Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living
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Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  4,718 ratings  ·  513 reviews
Parks and Recreationactor 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 asParks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson? Combining his trademark comic voice and v...more
Hardcover, 337 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Dutton Adult
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come on, humor book, be funny!

i am both a parks and rec fan and a ron swanson fan. his character appeals to me with his gruff and deadpan mannerisms and his abiding love of meat. (although not his hatred of libraries - hhmph)

but reading this book was just kind of a slog - the speech patterns and stylized formality that delights me onscreen are just dead on the page when i am forced to read them for an extended period, even though i can "hear" his voice reading them. i just don't love artificial...more
Brandon Schafer
After reading many of the one, two, and three star reviews on here, I felt I should write a short review to defend Nick and his book. The main complaints I've noticed: 1. Too dry 2. Too opinionated 3. Too profane 4. Degrades "Christians"

Too dry: I bought the audio version of this book, as I enjoy listening to book on my 7 hour drive from school to visit family. When I found out Ron Swanson himself narrated the book, I immediately grabbed a copy. I highly recommend doing the same. This alone redu...more
Here's a sometimes interesting, sometimes funny memoir of a minor celebrity with lots to say.

Offerman stars as Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation.

My Burning God of Love, Ron Swanson

He also appeared in my favorite scene from HBO's Deadwood.

Yes, I saw it WITHOUT the dot!

The book offers up Offerman's, NOT Swanson's! philosophy of life, and it's an interesting, shoulder-shrugging, live-and-let-live philosophy. I truly enjoyed the chapter entitled Hail Mary, Full of Beans, as Offerman's views on org...more
Joe Janca
I feel strange assigning a star rating to this book, as I haven't finished reading it. The thing is, I'm not sure I'm going to finish it. I am a huge fan of Mr. Offerman as an actor and a human being, but apparently not as an author. Perhaps the problem is one of expectation. I went into this book hoping for insights and anecdotes from Nick's life--in other words, memoir. Instead, what we get is more manifesto. I only got through the first two chapters, but the rambling (and somewhat preachy) na...more
Sweet mother of mercy, the religious wackos have put a dent in the average reviews for this fine tome. If you've heard Offerman on the Nerdist podcast, then you know you'll find earthy goodness, sharp (and well-said) opinions against corporate farming & the ongoing erosion of church-state separation in this country, etc., within said literary product. If that offends you, I suggest you go read something for vegans or by Joel Osteen.

It's a bio/manifesto & it's full of fun stories: Kabuki...more
Claire Bear
I wanted to give this 1 star based on my impression of the book after chapter two, but the fact that I like Ron Swanson the character and did enjoy the book once it gots past the preachy, ultra-liberal parts.

I really had high hopes for this book, but was left disappointed. Obviously, I expected the book to pepper in profanity, but there were times when profanity seemed to be added just for the sake of it. It was like that person you know who always says fucking before everything. Like "Oh man so...more
Paddle Your Own Canoe was exactly what I wanted it to be, Nick's delicious recipe for living an outstanding life. Eat red meat, go outside, and find some good love. Repeat.
Nick Offerman is best known for playing Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation. This is his first memoir where he muses about life, manliness, wood work and how to best grill meat. Find out about Offerman’s childhood in small town Minooka, Illinois, his love of the theatre, his love of wood work, his wife Megan Mullally and the deadpan comedic style that made him a star.

If you are a Parks and Recreation fan, and in particular a Ron Swanson fan, then this is the book for you. Just to be clear my fav...more
Amy Sheridan
It seems like people were expecting this to be a comedy book of personal anecdotes like Tina Fey's Bossypants, Jim Gaffigan's Dad is Fat, or anything by George Carlin and while Nick Offerman is great in comedy roles, he's not a comedian - he's a theater actor and a woodworker and a reader of maps and a guy who is almost nauseatingly in love with his wife. And that's what this book is about. I don't think I'd even call it a memoir since he's not a thousand years old nor does he have any salacious...more
Gavin Breeden
I'm not sure what I was expecting from this (other than some good laughs, which it only occasionally delivered) but it turned out to be a bit of a baffling book. Part memoir and part manifesto, Offerman pulls his personal philosophy of life from his own biography while seeking to remind us that he is NOT Ron Swanson, but, yeah, he and Ron do have a lot in common like their mid-western sensibilities and shared love of woodworking, meats, and brunette women. But it's a pretty profane book and Offe...more
Jessica Jeffers
You'll be hard-pressed to find a more enthusiastic fan of Parks and Rec than this girl, but Nick Offerman's memoir/how-to-live guide was a little underwhelming. Occasionally quite funny, there was a little too much emphasis on his political leanings (though I tend to agree with his stances, I just didn't think it was necessary). The strongest parts of the book were when Offerman expressed his gratitude for his parents and theater teachers, and shared stories of his formative years. I think I'd h...more
Kevin Baker
I think everyone's complaints are asinine. They either did not know what Nick was about, what the book was about, or just suck at life.
If you're like me, you're probably familiar with Nick Offerman from his role as Ron Swanson from the hilarious series Parks and Recreation. And having had some good luck with reading books from other funny people closely associated with other comedies (Jerry Seinfeld, Tina Fey, Ray Romano), I picked up Paddle Your Own Canoe with a couple of expectations.

One is that the novel would be funny. And the other is that while it said Nick Offerman on the cover, the book would really be written by my fav...more
I didn't finish this book, but wanted to share my thoughts...

I am a pretty curious person and read a wide variety of material. I think it is important to shape my beliefs by reading and then discussing opinions different from my own (typically in person).

The book in question is Paddle Your Own Canoe, a memoir by comedian Nick Offerman (of Parks and Recreation fame). My problem with this book came in the second or so chapter. Offerman is very clear in his disdain for religion. I get that not ev...more
Boring. Nick is a one trick pony who is smart to strike while the iron is hot. I have seen clips of Parks & Rec and understand the Ron Swanson character. Why not use that character's voice to write your memoir? But it doesn't work. Another reviewer stated earlier (and correctly) that a few lines of "Ron" a week is good enough. A whole book of Nick dragging "Ron" along for the ride does not work. Nick likes to cuss throughout the book but it doesn't add anything to his attempts of humor. It i...more
This book really had its ups and downs. I enjoyed reading about Nick Offerman's life philosophies (a major reason I wanted to read the book) - following your passion in life rather than money, spending your time outdoors or on productive hobbies rather than staring at screens, finding happiness outside of work, etc. I also loved the chapters where he described his immense love for his wife. However, there were also just as many more unenjoyable parts of this book. I didn't like when his philosop...more
This was more of a 3.5 for me, and usually I round down, but the number of asinine 1&2 star ratings compelled me to round up.

Let me first address those who were filled with such disgust and offense that they couldn't read more than two chapters of the book, and then I'll commence with the review. First, you realize that what you're doing, i.e. decrying him as a terribad person simply because of his personal beliefs and opinions, is exactly the thing of which you are accusing him. Which, at b...more
I received this book from my wife and daughter on my birthday. I can’t get through an episode of Parks and Recreation without welling up and Nick Offerman is often guilty of delivering those well crafted lines with his impishly sardonic that zing my emotion bone. I had been truly amazed at his wood-working skills and amused by his unapologetically midwestern sensibility. I am also touched by the gratification he displays at the mixture of luck as it collies with all his hard work; I look at my l...more
Tom Meitner
I am familiar with Nick Offerman via interviews and such, so I never expected this to be a "Ron Swanson" book. That being said, he has revealed a lot of himself elsewhere that coincides with a lot of Swanson and certain "manly virtues" that are definitely good advice and definitely in this book.

I am also not easily offended or upset by liberal viewpoints - and in most books of public figures, I expect it. So that's not really an issue either.

My reading and enthusiasm for this book lost a lot of...more
Ok, I freely admit to not knowing who Nick Offerman was before I ordered this book. I liked the title about paddling your own canoe. I liked the hype on Amazon. Bang. It was on my Kindle. A little bit into the book I discovered Nick is a big star on the sitcom Parks and Recreation. I’ve never seen it, but that doesn’t make it any different than most of the shows making up pop culture. I have little time for or interest in that kind of shit. If I had ever looked in on it, I probably would not hav...more
Phil Cornelius
Note: I have not read the whole book, only a little over 100 pages. Also, in regards to #1, I have been raised as a Catholic.

I have many problems with this book, all of which I will tell in more detail. 1. Offerman's take on religion
2. The profanity
3. The style of the book in general

1. I was not surprised at Offerman's views on religion; the idea that religion has beneficial parts, but shouldn't dictate one's social and political beliefs is becoming more and more common. I don't disagree, neces...more
I wish I had put in more effort when I first started this in Feb...then I got sick, and it went back to the library unfinished. I finally got it back from the hold list, and boom.

I loved this. It was laugh out loud funny mixed with just enough interesting stories about real people, as well as Midwest wisdom, manliness, mustache info, and philosophical beliefs that I could relate to (more of personal codes and how to spend one's time than lefty/righty). Also really made me want to take up woodwo...more
Better title would be "Nick Offerman Hates Religion, Loves Intoxicants"
Joshua Gross
Ok. This book got two stars for two reasons: #1 - I didn't really finish it and #2 - It gets kind of boring. I like Nick Offerman and I liked a lot of the things he had to say about life and his views on different things. That was all fine and dandy. However, his straightforward retelling of his entire life got a little old, especially since I didn't really care. I would care if he was telling specific anecdotes to enhance a point he was trying to make, but this was just flat out timeline of his...more
Lori Johnstone
Before I read this book, I hadn't watched Parks and Rec, and I wasn't familiar with Nick Offerman's acting besides the recent, 'Meet the Millers.'

I did, however, endure quite a few nights of my husband laughing out loud from reading this book. So of course I had to read it.

Now I'm interested in watching,'The Men Who Stare at Goats,' and I've now watched the first few episodes of Parks and Rec season 1 on Netflix. From what I can gather from this book, I really like Nick as a person, and his hu...more
Really more of a 3.5, but it gets the middle-of-the-road 3 because the soft middle sagged enough that I had to take a two-month break before picking it up again. I fully understood this was not "Ron Swanson's" book, although Nick admits they share a number of traits, but I soon realized that Nick's story, while containing many truths about remaining true to who you are, wasn't quite as interesting as I'd hoped. If I were a young, aspiring actor, it may have been more relatable and helpful, but I...more
Dangit - I was pulling for this book to be great, but Nick's love of acting and creating things with his hands doesn't make for a powerful translation here. As other reviews have noted, memoir/manifesto aspects are intertwined with advice that tends to come across as preachy. I doubt that was his intention (I can hear the publisher saying "Hey Nick! Don't forget to insert some manly advice here, here...and here!").

This offering indicates Nick might not be the best writer of books, but he is his...more
Sandy  Kemp
I hate to give this book even 3 stars. But I quite enjoyed reading about his growing up years (I grew up near Joliet too), relationship with his family, and growth as an actor. It was also refreshing to read how crazy he is about his wife.

I did not at all enjoy how crass he is, and I do not need that much info about your sex life with your gorgeous wife, Mr. Offerman! Pictures are now burned into my brain that I prefer were not. This really detracted from the book for me.

I read some reviews sla...more
Nathan Osborne
Paddle Your Own Canoe, in my opinion, was a great read. The book is full of Offerman's opinions, life stories, and ways to "be a man." You'll learn, as you get to about the second chapter, that Nick Offerman isn't the same person that he is on NBC's "Parks and Recreation." While some of the same qualities are shared, Nick Offerman and Ron Swanson are different people. (though, that should be obvious).
Probably like most people who either read or are going to read the book, I wanted to read it...more
Rob Core
Imagine Ron Swanson wrote his autobiography.
Now, I love me some Ron Swanson - that work sounds really interesting and cool in theory.
In reality, it would probably be 40 pages, and read like bad Hemmingway with Ayn Randian philosophy (with an 18 page speech on why the government should not interfere with the producers of meat). Great for kitsch value, and the barbecue advice, but probably short of laughs.

Instead, we get Paddle Your Own Canoe - a hilarious memoir from the man who inspired some of...more
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Nick Offerman is an American actor, writer, and carpenter who is best known for his breakout role as Ron Swanson in the acclaimed NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation. For his work on Parks and Recreation, he received the Television Critics Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy.
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