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on October 30, 2015
Here the situation.

If you like Ron Swanson. Don't get this book. This is not "Parks and Rec: The novel". This is an autobiography. I think 90% of the complaints are from people who expected this book to be an extension of Ron Swanson character - talking about eating lots of meat and complaining about Tammy 2. Instead, they got a book about an actors rather ideal life in middle America, his entry into the theater world and his struggle to finding acting jobs in LA.

The books is however, HILARIOUS. Nick talks about his life in a very open and honest manner, going over both mistakes and victories. He is middle of the line political person, but also has strong views and yes, a pretty libertarian stance. He pulls no punches making fun of folks who are dependant on technology - since ALOT of folks are depenant, I'm sure many of the complaints here are from folks who were likely irked by his constant ribbing of folks who can't line with Instagram, a GPS and would die with two hours if left alone in the wilderness.

If your an open-minded person (which most people are not) then this is a VERY helpful book. He has alot of earthy advice on everything from drug use, to dating, to sex, to eating right, work ethic, etc. NICK OFFERMAN IS NOT RON SWANSON. Nor does he claim to be. Ron Swanson is an over-the-top version of Nick Offerman, written by writers who knew Nick. Nick Offerman does enjoy fishing, immensely. He doesn't not perfer hunting, tho understands many do. Nick Offerman eat's salad and veggies, but won't turn away a nice steak. Nick Offerman likes to hit the bong and watch Twin Peaks, as opposed to Ron Swanson who would mostly be found carving 1/110th 18th Century Spanish Gallon from a fallen tree near his cabin with nothing but a pen knife. He does not even mention Ron Swanson until the very last chapter.

If you are a hardcore, totalitarian conservative, Nick will probably say something to irk you. If you are a hardcore, bleeding liberal Nick will probably say something to irk you. He's not doing it on purpose - he's just in the middle of the political spectrum and is making his views clear, usually with some humor attached.

IF you are Ron Swanson/Parks and Rec fan you need to do this: Before you buy this book, then scream to high heaven and post a nasty review of it because it doesn't have things like "Ron Swanson's chart of needs" - think for a second. Look up Nick Offerman. Yes. N-I-C-K O-F-F-E-R-M-AN. Watch an interview with him on Conan O'Brien or something on Youtube. Realize that this is a person's autobiography and not a joke book.

Then once you do that, then you can ease into the tranquil warmth of what is Nick Offerman's sage-like advice and story telling.
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on January 13, 2016
Full review at: http://keepontrekkin.com/2016/01/13/review-paddle-your-own-canoe/

ou probably know Nick Offerman from his highly-popular role as the mustachioed Ron Swanson on NBC’s hit comedy: Parks and Recreation. Having never seen the show myself, I had no real idea who the man was. (I don’t watch a lot of television, but don’t worry: I’m working on that!) So, what am I doing reading the memoirs of a person I was nary aware of? I’m not sure: Someone mentioned it to me, the cover looked cool, and the summary sounded funny. I’m glad I read it, as now I count myself among Nick Offerman’s fans (and I started watching Parks and Rec).

At first I feared this book would be some sort of celebration of clichéd masculinity, a sort of literary representation of Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor’s signature grunt. My fears, however, were unwarranted. Paddle Your Own Canoe reveals the man behind the mustache, and exposes him as a man of sensitivity, passion, and a remarkable work ethic. Sure, there’s a bit of machismo sprinkled in, but oftentimes it’s ironic or, at least, sarcastic. The entire book is laced with comedy and self-deprecation. What stuck with me the most was Offerman’s humility: this is a man that doesn’t take his success for granted, nor does he allow it to transform him away from his roots as a hard-working boy from rural Illinois.

There were two things I admired most while reading this book:

First, Offerman has a lot to say about the virtue of hard work. He goes to great (and entertaining) lengths to imbue the importance of accomplishment, of fixing and creating. He recounts the time when he moved in with his now-wife and star from the popular sitcom Will and Grace, Megan Mullally. By the time he and Megan purchased a home together, she was already substantially successful. He found himself dumbstruck one day, with the fleeting realization that he “made it”. He was a “well-off dude living in the Hollywood Hills like a king!” He quickly realized that being lazy in the lap of luxury wasn't the life for him, and he got to work continuing to build a successful career for himself.

The second thing I admired about Offerman was the way he spoke of his wife and their relationship. They had been married a decade by the time Paddle Your Own Canoe was published, and yet he still speaks of her as if they were still on their honeymoon. Both working hard in a demanding industry, they made a pact to never accept a job that would have them apart for more than two weeks. His admiration for Megan melts the heart. Of course someone will go out of their way to paint a beautiful picture of their spouse and love-life when writing about it for a large audience, but it is clear to me that Offerman was very careful with his descriptions of their life and I’m confident that their love is as genuine as he portrays it in this book.

So, I guess I’ve become a bit smitten with Nick Offerman. I found his stories interesting, hilarious, and motivating. What I thought was going to be a quick comedy–a time-killer, really–turned out to be an inspiration: a book that has me re-thinking my own philosophies.

A fair warning: this book has some colorful language, some sexually-explicit scenes, and takes some swipes at organized religion.

My Rating: 4.5/5 – Inspiring, humorous, and surprising; an added benefit of providing a look into the world of professional acting and the path of a successful career.
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on December 4, 2017
It's Nick Offerman being Nick Offerman! If you've read any of his other books or watched any of his 'stand up', then you know what style to expect without a feeling of having heard this all from him before. If you've been up the creek without a paddle, & have not experienced Mr. Offerman's down-to-earth yet provocatively fresh views on life & the world, let me suggest that you take a moment to become acquainted with this book. Philosophers will find it thought provoking, grumpy people will find something to grump about (may I take just a moment for 2 words from this book: Grumpy Dervish -accompanied by an illustration no less!), anyone with a funny bone will find plenty of chuckles, & we may even all walk away a bit better of a human being (or more of an ***hole, depending!)
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Top Contributor: Campingon September 28, 2017
I haven't fully finished the book yet, but I am finding it enjoyable about 75% of the way though. The writing style and dry humor are entertaining and I find myself understanding where he is coming from with his examples. I thought it would be an easy and fun read and it is, but I did find on occasion I had to re-read a paragraph or two here and there as it sort of lost me in complexity of explanation. I am happy with the book though and will try another.
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on November 18, 2016
Love Nick Offerman so this book was a no-brainer for me to pick up. His life and his wisdom are just as entertaining and insightful as his characters and humor are on screen. This man writes what he knows and feels, and he doesn't pull any punches, can't wait to read his other books next.
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on July 22, 2015
Every time I hear of another actor releasing a book, I roll my eyes. Ordinarily, these books are contrived and grudgingly dull. But seeing how Nick Offerman is no ordinary actor, I gave his first book a shot. His writing style can be blunt and straight and to the point, but is also laced with humor, a little bit of politics, and sweet reminisces of growing up in the Midwest. Part memoir, part How-To , Paddle Your Own Canoe will leave you impressed and wanting more. I received my copy right before the July 4th holiday (which seemed rather fitting), and I was finished with the book by July 5th. Get ready for some wonderful insights and lot of belly laughs.
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on April 13, 2018
Hilarious. Informative. Relatable. Inspirational... and of course, good common sense from a very humble man. Nick Offerman has become my new favorite writer. I can appreciate a fellow traveler who can fix a toilet and dares to be weird. We need more folks like Nick in this world.
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on December 22, 2015
If you have a similar type of outlook on life as Nick and want to learn more about his life while also re-examining yours in order to grow then you will love this book. If you are often offended look elsewhere because there are ideas in here that won't sit well with a certain type of people. I like that I got to see another side of him than how his movie/tv show roles portray him as he is a theater kid at heart and not just the manly man they cast him as.
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on September 24, 2017
I couldn't finish this book. I like Nick Offerman, but this book wasn't very entertaining and it's hard to follow. I turned it into a "bathroom reader" but after trudging through these pages, I realized that I just didn't care enough to continue reading.
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on July 7, 2017
I always find it interesting to read about where people came from and how they came to be who they are today, but Nick Offerman does it in a whole new way in this book. I may not agree with everything he believes, but it is impossible to deny that Offerman is a man of gumption. Every page is brimming with humor as he describes his journey to success in both woodworking and his "waitressing gig" (acting).
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