'í faith he grew up in.

©2015 Rainn Wilson (P)2015 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"Rainn Wilson narrates his own story with such perfection that the only disappointment is the fact that it ends. The memoir is smart, inspirational, and funny, so the addition of Wilson's performance adds delectable icing to a tasty cake." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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What a life... and it's not over yet

What a journey. I very much enjoyed listening to Rain reading the story of his life so far. An honest human story.

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Fascinating story - great for actors!

I downloaded this as a fan of The Office and knowing that Rainn Wilson is a unique individual who offers a point of view that goes beyond his work as Dwight Schrute. Little did I know as a professional actor that this would be so relatable to my experience (especially the later chapters). I still feel weird about the Mindy Kahling jokes but ultimately, this is so honest, relatable and inspirational. Bears. Beets. Battlestar Gallactica. Also Soul Pancake. Much love.

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  • Johanna
  • 2015-11-13

Exquisite narration!

Rainn Wilson is an awesome narrator. You will get the most out of this book by listening to him read it rather than reading it yourself.

I enjoyed Wilson's prose and storytelling. Likewise, he has a unique way of defining spirituality and happiness that is beautiful and understandable--not creepy or weird at all.

I did find a few parts of the book to be somewhat tedious, but overall it's very well written.

As a side note, this book has absolutely nothing to do with the bassoon besides a few funny quips. If you're also a bassoon player like me, let's face it, you're probably going to get this book for Christmas. Luckily, it's worth reading, although Wilson's unfortunate bassoon experience doesn't accurately reflect the joy that I encounter daily from my bassoon students. I suppose any publicity is good publicity, right?

27 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • kindle
  • 2016-01-22

Wonderful

I admit to being a reader and not a TV watcher. I did not have a clue about Rainn Wilson. The reviews were good so I decided to give this book a listen. I am now a big fan of Mr Wilson. Wise, intelligent, spiritual, caring, interesting, very handsome ( I am sure) and of course sooooo very funny. I might even have to hunt down some of the Office series to see what I missed.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • E F
  • 2015-11-12

A poignant, hilarious and sweet story!

Rainn Wilson gives us a well written and hilarious story of his childhood, moves on to his training as an actor, and finally his adulthood where he finds stardom on TV. You will get to hear about the office, but you also get to hear about him as a high school nerd and his belief in God. You can tell how he gives the character of Dwight (in "The Office") such depth, because he has the background in his life to understand how to play him. While parts of the character Dwight are completely ridiculous, you can see a very sad and real person underneath, which is part of what made him so funny. If you liked Dwight, you will love listening to the man brought him to life. Even if you didn't like the Office, there is a lot to like in this book!

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • RaNae
  • 2016-02-18

If you have an open heart and mind you will enjoy this book

I appreciate Rainn for sharing his life and faith. I learned that he is very intellectual, I am not sure why that surprised me, but I am grateful to have a better understanding of him and his religion. I can identify with some of the things that happened in his past but he never allowed his geeky awareness, bullying and hard times to stop him from achieving his dream. He was so lucky (and we are to) to have been told that he could be could be successful and always remember it with all the hard times he had. I didn't watch the Office, I guess because I worked in one all day I didn't want to watch it in my free time. After listening to this book, I think I will catch it on Netflix. I did love Backstrom and wish it was not canceled. Awesome insight into an incredible man and human being.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Bunny Mama
  • 2016-02-23

Interesting and Touching

I don't typically read biographies or autobiographies, but I've always felt that Rainn Wilson and I are kindred spirits, so I thought I would give this one a try. I'm glad I did. It is funny, heart-warming, insightful, and inspirational. I love that Rainn narrated the book himself, and he did an exceptional job. I learned a lot, and my belief that we are kindred spirits was confirmed!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel E
  • 2016-02-09

Read this book, idiot.

As an avid fan of NBC's Colt classic hit the office, and a casual dabbler and soul pancake, I was delighted and inspired by Wilson's book the Bassoon King. It will take the same single moment to at once inspire you, intrigue you and have you bursting out in unexpected laughter. TBK gave me a much deeper appreciation of Wilson's acting work, which made me love the characters he brought to life even more. Finally, I was profoundly touched by the fervent and refreshing spirituality in every section. Wilson finds a charming way to be both cosmically wise and wittingly down to earth. Highly recommend.

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  • Shakespeare Fan
  • 2016-01-23

Yes, you'll love it.

Anyone who is: a fan of The Office, a nerd, an actor who has struggled with rejection, an artist who struggles with her faith, a lover of punk rock, a person who likes well written and honest biographies, a believer in love and God, or self conscious of his overly large head should absolutely read The Bassoon King by Rainn Wilson. (Actually, listen to it and hear his voice through his actual voice.) I loved every second of it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Manuela
  • 2016-02-23

Excellent and funny

I have been a big Rainn fan since I started watching the office and more so with Soulpancake. This is an excellent memoir where he gives all of the ups and downs of his life while making them all laugh out loud funny (I got of odd looks while listening to this one.). He does speak of his time on The Office and the inspiration to Dwight near the end of the book but the story is about his development and finding himself. Biographies are my favorite stories and this one doesn't disappoint.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • David P. Wilson
  • 2016-02-11

Backstrom!!!

Any additional comments?

It makes so much sense that he played the main character in Backstrom. That was an amazing show and one of the two shows I watched in real time and occasionally re-watched. With that and the Office as credentials plus a bunch of cool strange movies it was great to hear that it was a struggle and a lot of work to get to where he is. Very inspirational!

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  • daniel
  • 2016-02-02

Such an interesting story!

I didn't imagine I'd love this as much as I did. From growing up in Central America to the Baha'i religion, NYC in the 70s and 80s, bohemians, the office details. It's so good.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful