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

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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 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 known for their humor and patriotism in equal measure. After the great success of his autobiography, Paddle Your Own Canoe, Offerman now focuses on the lives of those who inspired him. From George Washington to Willie Nelson, he describes twenty-one heroic figures and why they inspire in him such great meaning. He combines both serious history with light-hearted humor—comparing, say, Benjamin Franklin’s abstinence from daytime drinking to his own sage refusal to join his construction crew in getting plastered on the way to work. The subject matter also allows Offerman to expound upon his favorite topics, which readers love to hear—areas such as religion, politics, woodworking and handcrafting, agriculture, creativity, philosophy, fashion, and, of course, meat.


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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 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 known for their humor and patriotism in equal measure. After the great success of his autobiography, Paddle Your Own Canoe, Offerman now focuses on the lives of those who inspired him. From George Washington to Willie Nelson, he describes twenty-one heroic figures and why they inspire in him such great meaning. He combines both serious history with light-hearted humor—comparing, say, Benjamin Franklin’s abstinence from daytime drinking to his own sage refusal to join his construction crew in getting plastered on the way to work. The subject matter also allows Offerman to expound upon his favorite topics, which readers love to hear—areas such as religion, politics, woodworking and handcrafting, agriculture, creativity, philosophy, fashion, and, of course, meat.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    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 to 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 to a character that you start to think that you know them and maybe start to confuse the actor with the character? Yeah, I didn't have that problem here, and a quick browse of the other reviews for this book tells me that's a pretty good thing. I didn't have expectations about the type or delivery of the humor, or feel any kind of way about how Offerman went about writing or reading his book. I picked up the book on Audible because of three things: 1) It was probably gonna be funny as shit. 2) I like Offerman's voice. Like baritone honey in my ears. Only less sticky. (Or IS IT?) 3) I like lists. (See? I've made two of them already in this review!) What I didn't expect was to enjoy the book so much. I loved the quirky deadpan delivery. I loved the $5-word salad of this book. I loved and was surprised by several of the people he included in this book, and loved the reasons for their inclusion. I loved listening to Offerman explain these reasons to me, in whatever meandering and wandering way he chose to get there, because the whole experience felt like him sitting down with me and saying "Let me tell you about 21 people who inspire me and why..." and it was great. It felt intimate and real and his personality - a little bit oddball, a little bit hokey, a little bit stick-in-the-mud, and a lot a bit funny - just worked for me. He's made me appreciate things and people in a new light, because his enthusiasm for them made me take a step back from myself and see how others might see them. For instance, my boyfriend has been a long time fan of Laurie Anderson. Me, not so much. I never really appreciated the synthesized and experimental music that she made, and it stopped me from really HEARING her. But listening to Offerman recite the actual lyrics, without any of the weird music that isn't really my thing, made me appreciate Anderson's work more than I ever would have on my own. Every chapter included something new to me, either something that made me re-examine what I already knew, or which made me want to seek out something that I hadn't yet experienced and give it a try, or something which made me want to change something about myself. I will admit that there were times when I felt like Offerman was talking directly to me when it came to this latter bit, because I'd be sitting there minding my own business, playing Candy Crush and letting his voice just caress my eardrums, and then he'd talk about the Candy Crush Attention Span and I would be like "Oh shit, he caught me." And it would make me stop to think - Am I THAT overstimulated that I can't even sit and listen to an audiobook without having a secondary activity running at the same time to keep the rest of my head busy? Apparently so. *sigh* I'm sorry I'm such a disappointment to you, Nick Offerman. :( Anyway... Here are some things that I decided that I want do after finishing this book: 1) Check out the works of Wendell Berry 2) And the works of George Saunders 3) And the Carol Burnett show (I've seen bit of it, but I want to watch more of it maybe) 4) And Yoko Ono 5) Learn more about Barney Frank 6) Listen to Wilco 7) Make more things with my hands 8) Be more open to things 9) Make more lists. 10) Build a wooden boat. Ok, probably not that last one. But apparently it's a thing people do. *shrug* Anyway, I loved this book, and I recommend it if you are the type who finds things funny and are OK with random stuff and rambling thoughts and side-bars and people who write books telling you their thoughts and opinions on things. I am good with those things, and so I loved the book. Also, it didn't hurt that Offerman is a sexy man-beast. Just sayin'.

  2. 4 out of 5

    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 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 communicate in different ways. Video games are fun. Get over it. Also, physical books are good, but some people like ebooks and in fact its easier for certain people to read on them. He strikes me at times as a very privileged dude making assumptions based on his life-listen, man. Not everyone can just work in a woodshop. Sometimes finding your passion outside of work, and working to support that passion is okay. I'm kinda tired of the above-it-all LOVE YOUR WORK thing and only then have you achieved some kind of life-vana. Guess what? Not everyone is lucky enough to get to that point. Maybe someday. But maybe paying bills and being with your family is what you want. Thats not a bad thing. Not everyone is a Ron. Some people are Jerrys, and while that may seem like an insult, he actually really enjoyed his life and had a lovely one that he wanted. I don't know. Thats a rant for another day. This is entertaining if you want to listen to him talk about people he likes, and rant about the evils of cell phones and how its good to read books and know long words. I think he's an interesting person who cares a lot, and he's a famous person I would like to have a beer with, you know? He obviously loves his wife and Parks, and makes that obvious. I love Parks too, and Mr. Offerman, even if we disagree on some things-I thinks thats pretty good common ground.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Charles Isom

    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 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 them IN THE VERY NEXT CHAPTER. He accuses America of "white washing" the past while at the same time ignoring anything negative about his subjects. He extols the virtue of simple writing while going out of his way to use as many 50-cent words as he can. But I could have lived with all of that until he agrees with someone who says: "...the police are really brutal. They're really entitled, you know?" I pretty much stopped reading at that point. Feel free to love the character of Ron Swanson but don't give this book the time of day.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    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 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 opinions about every single topic because when it comes down to it they don't really matter. The man is a Hollywood actor, and although he tries to portray himself as the small town American (growing up in a town about 15 miles from where I currently live actually), the fact remains the guy is still loaded. He talks about going out to eat and interviewing these people and the entire time I'm thinking, "I'm sure that meal you're describing as being incredible is incredible because it probably costs a good hundred dollars." Then he basically brags about having the connections to meet all of these people (well the ones still living) and tops it off by purchasing one of Yoko Onos pieces of art. I just found all of this contradicting to some of the points he was trying to make. So again, back to my point, why is his opinion any more valuable than the next guy? It's not, and I love Ron Swanson, but listening to Offerman read for 12 hours becomes pretty boring and isn't all that funny.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ursula

    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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Regina

    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 act 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 actual history in it. Some was inaccurate at best, but most was just the author ranting his own opinions that were often contradictory. I couldn't bring myself to finish the last half of the book. I'm sorry, but Barney Frank as an American hero? Are you for real? Just. No.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    Reads like a 10th grade vocabulary test on democratic talking points.

  8. 4 out of 5

    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 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 rights people etc. He obviously has a LOT of passion for what he's writing about, you can tell in the way he emotes and gets all excited about certain topics. I loved his bit on Teddy Roosevelt - those two probably would have been bros. However, he did keep things evenly represented and went over the downsides of Teddy's ideologies - mainly his views on natives and women not being very....progressive. I do think he tried to show many sides to the same figureheads for a more well rounded look. I got to the end and really enjoyed myself, I went to go rate it and found it had a 3.7 which is kind of on the lower end of things. I got curious and started going through the top 1 star reviews, and found that many of them site political differences as the main source of complaint. "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." .... or .... "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" So, go into it knowing that this guy is a Democrat, and did use several democratic/liberal people in his 21 greatest Americans. If that doesn't appeal to you, then go ahead and pass. If you don't mind that, and want a history lesson in the same entertainment vein as Drunk History then check this one out!

  9. 4 out of 5

    April Cote

    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 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 about every one of the people he wrote about, and wanted to know more, even when their chapters had come to an end. But a warning to future readers; if you are a religious, God fearing Christian, this book is not for you. Move on. Unless you are willing to hear the opinion of someone who is not, Nick will be sure to makes statements that will get your panties in a twist. I learned, I laughed, and at the end I wanted to eat a steak and drink whiskey like Nick Offerman, and I think I love him more than I do before.

  10. 5 out of 5

    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.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ashley DiNorcia

    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. 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    TK421

    Be bold. Endure and overcome failure. Have faith. In a word: GUMPTION. We can all do with a little more of it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    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 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 wrong in his book, or show where he tried to pass off too much of his opinion as fact). The Good: I enjoyed Nick Offerman reading his own book. He's got a very soothing voice, but it's also nice hearing his own pacing and narrative. I love the fact that he's picking out historical figures that have gumption. Grit like that is definitely lacking in our society nowadays. His pro-American thoughts I agree with, as well as his focus on hard-working individuals that pull themselves up by their own boot straps. I also appreciate the vast characteristics that he associates with gumption. So, not just military prowess, honesty, and being a go-getter, but also things like having a thirst for knowledge or knowing when to remain quiet and listen. One of the most beautifully written chapters is Chapter 11 about Yoko Ono. Well worth a listen if nothing else. Despite many of the other chapters that got me frustrated. I also agree with many of his social gripes he mentions: lack of hard work in newer generations and wanting to do a job well; the softness of modern generations; his affinity for handmade items over mass production; the problem with many people not staying in the present and enjoying the now; the problem with cell phones and the lack of social cues; needing to buy American-made products; the importance of a good education and needing to read; the need for tough-love and critiques; the problem with many words dealing with women being used as negative-connotations and how that makes it seem like women are lesser; etc. The Bad: My gripes are with his interpreting things in history. I'm okay with him telling historical facts, however, the guy is not a historian. So, I don't want you to tell me your interpretation of, oh say, the amendments in the Bill of Rights. That's the parts where I was getting frustrated. Also, his issue with Presentism. As a true historian, you are not supposed to try to judge the past based on the morals and knowledge of present-day society. Offerman is very much using Presentism in his book, over and over again. Yes, thank God, as a society we realize today that everyone should be treated equal; that slavery is wrong; that women deserve equal rights as men; that color and gender do not make you better than someone else. But, this is something that every cultural has to come to realize over time. Like it or not, people are products of their time and must be judged within that paradigm. Much of the second half of his book becomes very boring. It becomes less about the person's character and gumption that he is supposed to be describing, and more about him gushing over meeting his idols. For most of those instances, I couldn't care less about how he met these people. Just tell me how they are an amazing American and why they deserve to be on your list, dude. On top of long, drawn-out stories about how he meets these people, he'll random throw in politics and flat-out opinion rants that take up another large part of the chapters...again, not telling me how this person is a American with gumption. It was toward the end of the Audible book that I happily discovered the button that allowed me to increase the speed with which Offerman speaks. A few chapters greatly needed that button. The Ugly: Here are more issues in the book that are his opinions on topics that really irked me, one way or another. My biggest issue overall is that he (more or less) tries to force these opinions down your throat or make you believe that they are full-fact rather than his interpretation. To be clear, the bolded things are what HIS opinion is in the book. I put in my two-cents after that: 1. As mentioned, his interpretation of the Bill of Rights amendments, particularly the 2nd Amendment. That's your interpretation and opinions, dude. It doesn't make it fact, and it doesn't make anyone that believes otherwise an evil or stupid person. It's a difference of opinion. Plus, if you really want to debate the 2nd Amendment issue like you rant about in the book, then don't focus on long rifles. Out of the roughly 11,000 to 18,000 fatalities of gun violence that occur each year, very few come from assault weapons or long rifles at all. They come from handguns. In 2012, for instance, only 322 people were murdered by long rifles of any kind. Usually, it's about 80% of gun deaths that occur from handguns. Also, contrary to popular belief, handguns are used more often in mass shootings than assault weapons. But mass shootings of any kind in the U.S. only accounts for 1% of gun deaths in the past three decades. What it really boils down to is that the majority of the gun violence comes from gang-related activity, predominately in large cities or counties. The largest percentage of those killed by gun violence are African-American. Sadly, about 5,000 to 6,000 African-American men are killed by guns each year, when only 6% of the American population is comprised of African-American men. On top of that, a huge majority of those killed by guns are "black-on-black" homicides. Maybe we need to be focusing less on trying to tear down the 2nd Amendment, and instead focus on pouring more money and effort into support systems and education in African-American communities. It's tragic. Believe me, being in the education system you see just how badly education of all types needs more funding and support. 2. Full-out self-hate of white ethnicity throughout the book. Basically to him whites, particularly white men, throughout American and world history are evil "white devils." I get that people in American history have not always done what is today considered moral or politically correct, but he really lays it on thick...over and over and over and over (I could continue the "overs"). 3. Reparations to African-American decedents of slaves. Briefly mentioned, but it seems as though he's for them. On a side-note, I would like to state here that the idea of "forty acres and a mule" being given to former slaves did not come from a promise of the U.S. government. It was something taken from a field order by General William T. Sherman in regards to Charleston, SC, and the mules were to be borrowed from the army (not given). However, the order was overturned in the fall of 1865. Also random, let's look at statistics. In the pre-Civil War South, only 2% of whites had a plantation of 80 or more slaves (like what most people imagine when thinking about slavery and the "Tara" plantation like in Gone With the Wind). In 1860, two-thirds of the whites in the South did not own slaves. Of the other one-third of whites that did own slaves, most owned one to four. Nonetheless, it should go without saying that no matter what the statistics are, it's still deplorable to own another human being. My point is though, if you're wanting to pay reparations to decedents of slaves, it sounds like you're going to need to only charge those with the ancestors in that 1/3 percentile. Just saying. 4. That the "white man" needs to atone for the sins of their ancestors. One of the things that I've always loved about America was that (unlike Europe way-back when) you didn't have to follow in your family's footsteps and also you weren't punished for the things your parents did. A long time ago, if your father was a mason, then you would be a mason. If your family were farmers, then you became a farmer. There was no breaking out of the social caste you'd been born into. That was one of the things that we broke away from when our ancestors sailed to the New World. Also, in the old days, if your father owed a debt or did something wrong, then you as his child could be punished or forced to pay the debt in some way, monetary, labor, or otherwise. Again, in America that was not the case, thank the Lord. You are your own person and it is not your fault or responsibility to make up for what your father, grandfather, great-grandfather, etc, did. Did I murder someone or commit genocide of a native population? No. Did I enslave someone? No, and neither did my ancestors, fyi (I like genealogy). Did I ever prevent the civil rights of others? No. Please remember though, Mr. Offerman, that it was not just the "white devils" that owned slaves, even though they were the majority. Native-Americans of various tribes owned slaves, as did a small percentage of Free black men (almost 4,000 Free black men owned about 13,000 black slaves). 5. The dropping of the atomic bombs were wrong and unnecessary. Don't get me started here. I've written lengthy papers on the subject. I wouldn't wish the atomic bombs on anyone, or any bombs for that matter. The results are horrific and mind-boggling. Am I sorry that it happened? Yes. But do I think that it was the wrong move tactically at that point in time? No. And for so many reasons. Here's just one... Look up "Operation Olympic" which was part of "Operation Downfall," having originally been scheduled for November 1, 1945. Read the predictions and statistics of the casualty rate for the invasion of the Japanese mainland, casualty rates on all sides: the American soldiers, the Japanese soldiers, and then the Japanese civilians. That alone should have you second-guessing your belief that it was wrong to drop the atomic bombs. When you total the estimated fatalities for all sides, it was thought to be 6 to 11 million dead. That's just the death predictions, not including the casualties that would have been injured and survived. Compare that to the 246,000 combined deaths from both the atomic bombs. There's no comparison. Again, that is just ONE reason that it was tactically correct to drop the atomic bombs. 6. Tom Laughlin. So, out of all of the gutsiest Americans, Laughlin? Really? It seems that Offerman puts him in this book based on his acting portrayal of "Billy Jack" in the movies. Not really based on Laughlin himself. The first one-third is about the Billy Jack movies. Then another third of the chapter is about a screening of the film and Laughlin's funeral. All, not dealing with why Laughlin is worthy of this title. It doesn't help that the whole chapter began by Offerman stating that he was introduced to the Billy Jack movies by a weird/crazy friend of his in the past that had a wad of crusty yeast dough that he made guests finger, know as "Grandma's 'Gina." Only the last seven minutes really talks about the accomplishments of Laughlin himself (and not as Billy Jack), but even then it was mostly about Laughlin's children. Nothing I heard in that whole chapter made me feel like Laughlin belongs on a list of amazing Americans such as Theodore Roosevelt or Ben Franklin. It especially seemed like a wasted chapter considering in the previous chapter on Eleanor Roosevelt he said that he hated that he didn't have enough space in his book to include so many amazing women. Well, here was your chance to include at least one more in this chapter instead of Laughlin. All of the women you listed are greatly more deserving to have a chapter written on them than this guy who acted like a tough guy in a movie. 7. Christian Bashing. Throughout the book, he's been bashing the Christian religion. How is it that it's okay to see that other religions have their extremists and shouldn't be judged on those few, yet Christianity can't have that same idea afforded to it? Also, the last time I checked, Christians and Republicans weren't throwing gay people off of high buildings simply because of their sexual orientation, like Islam extremists have in recent years. Goes against some of what he was talking about in chapter 10. Really, when it boils down to it, chapter 10 is less about Democrat Barney Frank, and more about Offerman's views on sexual orientation, Christian bashing and preaching what Christianity should be about, and hating on anyone Conservative. Just tell me about Frank's life, achievements, and policies that he's put into place, please. Stop preaching to me. I want to hear about the man's life and gumption, not your two-cents that takes up about 20 of the 30 minutes of chapter 10. In so many of the chapters, he uses a very basic, stereotypical view of Christianity and religion. It also focuses on only the negatives and evils that have been committed in the name of God, and not all the good that has been done in his name. Why do some crazy crack-pots and hypocrites get to be representative of Christians in your book? 8. Comedy News Shows. So it's okay to be mean as long as they are comedians and doing so on a comedic forum like the Jon Stewart Daily Show? Because it is supposed to be a comedy show, it's okay to say things that are extremely offensive, causing a bigger gap between red and blue? Heaven help us, it was found that 62% of US adults get the majority of their news from social media sources. Worst of all (depending on what study you were looking at), an average of 21% to 36% of 18- to 29-year olds are getting their news from comedy news sources like Colbert Report, Daily Show, and SNL. If you have THAT big of a group solely getting their news from these COMEDY sources, then maybe it's even worse that those so-called comedians are being so dividing. You want to talk about brain-washing? That is brain-washing. What's really terrible about Offerman's spewing is he pretends to be bi-partisan in all of this. He pretends to be a moderate that is attacking both conservative and liberal sides, but which side is he really, truly criticizing when it boils down to it? The conservative side. If you're going to do it, at least be honest about it without pretending to be a moderate. 9. Slander in Political Campaigning. He insinuated that slander in political campaigning in modern times comes from the 1980s when Newt Gingrich was running for president. Really? Because from what I have learned over the years, slander has been a part of American campaigning since the first campaigns (after George Washington). In fact, Washington himself warned in his Farewell Address against political parties because of its polarizing powers. In any case, it is widely believed that the 1828 election was the dirtiest in presidential political campaigning. That was against Adams and Jackson. You're talking about one side saying the other was a "pig-f***er" and the other side stating that his wife was an adulterer and bigamist having married Jackson before she divorced her first husband. That became such an issue, that it is thought to have greatly attributed to Jackson's wife's death. 10. Political Campaign Money. I agree, it's disgusting how much money is spent on political campaigns. But, if you're going to mention the Koch Brothers as being evil and conniving, then please mention George Soros too. 11. The US was the "biggest assholes" on the playground in WWII for dropping the atomic bombs, and the only reason that other nations didn't do anything to retaliate was because they didn't want to be "assholes" and drop a bomb too. For the true reason for the dropping of the atomic bombs, please see my answer to #5. As far as the reason other countries didn't retaliate against us after the dropping of the atomic bombs was not because they didn't want to be "assholes." First of all, we were not the only ones trying to create an atomic weapon. We just figured it out first. The reason we had to try to figure it out first was because the Nazis were trying to figure it out too. You know dang well that they would have used it against the US. Heck, Einstein urged FDR to start the Manhattan Project because he knew the importance of it, and that Germany would bomb whoever they wanted if that technology got into their hands first. Secondly, no one else had atomic weapons at the time, so they couldn't drop bombs on us. It had nothing to do with a moral high ground on the other nations' part at all. Also, thirdly, his statement makes no sense because just about everyone after that tried to figure out how to make atomic weapons. Hence the Cold War with the USSR. That whole rant of his about WWII and being like a playground, yada, yada, was ridiculous and infuriating. To even try to simplify the whole monumental situation that is WWII in such a petty way is insulting. 12. Honestly, the last three or four chapters, I just gave up on pointing out what was wrong about some of his very opinionated rants. There's about three other things I could have mentioned, but at this point, I don't care. I'm just glad for the dang book to be over so that he can't brow-beat me with his bias. Chapters: 1. George Washington 2. Ben Franklin 3. James Madison 4. Frederick Douglass 5. Theodore Roosevelt 6. Frederick Law Olmsted 7. Eleanor Roosevelt 8. Tom Laughlin 9. Wendell Berry 10. Barney Frank 11. Yoko Ono 12. Michael Pollan 13. Thomas Lie Nielsen 14. Nat Benjamin 15. George Nakashima 16. Carol Burnett 17. Jeff Tweedy 18. George Saunders 19. Laurie Anderson 20. Willy Nelson 21. Conan O'Brien

  14. 4 out of 5

    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 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, so he just kind of dicked around being cute for a few pages. Vamping, as it were. It does get kind of annoying when Offerman constantly brings up the TV series Parks and Rec time and again, along with his character of Ron Swanson. It's not a show I cared for; despite some clear moments of comedic brilliance, it, too, was inconsistent in tone and style. We get it, bro, you were on a critically acclaimed TV show. Kudos for lucking into a nice part that has spawned all kinds of internet memes. 99% of which are douchey and the opposite of what I believe and, apparently, what Offerman personally espouses, but the actor is not the part. Of the people I know quite a bit about -- Teddy Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Carol Burnett, Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Law Olmsted -- I find no faults in facts. Which lets me be reasonably sure that Offerman has also gotten the facts right about people I know less (or nothing) about. So that is definitely a point in the book's favor. (With the glaring exception of Conan O'Brien. We'll get to that.) As for Offerman presenting himself as a simple fellow from Illinois, that I have a bit more trouble believing. It really feels like more of a part he's playing than his actual persona. He's clearly very much a liberal and an appreciator of experimental art (otherwise neither Yoko Ono nor Laurie Anderson would be in this book), which no "regular guy" I know would care about. The closest to art most regular guys get is appreciating a slow-motion shot of a perfect spiral in a classic NFL Films reel. The other inconsistency is Offerman's damnation and then praise of people like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver. It really comes across that he either liked or disliked them based on whatever mood he was in when he wrote that particular essay. (Given that he and his wife were recently on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, I guess he currently likes Oliver.) One person he seems steadfastly in favor is Conan O'Brien. I think O'Brien is a wickedly funny writer and incredibly quick-witted to boot, but as a TV show host he's missing some ingredient I can't put my finger on. O'Brien certainly seems like the kind of guy I'd like to hang out with, but I find his uncomfortableness in front of a camera hard to watch. Offerman has no such qualms, as he praises Conan endlessly while slamming Leno every chance he gets -- even going so far as referring to the Tonight Show incident as "Leno Shits The Bed" in boldface. There's a difference between supporting your friend and being blindly loyal to him beyond reason. Let's talk about NBC's debacle with the Tonight Show for a minute. Maybe there's some inside baseball stuff going on there that no one will talk about, but from the outside it looks to me like Leno played the part of a good Company Man and it was O'Brien who shat the bed. Offerman repeats the nonsense -- no, let's call it what it is, utter bullshit -- that the poor ratings of Leno's 10 o'clock show led directly to the downfall of Conan's Tonight Show. What he conveniently ignores is that O'Brien took over the Tonight Show on June 1st and Leno's show didn't debut until September 14. Throughout the entire summer Conan's ratings were in a freefall. Eventually they stabilized... at exactly the same level they were when he ran the Late Show. And, as it turns out, thrice the numbers he currently gets for Conan. Leno pulled in a consistent 5 to 5.5 million viewers as Tonight Show host, while Conan averaged about 3 to 3.5 million. I don't know what calendar Offerman uses, but on every one of them I've seen, that's 3-and-a-half months where Conan had no one to blame but himself. And let's not forget that Conan walked away with somewhere north of $45 million bucks. It was a blunder, pure and simple. And it certainly wasn't Leno's fault. NBC was so desperate to hold onto Conan that they offered him the Tonight Show without informing Leno. It was the exact same crap they had pulled on Letterman back in '91, and Leno would've been more than justified going somewhere else after being treated so shabbily in exchange for his 25 years of loyalty to the network. Instead Leno took the high road and graciously stepped down. That was long, but worth repeating, because Offerman ends an otherwise mostly-decent book with an essay that vilifies a guy whose only crime seems to be that he was affable. I'm not a fan of the vanilla comic Leno turned into once he took over Johnny's chair and thought he was a so-so interviewer, but Jesus people, climb down off the guy's ass. Another essay i was especially disappointed by was the Laurie Anderson interview. I've been a fan of hers since I first saw her back in 1981. She completely opened my eyes about performance art and the message of her poetry resonated, plus I genuinely liked her music. So much so that I immediately bought her LP box set "United States" when I was in high school and practically wore the grooves out of that thing. But this essay feels particularly thin to me, especially when there's so much meat on the bone. Maybe she was too slippery an artist to nail down, because Anderson genuinely seems like she's one of the two smartest people in any given roomful of geniuses, but I get the notion Offerman was simply out of his depth with her. There are 20-plus essays here and I have thoughts on most of them, but this is already longer than anyone will read. tl; dr - good not great

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    Eight-hour road trip to pick up a new puppy! I have the hardcover out from the library, but decided to check out the audiobook instead, crank the playback speed up to 1.25x on the way there and 1.5x on the way back to see if I could get most of the way through this book in one day. (I finished the last half hour on a walk the next day.) So this book will be forever associated with driving with my left hand while scratching behind the ears of a Golden Retriever pup with my right. And hey, it's fine Eight-hour road trip to pick up a new puppy! I have the hardcover out from the library, but decided to check out the audiobook instead, crank the playback speed up to 1.25x on the way there and 1.5x on the way back to see if I could get most of the way through this book in one day. (I finished the last half hour on a walk the next day.) So this book will be forever associated with driving with my left hand while scratching behind the ears of a Golden Retriever pup with my right. And hey, it's fine in its own right also. Offerman amuses with brief bios of Americans he admires, historical and contemporary. I was surprised by the entries for Yoko Ono and Laurie Anderson, but found myself agreeing with their inclusion. He uses some of them as jumping off points to make little digressions into areas about which he has opinions, and we agree more often than not, so that's nice. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it as much without Offerman's voice, or with his voice at the original playback speed. (1.25x was best.)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    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 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 biographical in nature, but hagiographic. If you tried to edit out the superfluous material, it would read, "I absolutely adore Teddy Roosevelt! I totally love Carol Burnett!" If you tried to publish these fawning pieces under a non-celebrity name, they'd receive a much cooler reception. I understand that Offerman's love for these people is genuine and heartfelt, and hope that these essays will encourage lovers of Ron Swanson to learn more about these folks, especially the little-known or forgotten. It's just that his writing is for the most part dull.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Chung

    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 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. I know, this isn't a memoir, but knowing what someone likes or who they like is a telling sign of what kind of person someone is. In this book Gumption, Nick talks about the 21 people he finds that have the most Gumption in America. Nick starts off with a few of our founding fathers. I found this section to be the most interesting. When I was little I found American History completely boring. However, learning about George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Ben Franklin and Frederick Douglas as an adult, I was enthralled. "If there is no struggle, there is no progress...This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and never will." -Fredrick Douglas What a powerful message. I loved it. Without something substantial to look back on there is no growth. I also loved this quote from Teddy Roosevelt- "He must walk warily and fearlessly, and while he should never brawl if he can avoid it, he must be ready to hit hard if the need arises. Let him remember, by the way, that the unforgivable crime is soft hitting. Do not hit at all if it can be avoided; but never hit softly." Again...a lovely message. Fighting is never the answer, but by god if you are going to do it. Better fight to the death. If you don't have the gumption to follow through don't start. Through out the book we continue to see people that inspire Nick to be a better man. These 21 people are talented for not only their gumption, but their heart. They love what they do and do it to the best of their ability. There are singers, craftsman, writers, farmers, artists, law makers, park builders, comedians. The list of people in this book were some that I had never even heard of, but was grateful to learn from. If you have some time for an interesting look at some amazing people then read this book. I happened to be able to read most of this book and listen to the last 20% on audio. Nick like I said at the beginning of this review, has a lovely voice and it was wonderful to hear it, as much as read his words. I can't wait to read his other book. I'll leave you with two more quotes,the first one being from Wendell Berry- "Condemnation by category is the lowest form of hatred, for it is cold-hearted and abstract, lacking the heat and even the courage of a personal hatred. Categorical condemnation is the hatred of the mob, which makes cowards brave." - think about that the next time you see a troll on the internet. And lastly, "A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality." - Yoko Ono

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alger Smythe-Hopkins

    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 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 Laurie Anderson, Frederick Douglass, Wendell Berry, and Willie Nelson as heroes gets serious props. Making them boring, however, that removes Offerman from my list of future reads.

  19. 4 out of 5

    JanEyre9

    Hilarious, informative, and just downright fun. I could listen to Offerman talk all dang day.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    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 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 audio version so you can enjoy the pace and tone and giggles of this tome. His book inspires me to create, to find the things that are important and to ponder a list like this of my own. And he accomplishes all of this without the trite, trending quips of inspiration that social media hammers us with in memes that are equivalent to a poster of a kitten hanging off a branch meowing "hang in there." While I may be biased - seeing that he IS my new imaginary best friend - this is one of my favorite recent reads.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    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 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 their lives. But as Conan O'Brien says in this book, "The easy way to go is to say, 'It's all gone to shit,' when the great moral of the story, I think for your book should be, that 'It's always been shit'". So I'll try to be more optimistic and think about some of the fine patriots in these pages.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leah Wescott

    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. 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.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    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 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 'less is more' to his own writing. Many things are rehashed, for example, he felt the need over and over to talk about how he is a feminist...which is fine, but I sometimes felt the exact same words were being used. We get it, you are a feminist, can we please move on and learn more about the amazing woman you are interviewing? As other reviews noted, there is a lot of contradiction, but that doesn't really bother me. We are all filled with contradictions between what we say we believe, what we actually believe, how we live, and how we are able to live in America. That's life. I think the issue I had is that I'm not sure who the audience was supposed to be and what the point of the book was. Was the book was supposed to be a profile of awesome Americans, an avenue for Offerman to wax on about his own thoughts, or something in which he grew and changed as the book/interviews progressed? I'm okay with any of the above, but I wish they had picked one. For example, kindness comes up over and over again, which I love. But, I wish that his writing would have become kinder as the book progresses, and it feels like the opposite occurs. I'm glad I read it, and there are many chapters (mainly in the first two thirds) where I have sections underlined to come back to. I just wish the book had a clearer vision of what it wanted to be.

  24. 5 out of 5

    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 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 at times it was too much for me.) Witty, but not what I expected, and not entirely enjoyable to me. I would have preferred it if he had spent the whole book discussing historical figures. Those chapters were my favorite. I'd give it a 2.5, so I'm upping to 3 stars here.

  25. 4 out of 5

    John Pehle

    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. 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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Parker

    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. 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.

  27. 4 out of 5

    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. Interest historical facts but the read is spoiled by Offerman's political diatribes that he reports as fact but are merely liberal opinion.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Derek Slominski

    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.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Love this guy- a wonderful human being- wish we had more like him

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    Trigger warnings included at the bottom of the review. The main aspect of Gumption that I liked was how earnest Nick Offerman was in his praise and admiration for the people described. He was incredibly sincere and I thought it was charming how he described his heroes. Also, I appreciated that he seemed to have genuine relationships with many of the people featured in this book. I gave Gumption three stars because it's not my brand of humor. There were many times that his jokes overshadowed the b Trigger warnings included at the bottom of the review. The main aspect of Gumption that I liked was how earnest Nick Offerman was in his praise and admiration for the people described. He was incredibly sincere and I thought it was charming how he described his heroes. Also, I appreciated that he seemed to have genuine relationships with many of the people featured in this book. I gave Gumption three stars because it's not my brand of humor. There were many times that his jokes overshadowed the backstories and societal contributions mentioned in any given chapter. Other times, I forgot who the chapter was about because he went into absurd (not meant in a mean way) tangents. In my opinion, the idea behind the book was solid, so the focus on humor wasn't necessary. Trigger warnings: references to slavery, internment camps, sexism, and racism

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