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Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've Learned

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  7,813 ratings  ·  840 reviews
Hes one of Americas most recognizable and acclaimed actorsa 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 didnt try to stab my father until I was six,
...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 13th 2005 by Random House (first published January 1st 2005)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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Brad
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"
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Bark
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 isnt one of those gossipy tell-alls and the book barely touches on Aldas time on M*A*S*H. Its 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
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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.
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
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david
May 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
He seems like a very nice person. He is a wonderful actor. As an author, well, he is an excellent actor.
Judy
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 ...more
Amy
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 ...more
Angela
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.
George
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
WARM AND WITTY, BUT (PERHAPS) NOT AS WISE.

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 IVE LEARNED, by Alan Alda was not quite as easy, or enjoyable, a listen as was Aldas 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 wasnt. And, too,
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Micahb
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
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.
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J.M.
May 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
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!
Carol
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, Id 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.
...more
Sarah Sammis
Oct 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: released
Let me start this review off with a little disclosure. I am a complete and utter Alan Alda fangirl. My grandmother was a Robert Alda fan and I remember comparing notes with her during those few M*A*S*H episodes where the two acted together. So when I heard Alda on the radio back when Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've Learned I've wanted the book. Mom got me a copy for last Christmas and my inner fangirl squeed with delight.

Was the book worth the wait? Yes! I tore through my
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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
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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 ...more
Louis
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Alan Alda's memoir shows him to be the thoughtful, intelligent man any M*A*S*H fan knew him to be all along. Learning of his life's story interested me, especially in his honest discussion of his rivalry with, and ultimate acceptance of, his father. I also appreciated the way he finds in his imagination a way to preserve memories. That said, I found this book a bit disappointing. Alda does not go into detail about some parts of his life which I believe would have made for a more fascinating ...more
skketch
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
****NOVEL THOUGHTS****
3.8

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
...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 ...more
Laurie
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 ...more
Carol
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isnt one of those gossipy tell-alls and the book barely touches on Aldas time on M*A*S*H. Its 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 gains ...more
Rob
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
Mike (the Paladin)
Unabridged CD (audio) version of the book.

While I am not particularly an Alan Alda fan, I think I may know him a little better now. I m not going to go into my attitude about Alda himself. (If I had a criticism I'm sure Mr. Alda would cry all the way to the bank. In other words, I may disagree with him or think I escaped something he didn't for example, but he seems to have done quite well, so I don't plan to go into all that.)

Still for fans and the simply curious alike ( the title got me) this
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Joyce
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 ...more
Jaret
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
Anita
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
Fun memoir, well written and thoughtful.
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,
...more
Tina Rae
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Alan Alda
So I actually started reading this book many years ago (I don't even remember when, honestly) and just never ended up finishing it. It wasn't that I wasn't enjoying this book but when I was in school, I tended to start a bunch of books during finals week and then just not end up finishing them for a while. That, or I was reading this when I moved and didn't end up picking it back up again after I got resettled. Something like that happened and, for whatever reason, this has been sitting around ...more
Kallia
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
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Meels
Well, it was interesting. It wasnt nearly as funny as I expected, but it had its moments. Unfortunately, those moments were surrounded by misery. Catholic boarding school at age 6, polio, dead dogs...mental illness (his mother), and the struggle of making it as an actor. So much focus on these things, but little on his actual family, his loving wife, his daughters, his brother. MASH was there, but not as much as I expected? Enough to counterbalance the gloom? I dont know. He is an interesting ...more
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Full name: Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo
Son of actor Robert Alda
Husband of children's book author Arlene Alda

Alan Alda is an American actor, director, screenwriter, comedian and author. A six-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner, he played Hawkeye Pierce in the war television series M*A*S*H.

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