Nick Offerman’s Audacity of Hope

Nick Offerman, a man, an artist, whom I mostly know as the butch, giddy, bacon-crazy, eggs fanatic, sweet and mannered Ron Swanson. But the man is a writer, a comedian, an actor, a woodworker, etc., and husband to Megan Mullally (Yes, that drunk excuse for a secretary in Will & Grace).

I haven’t read Nick’s first book “Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living.” I did see his stand-up show “American Ham” which I sincerely recommend.

I read Gumption, his latest literary endeavour, and I liked it. I liked it plenty. This book has Nick’s vibe, and it’s filled with interesting facts and characters. His funny jabs make it all the more pleasant to read.

Unfortunately I am sometimes bad at stating what I read, but one thing that got stuck was the fact that Benjamin Franklin (Yes, that one) wrote an essay “Fart Proudly“, suggesting that research and practical reasoning be undertaken into methods of improving the odor of human flatulence.

The chapter on Frederick Douglass also struck a chord. Not because he looks like he could be Laurence Fishburne’s great-grandfather, but because of something he said in 1852(!):

The marriage institution cannot exist among slaves, and one-sixth of the population of democratic America is denied its privileges by the law of the land. What is to be thought of a nation boasting of its liberty, boasting of its humanity, boasting of its Christianity, boasting of its love of justice and purity, and yet having within its own borders three millions of persons denied by law the right of marriage?

Eloquent fellow, ain’t he?

As interesting as it is to read about founding fathers (of the U.S. in case you were wondering), and Teddy Roosevelt, Yoko Ono, Wendell Berry, Conan O’Brien, to name a few, it’s very enjoyable to sense Nick’s enthusiasm throughout the entire book. Not to mention how interesting he himself is. He is a man of many traits and passion. (He’s got his own woodshop where he builds boats and stuff.)

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn a little about American history, but mostly about people who have inspired Nick and many others to do something that made (sometimes still makes) a difference in many people’s lives.

This world can not have enough gumption. We all need to focus more on the positive and what we can do to enrich our own life, and that of others through sheer guts and love for what we do.

A quote from the book I wish to leave you with, coming from Wendell Berry:

“I want to deal with people who are at work because they see the real reasons to be at work. That’s what I call hope, if they can keep going.”

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