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Never Have Your Dog Stuffed

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  6,986 Ratings  ·  781 Reviews
He's one of America's most recognisable and acclaimed actors-a star on Broadway, an Oscar nominee for The Aviator, and the only person to ever win Emmys for acting, writing, and directing during his eleven years on M*A*S*H. Now Alan Alda has written a memoir as elegant, funny, and affecting as his greatest performances. 'My mother didn't try to stab my father until I was s ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by Arrow (first published January 1st 2005)
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When I was a kid I would sit in our playroom and watch M*A*S*H* on my black and white TV while everyone else was busy doing their thing. I remember Little House on the Prairie being on at the same time, so my sister and Mom must have been watching the Ingalls. And my Dad...well he wasn't interested in M*A*S*H*. He hated Alan Alda.

According to my Dad, Hawkeye, and Alan Alda by extension, was a bleeding heart liberal, and the only things worse than bleeding heart liberals in our house were "fags"
Jul 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, memoir
My dad use to watch M*A*S*H when I was a kid but I would usually leave the room or pick up a book to block it out, war stuff scared me and was never my thing. Those little snippets were all I knew about Alan Alda but the title of this one called my name.

This isn’t one of those gossipy tell-alls and the book barely touches on Alda’s time on M*A*S*H. It’s a memoir about his entire life and I found it fascinating and quietly funny. Alda grew up surrounded by performers and parents who were merely c
AJ LeBlanc
Jul 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're going to read something by Alan Alda, get the audio version and have it read to you by Alan Alda.

I knew nothing about his life and I am so glad I picked this up. He grew up in the world of vaudeville, learning the theater from the wings. For anyone interested in acting, this is a good look of what to do and what not to do.

It's not a study of acting though, but you can't have Alan Alda's autobio without information on acting.

The most powerful moments for me involve his mother. She suffe
May 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
He seems like a very nice person. He is a wonderful actor. As an author, well, he is an excellent actor.
J.K. Grice
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-memoir
I've always liked Alan Alda, especially from his MASH days. This book is humorous, but also gives great insight into Alda's childhood and his parents. I really enjoyed it.
A while back, mr czuk and I had a driveway moment- one of those times when what is on the radio is so interesting, you don't want to get out of the car to go inside. What was so interesting? One of our favorite NPR shows, "What do you know" with Michael Feldman was on with Alan Alda as the guest for the first segment. Alda was so great in telling stories from his childhood that I turned to mr czuk and said, "I'll have to try and find his book. It sounds great." I was gifted this copy by my frien ...more
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was really lovely to read. Above all, it confirmed my notion of Alan Alda as a kind man and I loved getting to know him a little better amid his strange and fascinating life stories. Recommended for fans and for those interested in acting, show business, mental illness, family dynamics and even physics.
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys this actor
I've always loved Alan Alda as an actor. This book makes be love the man he is just as much. On film his sincerety humanity shine through. The book also shows his insecurities, joys, and integrity. He had a pretty tough and unusual childhood. His experiences teach him many lessons. His mother is mentally ill, and his father is a good man but always on the road performing. Alda learns that he loves to makes people laugh and especially loves improvisation. He loves books and learning. He learns th ...more
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks

“My mother didn't try to stab my father until I was six.” ― Alan Alda, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've Learned

NEVER HAVE YOUR DOG STUFFED: AND OTHER THINGS I’VE LEARNED, by Alan Alda was not quite as easy, or enjoyable, a listen as was Alda’s other memoir, THINGS I OVERHEARD WHILE TALKING TO MYSELF, perhaps, in part, because the audiobook of THING I OVERHEARD was narrated by Alan, himself, and NEVER HAVE YOUR DOG STUFFED wasn’t. And, t
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this four stars instead of five as it seemed to be somewhat disjointed. At times it seems the book is going in chronological order pursuant to Mr. Alda's life and then suddenly you jump back or forward in time.

as to the content, this is not a tell-all book or an exploration into Mr. Alda's fantastic life. rather, this is a compilation of stories that have lead Mr. Alda to come to certain realizations about life and why we do what we do. that is not to say it is a self-help book, either.
Before reading this book I knew little about Alan Alda. Of course I was one of the millions who welcomed him into my living room each week as he portrayed Hawkeye on M.A.S.H. Later, went the lights went off and Alda went on to other things, I’d see his warm face from time to time, but never paid much attention to his career.

Our book group chose this, a bit different than most memoirs we have read before. Memoirs in themselves can be sketchy, just giving a bit of a life but not the whole picture
Nancy Rossman
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is reassuring to learn that the actor that I have loved and admired is the "real" person I have always assumed he must be. Had to be. He couldn't possibly be some limp dick like so many other movie stars that we love in film but are so disgusting about their real life (think Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, and okay maybe even ... Johnny Depp).

This is quite a departure memoir, as in the remembrances that are are so revealing, poignant, the grim side of his life and living with/dying with his literally
May 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, nonfiction
I've liked Alan Alda since I was a kid watching "M*A*S*H" with my parents. This look inside his life was eye-opening, to say the least, but he tackles even the roughest subjects with his trademark humor. I only wish there had been more about "M*A*S*H" in the book, though I realize the series was just a snippet of his overall life story. A must read for any fan.
Nick Guzan
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alan Alda is pretty witty, smart, and introspective and this just reassured me that I'd enjoy a conversation with him in real life as well!
Jan Dunlap
Though not at all what I expected (ie. a very funny read), this memoir was engaging and fascinating in revealing a side of Alan Alda I had no idea existed. From his unconventional childhood as the son of burlesque performers to his current stage career, Alda has a deep story to tell and he tells it well in this book: his mother's mental illness, his own stint in the military, his priority on family life, his insistence on making his acting roles more than mere entertainment. If you're looking fo ...more
Scott Holstad
As a longtime M*A*S*H fan, I was elated when I found this book. I grew up loving Alan Alda's character, Hawkeye, on M*A*S*H. He seemed so very cool, and the rest of the cast was awesome. So when I picked up the book, I was hoping for a lively autobiography complete with numerous M*A*S*H stories. BTW, it surprised me to see, while reading through Goodreads reviews, just how many people did NOT want that! It confirmed for me the fact that I'm a very different reader than most people. I like what m ...more
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have no great connection to Alan Alda, just a vague sense of really liking the guy and enjoying what he's been in so I thought I'd pick this up for some laughs. Whoa, he's has had a tremendous, and bizarre, amount of life experience! Who knew!? This was a very interesting look at his life, from his early years waiting in the wings of his parents' burlesque troupe, to really having his dog stuffed, to his mother's mental illness (possibly schizophrenia, but back then that just wasn't talked abo ...more
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn’t one of those gossipy tell-alls and the book barely touches on Alda’s time on M*A*S*H. It’s a memoir about his entire life and I found it fascinating and quietly funny. Alda grew up surrounded by performers and parents who were merely children in grown up bodies. His mother was mentally unstable and grew increasingly worse as she aged. His dad was a somewhat famous, handsome actor but he was never paid well so Alda grew up on the edge of broke and remains pretty humble even when he gai ...more
Oct 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not certain what possessed me to pick this up, other than a vague childhood fondness for MASH and a general sense that Alan Alda is a thoroughly good sort. On the latter point, I was absolutely right: he manages to write with a complete lack of ego, whilst describing himself as the sort of person who craves attention and the need to perform. He also manages to write about his mother's psychosis in a way that is moving yet wholly removed from any sense of this being a 'misery memoir'. Indeed, ...more
Jun 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always loved Alan Alda. I loved him as Hawkeye in M*A*S*H and I've admired him for his activism for issues that were important to me. He's always seemed to be a kind and compassionate person, and I like that about him, too. This book explained a lot. It was fascinating to learn about his dysfunctional childhood, and to realize that he overcame what could have scarred him for life. I'm amazed he is as normal as he is, considering his less than normal upbringing. This book followed his slow t ...more
Aug 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting look into the life of Alan Alda. He was very candid about his relationship with his parents and his mother's mental illness. He was also very candid about his acting experiences (both stage and screen). The stories were blunt and had elements of humor. My main problem is that the audio version was supposed to have been narrated by Alda himself, but it was narrated by another reader, Mark Kashman. This was disappointing because Alda has a nuance to his voice that enhances ...more
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio

I listened to this as an audio book on a long road trip and it was a good 'company-keeper.'

Never Have your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I Have Learned is a road map to life.
One thing I learned, Alan Alda is not Hawkeye Pierce, his most well-known character, womanizer, martini drinker and all around crazy prankster. But where they do intersect was that Alda and Hawkeye are good, kind people who seek attention and validation from other people, which is not exactly a fla
P. Kirby
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before the series had run its course, I would let a tarantula the size of a small grapefruit walk across my hand. I could feel the pads on his feet and could sense the life of a fellow creature in him, something I could never do when I recoiled in fear from these animals.
At this point, I decided the teeny, off-and-on crush I had on Alda in my youth was totally justified.

I have no patience for the asinine, irrational, histrionics exhibited by spider and snake haters. And bee haters, although,
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoughtful, intelligent, and humorous look at a thoughtful, intelligent, and humorous man.

In one of my earlier updates I mentioned how nice it was that Alda didn't make himself out to be someone who had never made a mistake. And that observation stayed true to the end. Ultimately, this wasn't the biography of a famous actor who was brilliant from birth, but the path taken by someone who is intent to learn what makes the world tick.

From his attempts to figure out what makes an actor a good acto
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Per another reviewer's suggestion, I listened to the audio of this book rather than reading it. (Does it still count toward my reading challenge? Whatever, I'm counting it.) I'd never listened to an audiobook before, but once I learned how to make my million-thoughts-a-second brain all but shut off and listen, I loved it. Alda's writing is humorous and, of course, his delivery is perfect. Hearing the man responsible for making me fall in love with Hawkeye Pierce tell his story made me admire him ...more
Michael Latiolais
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A funny, yet poignant, recollection of Alan's life. Well worth the time.
Kris W
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A witty and insightful memoir by one of my favorite actors from my teenagehood.
Elif Seyma Bayrak
I had no big expectations at the beginning but I really enjoyed reading this memoir. He is one of those people who was born to act, write and create! And a beautiful soul!
Bonnie Irwin
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An engaging and interesting memoir by one of my favorite actors. While I knew he had a done a fair amount of directing, I had neglected to notice how much writing he has done. This latter seems to be his true love, albeit a challenge for him, especially when he started. It was also fun to learn a little more about Robert Alda and his days as a singer/actor in burlesque.
Jan 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I defy any person who might read this article to present to me another nineteen-year-old girl of today's generation who knows exactly who Alan Alda is, everything that he has done, and some of the more intimate particulars of his life. The second and third, of course, are direct results of reading this revealing, enchanting, humorous, inspiring, thoughtful autobiography, although to be fair, I have been watching reruns of MASH since I was seven years old. To me, there has always been something a ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Never Have Your Dog Stuffed 1 5 Feb 07, 2013 07:50PM  
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Full name: Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo
Son of actor Robert Alda
Husband of children's book author Arlene Alda

Best known from role of Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce from M*A*S*H* (TV series)
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“The difference between listening and pretending to listen, I discovered, is enormous. One is fluid, the other is rigid. One is alive, the other is stuffed. Eventually, I found a radical way of thinking about listening. Real listening is a willingness to let the other person change you. When I’m willing to let them change me, something happens between us that’s more interesting than a pair of dueling monologues.” 52 likes
“During the first day, curious at having outsiders among them, a long stream of inmates came over and talked with me. Remarkably, according to what they told me, nearly every inmate in the prison didn't do it. Several thousand people had been locked up unjustly and, by an incredible coincidence, all in the same prison.

On the other hand, they knew an awful lot about how to knife somebody.”
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