Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America's Gutsiest Troublemakers by Nick Offerman, 382 pages

In his second book, Offerman (best known as Ron Swanson on Parks & Recreation) presents profiles of 21 Americans that he believes personify gumption. His profiles include everyone from Rushmore-ified presidents George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt to contemporary politician Barney Frank, from farmer and novelist Wendell Berry to avante garde artist Yoko Ono.

It's an interesting collection of people, and I was constantly surprised with Offerman's choices, some of which I completely agreed with (Carol Burnett, Eleanor Roosevelt), some of which left me confused (I get that he's a woodworker, but really, the founder of a handmade tool company? That doesn't really scream "gumption" to me, at least not any more than any other hipstery businessman.) I appreciated Offerman's humor (especially in the audiobook, which he reads himself), though by the end, his verbosity was starting to wear on me. (The man has obviously never heard the old journalism adage, "Don't use a dollar word when a nickel word will do.") All in all, an entertaining and illuminating look at some often-overlooked Americans.

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