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

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  27,729 ratings  ·  2,266 reviews
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 an
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Dutton
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Kevin Tibbs It's weird that you read this book and felt he was a jerk, but... *shrug*

Ron Swanson is a fictional character. Nick Offerman is a real human being and…more
It's weird that you read this book and felt he was a jerk, but... *shrug*

Ron Swanson is a fictional character. Nick Offerman is a real human being and as such, he might have aspects of his personality that aren't designed to appeal to as broad an audience as possible.

I'd recommend you look through the book again, as there are quite a few bits about living a life of kindness, being polite, taking your lumps as you earn them, embracing gratitude and standing by your friends in loyalty.

So, to answer your question, "Does Nick Offerman have to be a jerk?" He wasn't.(less)
Jenna No, it's not age appropriate. Probably best to save it for the years between high school and college. Although there is a lot of wonderful inspiration…moreNo, it's not age appropriate. Probably best to save it for the years between high school and college. Although there is a lot of wonderful inspiration and good advice in this book (wholesome hardworking farm-boy ethics and a great feminist perspective), he also advises which recreational illegal drugs are best and which are to be avoided, talks in great detail about sex and religion, and uses profanity regularly. I love it and agree with a great deal of it, but I probably wouldn't give it to a young teen to read.

That said, you might want to read it and decide for yourself. Kids are different. A 13 year old who enjoys Parks & Rec might actually be mature enough to have the ability to filter out what doesn't work for him while enjoying someone's life story. (less)

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Brandon Schafer
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Miranda Reads
Jan 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
One thing that this book makes abundantly clear is that Nick Offerman is NOT Ron Swanson. While they may have similar woodworking skills and musings:

My life is always more delicious when I have whiskers on my face, but that might just be because those whiskers tend to accumulate bacon crumbs and scotch, rendering them literally delicious all day long.

This book covers Offerman's early life working on the family farm to his startup as a play actor to his breakout roll of Ron Swanson (the book
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

For anyone out there who wants to claim people who don’t enjoy Nick Offerman’s writings only fall on that side of the fence because they want a “Ron Swanson” book rather than a Nick Offerman book, I have this to say . . . .

Seriously, though, Nick Offerman IS Ron Swanson. At least as far as his character traits go. He grows a great mustache, he enjoys eating animal carcasses washed down by fine brown liquors, he builds shit and he’
Feb 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Gosh darnit if I didn't like Nick Offerman even more after reading his book.

I was already a fan because of his excellent and hilarious work playing Ron Swanson on the NBC show "Parks and Recreation." His memoir, which he calls a guide for "delicious living," is a fun, fast read. He talks about growing up on a farm in Illinois, his wise and supportive parents, how he got his start in acting, how he met his (also hilarious) wife, Megan Mullally, and he offers advice on how to have a more fulfillin
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
If you are anything like me, you first heard about this book because you've watched more "Parks and Rec" than is strictly reasonable, and Ron Swanson has made you laugh and cringe. While I don't always agree with the cantankerous character, he is nevertheless my favorite and I love Offerman's deadpan delivery. I was very curious to know what a guy who can pull off such a fantastic mustache would have to say about delicious living...

Now if you plan on reading this, my advice is: don't. Get the au
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Better title would be "Nick Offerman Hates Religion, Loves Intoxicants" ...more
Gavin Breeden
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 theater,
Joe Janca
Oct 04, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Barnabas Piper
Apr 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
A sad case of mistaking fame for intellect. His humor doesn’t come through super well in writing either. Generally a disappointing, flat book about nothing.
Nov 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: autobio
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 is di ...more
Amy Sheridan
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Claire Bear
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Kevin Baker
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Cheree Moore
Nov 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kaethe Douglas
Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living - Nick Offerman   Offerman is a lucky guy would had a good childhood, a good and meaningful college time, followed by the rest of his life, working hard at work and crafts he appreciates (which is mostly being silly, but also involves building canoes). He has a good work ethic and a seemingly kind heart, as well as a seriously advanced sense of humor. It's delightful to read a memoir by someone who understands that his life is ve ...more
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
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 best,
Jessica Jeffers
Oct 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
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
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Pursue decency in all dealings with your fellow man and woman. Simply put? Don’t be an asshole.”

I’ve seen never seen an episode of Parks and Rec (I know, I’m lame!), but I knew Offerman was a funny and I love memoirs, so why not?? I’m a fan now. I particularly loved his candid, intelligent, funny comments on religion. This was funny and brash, but there were some very thoughtful bits, too. I want to hang out with him and Megan Mullally so bad.
Oct 26, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfic, dnf, biography
Absolute bull. Couldn't finish it. Couldn't get past the 2nd chapter. Maybe he shouldn't have put the chapter in which he puts down & mocks the entire Christian faith so early in the book? I thought this would be a fun & funny book about Nick Offerman & the Parks & Rec character Ron Swanson. It's not. ...more
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
How does anybody not love this book?
Answer: They didn't understand the disclaimer about this being a book about Nick Offerman, NOT Ron Swanson.
Mr Offerman eats vegetables and likes drugs. But he's an actor for christ sake, he lives in LA. Are you really that surprised?
The blurb also states that it deals with his views on religion. If his views were 'it's all fine and dandy', it wouldn't be blurb worthy.
If you pick up a biography and give it a bad review because of the person being too honest abo
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
Jan 02, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Firstly, I had no idea the man was so good with words—it reminded me a bit of a less posh, American Russell Brand, the language was quite different from what I expected it to be, especially from what I am used to from similar memoirs (e.g. Amy's, Tina's, Mindy's). Secondly, I had no idea he had such a solid background in theatre (which is what the biggest portion of the book focuses on), so that was surprising and really interesting. It was a delightful read that I enjoyed immensely, especially ...more
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was expecting to laugh, and wasn't disappointed. If you can, listen to the audiobook of this because Offerman reads it himself and it added a whole other beautiful dimension to his stories -- AND HE SINGS.

I wasn't expecting to cry, but there were a lot f heartwarming moments, like when he waxed-poetic about his parents (I especially enjoyed his dad-mutation) and the entire chapter on his love for his wife Megan Mullaly (RON IS ACTUALLY MARRIED TO TAMNY IRL) and I cried because love is beautifu
Corey Campbell
I enjoy Nick Offerman well enough, but I found his book to be a bit too meandering for my tastes. It wasn't nearly focused enough for me to follow the thread of what he was writing about.

I did enjo0y, however, the bits about his experience in the U of I theatre program as I know a good deal of the people he talks about and I'm familiar with the program since I am a proud Alumnus of it. I also enjoyed thoroughly the passages where he talks about his relationship with his wife, and took a good dea
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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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