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Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living Hardcover – October 1, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton; 9.1.2013 edition (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052595421X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525954217
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (362 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his first book, Offerman—best known for his popular character Ron Swanson on NBC&'s Parks and Recreation—opens up about his life and the values that he says have brought him prosperity and success. Each chapter of the memoir is accompanied with an essay outlining a relevant principle Offerman claims may lead the reader to a better life. The veracity of some of his statements may be called into question—vegans will bristle at his position on meat (eating red meat gives one character) and Millennials will not appreciate his dismissive attitude towards GPS devices and smartphones—but Offerman openly admits on the first page that what works for him may not be everyone&'s glass of scotch. Whether or not the reader considers his advice worth following, it is thought-provoking, profane, and frequently hilarious, although the book sometimes detours into recommendations of well-known movies and plays; Parks and Rec fans may be disappointed at the small amount of material about the show, but getting to know Offerman through his stumbling courtship with Megan Mullally and Kabuki theater training is well worth the price of admission. (Oct.)

From Booklist

Ron Swanson is a mustachioed, ­breakfast-food-loving, woodworking red-meat connoisseur. Nick Offerman is a mustachioed, breakfast-food-loving, woodworking red-meat connoisseur but, more important, also a real person—a grateful, gracious, bemused actor in love with his wife, Megan Mullaly (best known as Karen in Will & Grace), and the earnest simplicity of his not-so-­Hollywood Hollywood existence. From his humble beginnings in Minooka, Illinois, to his meteoric rise portraying Ron Swanson on the much-loved TV show, Parks and Recreation, Offerman has lived a lot of life. He looks back as fondly on his upbringing in a small farming community with his hardworking parents and three siblings as on the time he spent at the University of Illinois and, later, in Chicago, where he received theater training. Not only does he recall his life, but he also offers ­chuckle-worthy anecdotes, diagrams, even a haiku (about—what else?—bratwurst) to help his readers find their own ways toward delicious living. Ron Swanson would be proud. --Courtney Jones

Customer Reviews

Great read, very funny.
William
Maybe he actually talks this way, I've never met him, but it comes off as theatrical writing and sometimes seems like he is trying too hard.
Kevin Bailey
It was a really great read and I hope that one day he puts out another book.
Jacob D Greenfield

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

286 of 363 people found the following review helpful By AC1647 on October 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As soon as I saw this book was available I purchased it for my Kindle and read it that same evening. As a long time fan of Parks and Rec as well as Offerman's other work, I was really excited. I know that Ron Swanson is a fictional character, but one of the things that sets the charachter apart is how little Offerman has to "act" to be believed. As a trip to the Offerman Woodshop website will show you, he truly is passionate about some of the same things that Ron Swanson espouses. He also has a killer 'stache. That's sadly where the similarities end.

(SPOILER ALERT: I reflect on things I didn't like in the text, with minor specifics. Proceed with caution if you want to be suprised by the tale of his life)

I didn't expect a book "by Ron Swanson" but the only amusing parts of this work are written in the spirit of the character. I laughed out loud several times only to realize it was Mr. Offerman "taking his character's voice" briefly. He then promplty rebukes the sentiment that was amusing in the first place. Offerman takes great pains to point out that he is not the source for Ron Swanson, and is even somewhat self referential about why anyone would find his real story compelling. He's right there, as I struggled through several chapters that only served the purpose of recounting his experiences with high school girls. These stories are neither unique nor meaningful, in fact they're mostly boring. Awkward teenage romance has been mined pretty well, Offerman strikes nothing new here.

Perhaps the greatest dissapointment was the sheer amount of time spent on opinions. I'm inclined to accept Mr. Offerman's opinion on things he likely knows a great deal about, like growing a mustache or using a hand plane.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By KC on November 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The person who wrote a one-star review of this book is closed-minded and has no sense of humor. I didn't buy my copy on Amazon, but I love this book and the message it imparts: "Don't be an a$$hole". The person who wrote the poor review is hopelessly unenlightened. They have my pity.
Buy this book and laugh and think about how true Nick's observations are.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Aussiescribbler on December 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Nick Offerman is a fine craftsman, whether it comes to performing comic or serious acting roles, writing a book about his life or (apparently) making tables and canoes. Sure this book may not be as hilarious as his performance of Ron Swanson in "Parks and Recreation", or even his scene stealing role in an otherwise forgettable movie like "We're the Millers" (after all he doesn't write the dialogue for those performances), but he does have his own wry authorial voice, replete with corny gags, which will put a smile on your face. And when he has a funny anecdote to relate, you may well laugh out loud.

Offerman is way too young to have enough dramatic experiences to fill an autobiography, so this is part life story and part advice manual, as he gives us his recommendations for achieving success and enjoyment (maybe the same thing) in the fields of life, love and the profession of pretending to be other people. He is a pleasant guy to spend time with, and his advice seems pretty sound. The book will be especially useful to those setting out in the acting field. But, then, is it not true, to quote the Kinks, that "everybody's in showbiz". Are job interviews and first dates not just a different kind of audition for a part? So even when he hones in on the acting, the advice he gives is useful for us all.

O.K. So I didn't find the book persuasive enough to be currently carving my own canoe paddle out of wood I chopped myself, but hopefully a little of Offerman's wisdom and lust for life rubbed off on me in the reading.
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27 of 39 people found the following review helpful By BiloxiKnifeGuy on March 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Nick Offerman, the actor. Nick Offerman, the writer, not so much. Don't hate me! Please just hear me out, and keep an open mind.
Firstly, he has no voice. His style is more like rambling.
He seems to just want everyone to know how awesome his family is and how much he loves his life. Of course you think your family is the greatest family in the world, but they aren't interesting enough to write a book about. I felt like I was reading someone's diary: a book that only achieves pathos when read by someone who knows the writer of the diary, or read by the author hisself.
There are a couple funny nuggles of wisdom and drawings and hilarious lists. I would have greatly enjoyed an entire book written in THIS format, instead of a mediocre autobiography.
In conclusion, he never could have gotten this boring mess published if he wasn't Nick Offerman... I love you, Nick Offerman.
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40 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Neil M Berg on November 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A hard book to pick up once you've put it down. It started out okay, even mildly humorous, then deteriorated into boring sexual conquests. NOBODY cares about someone else's sexual history. I quit about halfway through.
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21 of 31 people found the following review helpful By EMD on January 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Honestly I didn't finish this book. I was expecting something funny or at least mildly amusing. Those parts are few and far between. Nick gets very preachy about a number of things. I would not recommend buying this book.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ryan W on January 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nick Offerman takes the time to complain about... everything. I got quite bored with this book and now it sits on the shelf.
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