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Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America's Gutsiest Troublemakers

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  7,204 ratings  ·  889 reviews
The star of Parks and Recreation and author of the New York Times bestseller Paddle Your Own Canoe returns with a second book that humorously highlights twenty-one 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 k
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Kindle Edition, 392 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Dutton
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3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,204 ratings  ·  889 reviews


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Becky
I have never seen Parks & Recreation. There. I said it. My previous experience with Nick Offerman's work is threefold, and two of those were just voice acting, AND those two were watched with my toddler nephew, who loves them both. I will leave you to figure out which ones those are. Here are the three roles I've seen Nick Offerman play:
1) Don Fitzgerald in "We're The Millers"
2) Grandpa Mike in "Hotel Transylvania 2"
3) Metal Beard in "The Lego Movie"

You know how sometimes you can get so used
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Sonja P.
I mean, on the one hand this is Nick Offerman narrating an audiobook and there is definitely something soothing about the man behind Ron Swanson speaking melodically to you about AMERICA. On the other, there were definitely times I felt well, hello older generation. Nick Offerman is a very old school dude, as I am sure he would say, in probably those words. He's very work with hands, grr technology is ruining things. And I mean, at a certain point its just like whelp, life is changing. People co ...more
Charles Isom
Jul 08, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hated this book. I had high hopes for this book based on the chapters on Wendell Berry and Conan O'Brien (due to time constraints, I read the book out of order), two artists I respect.

However, the rest of the book was Offerman ranting like a Facebook post while talking about how great he (Offerman) is and how horrible White America is. He doesn't even seem to care about how often he contradicts himself: In one chapter he criticizes comedy news programs (i.e. the Daily Show) and then lauds the
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Jonathan
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
0-2 in the world of Nick Offerman books for me. I appreciated the thought and insightfulness dedicated to the people he chose to write about in this book and I wouldn't argue the fact that they have all contributed to making our country a better place. The problem is only about 30% of this book was about these people, the other 70% was Offerman going off on a tangent about his own opinions. The book became less about these people and more about his thoughts. I won't sit here and analyze his opin ...more
Ursula
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are a right wing, religious, gun-packing American male, you will not like this book. You have been warned.

If you are interested in American history and general gumption and welcome new thought, opinions and change, you will enjoy this book.

I recommend listening to this book on Audible so that you can hear the storyteller, Nick Offerman, share his stories in his own voice. I plan to listen to this book again because I enjoyed it and there are so many gems of knowledge scattered throughout.
Brad
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reads like a 10th grade vocabulary test on democratic talking points.
Regina
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I would guess that most people who read this book did so because they fell in love with the fictitious character, Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation. Sadly, Nick Offerman the person is not nearly as interesting. Actually he is a living, breathing oxymoron. On one hand he touts the values and importance of hard work, then embraces victimization and liberal policies that fly in the face of free enterprise and entrepreneurial spirit. I am a lover of history, but sadly this book had very little ...more
britt_brooke
“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

This is Offerman’s gushing love letter to some amazing Americans who’ve inspired him. From George Washington to George Saunders, it’s a pretty fascinating list. Don’t worry, there are some ladies in there as well! Superb audio narration as always.
April Cote
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is there anything Nick Offerman can't do? He is suave, sharp witted, intelligent, and can rock a mustache like no one else. And the man can also write, and write well, I was happy to discover. A great read about those who he believes to be fine, hard working Americans.

I loved the list of those he admires, the well known and not so well known. Nick gives a quick background on each person and what he feels makes them a hero in his eyes. I learned something that was good, uplifting and encouraging
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Ashley Brooks
3.5

Overall I enjoyed his previous book better. This was a collection of essays about various people throughout history and naturally I found some of them super interesting and some of them super dull. However, you can never go wrong with a Nick Offerman audiobook. Even when you're bored you just want to keep listening.
Esme
If you're looking for a light and fun read that's also fairly informative, this was an audiobook i really liked.

It's not the most info packed history book ever written, he is prone to going on tangents, especially towards the end - so that's why this is 4 and not a 5. He actually speaks fairly slowly, I had to speed up the audio to around 1.75X to really get things going.

He goes over 21 Americans who've really impacted our society in one way or another, artists, leaders, scientists, civil righ
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TK421
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Be bold. Endure and overcome failure. Have faith. In a word: GUMPTION. We can all do with a little more of it.
Trike
2 stars or 3 stars? ::: coin flip ::: 3 it is.

I sort of like this book, but it's too inconsistent in tone and style to love. At times it's really good, and at others it's just nothing at all.

These are essays, so you can dip into one or two at a time in between doing other things, which I appreciate from time to time, but the fact they are so short leaves you little time with some of the subjects, and one gets the impression that there wasn't much "there" there for Offerman to sink his teeth into
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Jim
Jul 01, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In concept, this should have been a home run - Nick Offerman, Ron Swanson hisself, writing about a range of his heroes, from the obvious to the counterintuitive (Laurie Anderson, Yoko Ono).

Unfortunately, it fails in execution. Offerman is a brilliantly understated comic actor, and an excellent woodworker, but as a writer he's merely adequate. He gets spelling and grammar right, but there's no life or passion in his prose. Very little humor either.

My final comment is that the essays are not biog
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Loyalhistorian
I listened to this book with Audible. I had some serious issues with this book, especially the further we got into the chapters. My biggest issue was his use of Presentism in regards to historical situations. Also, I had problems with him trying to pass off some of his very biased opinions as cold-hard fact. For this review, I broke it up into The Good (for stuff I liked), The Bad (for the main issues I had with the book), and The Ugly (where I try to point out where he got some things very wron ...more
Melissa Chung
Aug 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great nonfiction written by a very funny and eloquent guy. 4 stars!!

I have seen a stand up comedy show starring Nick Offerman (lovely singing voice, contagious laugh) and I've seen him a few times on t.v., but I was not really familiar with his Parks of Recreation television show or his earlier nonfiction, 'Paddle Your Own Canoe:One Man's Fundamentals For Delicious Living'.

This being my first real insight to what makes Nick Offerman tick, I have found him to be a rather interesting person
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Jake
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
I rolled my metaphorical eyes a little when Cousin Todd chose this title for book club. I thought it would be a TV star making a buck by writing a funny book about America with lots of wiener jokes and such. Instead, I found out that Nick Offerman is a pretty smart and sincere dude (still with wiener jokes). I often get pretty bummed out looking at the state of our society with everyone staring at phones and super concerned about how other people see them online but ignoring the real people in t ...more
Alger
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Vast waste of time, effort, paper, intelligence...

Offerman is a one-trick-pony. His schtick is saying something with the most words possible, and a preference for antique or polysyllabic choices over simple one or two syllable words. This technique puffs up simple two paragraph biographic blurbs into four page rambles through a word thicket.

I have no serious objections with any of Offerman's choices of heroes though, and that is what rescues this book from a 0ne-star rating. Any book that ranks
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JanEyre9
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-books
Hilarious, informative, and just downright fun. I could listen to Offerman talk all dang day.
Kari
Sep 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved the first two thirds or so, and then it really dropped off for me. There are 21 chapters, each for a different person, but oftentimes (especially as the book progresses) the chapters are filled with Offerman's own rabbit trails and railings. I was so excited when I saw that Wendell Berry was one of the chapters (Wendell Berry is my all-time favorite author), and even more pleased when he keeps quoting him in the subsequent chapters.

Unfortunately, Offerman did not apply Berry's 'l
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Michelle
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
As with his first book, Nick Offerman has again endeared himself to me with his educated, quick wit, life philosophy, simple wisdom and - at the risk of tripping over the line into corny review territory - gumption.
I am instantly declaring him my imaginary best friend. I would declare him an imaginary husband however he is already married and imaginarily married.
I thoroughly enjoyed each addition to his list of inspiring personalities who he defines as having gumption. If you can, listen to the
...more
Cailey
I wanted to love this book, if only because Nick Offerman seems like a really cool guy. However, it was pretty clear from the get go that this book was very self-indulgent. I thought it was going to be more of a historical type book, but it was mostly just an excuse for Offerman to talk about all of these people he really liked. So, good for him. It sounds like he had a lot of fun making this book, and he had the open forum to talk about his very left political ideals. (I lean left myself, but a ...more
Leah Wescott
Sep 17, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, humor, leadership
Nick Offerman really likes himself and wants us to believe that because he uses fancy words he must be awfully bright. Awful? Yes. Bright? Nope. Having opinions doesn't make you wise. Reading other people's books and quoting them doesn't make you a scholar. Self-congratulations isn't hidden just because you throw in a few attempts to be self-deprecating.
John Pehle
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was "pretty work." I enjoyed how Offerman tenaciously reiterated his themes, including hard work, kindness, and distrust of our corporate overlords. He drew some seemingly unrelated subjects together and, for the most part, treated the 21 people in his book with equal admiration and analysis.
Parker
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Offerman is an intelligent, articulate writer. He brings a lot of charisma to this book, and piques a lot of interest about the people he profiles in it. At times it can feel like a bit of a manifesto against organized religion, but it's a good read overall.
Amanda
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love this guy- a wonderful human being- wish we had more like him
Derek Slominski
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Was a book for the ages. You didnt feel like you were reading when you were reading this book it felt like you were on a journey through space and time at the same time. A true masterpiece.
Stan Crader
Interest historical facts but the read is spoiled by Offerman's political diatribes that he reports as fact but are merely liberal opinion.
Beth Wisniewski
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gosh I wish I could give this book 1000+ stars! Nick Offerman is not only hilarious and incredibly well read and intelligent he's one hell of a writer and narrator! I loved the historical and modern folks with gumption mentioned in the book but it also showed us an inside look into Mr. Offerman's head and his really sweet relationship with his equally talented wife. Such a great read AND listen! (Nick reads the audiobook)
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Play Book Tag: Gumption (Audible Version) by Nick Offerman 4 stars 3 11 Jul 05, 2018 11:04AM  

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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.
“Find out what makes you kinder, what opens you up and brings out the most loving, generous, and unafraid version of you—and go after those things as if nothing else matters. Because, actually, nothing else does.” 33 likes
“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” 9 likes
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