Natalie Kfoury – Co-Editor-in-Chief
Nick Offerman is best known as Ron Swanson, the mustache-adorned, scotch-drinking woodsman, grumpy-yet-hilarious character he plays on NBC. Yet, Offerman is more than meets the eye. The actor is an avid woodworker, and as proven in “Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamental’s for Delicious Living,” a fantastic writer. “Paddle Your Own Canoe” is part philosophical, part hilarious memoir of the actor’s experiences and conclusions on life. Overall, it’s a fantastic read and you should really pick it up.
Offerman began life in a rather large family living on a farm in Minooka, Illinois. It was there that he learned his love for hands-on work and physical adventures. He set off for college at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he studied acting. After college, Offerman dabbled in a few smaller theater companies with varied success and did woodworking on the side. Eventually, he made it to Los Angeles where he struggled and eventually found success.
Even those who aren’t familiar with Offerman’s acting work would appreciate his written prose. He writes with quiet flair and humor that work their way into almost every page. His humor makes “Paddle Your Own Canoe” a quick read. The book is thought-provoking and smile-inducing, as Offerman describes his childhood, beginnings as an actor, relationships, and problems he has encountered in life.
The philosophy Offerman provides in “Paddle Your Own Canoe” is all about being happy and content in life beyond what one might face in their career. Happiness, he proves in many instances, does not have to be found in one’s line of work. Offerman himself enjoys the simple pleasures in life such as spending time in nature, carving and woodworking, and enjoying fine food and drink. He also stresses the importance of getting away from comfort areas and doing your own thing in life, no matter how hard that can be.
After each chapter of the book, which reads chronologically in terms of Offerman’s life, there is a short segment on an area in life which Offerman’s adds some of his personal opinion. It is here that humor-induced philosophy can be found, such as when he discusses proper diet, facial hair, and love.
While Offerman is no expert on philosophy, his experiences and outlook on life make “Padde Your Own Canoe” interesting and welcoming to read. Life has never been easy for the actor, yet his success is admirable and positive approach to life is inspiring. “Paddle Your Own Canoe” is so successful because of these qualities and, quite frankly, because it is absolutely hilarious.