Paddle Your Own Canoe

Tales of meat, manliness, and Megan Mullally.

This is a book I have written, detailing stories from my past in which I behaved like a jackass. I also hold forth on topics like meat, mirth, and Megan Mullally.

Book cover of Paddle Your Own Canoe featuring Nick Offerman paddling a wooden canoe.
Order Now

$18.00 USD

via Offerman Woodshop

6.25" x 1.1" x 9.25"


Autographed by Nick.

Personalization not available.

From the Sleeve

“I am a jackass living in America and living surprisingly well...

I come by it honest. I am your average meat, potatoes, and corn-fed human male, with a propensity for smart-assery, who has managed to make a rewarding vocation out of, essentially, making funny faces and falling down. I have also exhibited some tool skills and an inclination for eating delicious meatstuffs. I grew up literally in the middle of a cornfield in the village of Minooka, Illinois, where I spent a lot of time learning to use intoxicants, chasing girls, and screwing around in the woods. I learned the word nonconformist in fourth grade and immediately announced that I would grow up to become one.”

Have you ever paddled a canoe and been besotted by the natural beauty of the river? Or experienced the savory rewards of a job well done, especially if that job is grilling something's flesh? If so, Nick Offerman's humorous fulminations on life, meat, and much more is for you. Or your man. Or your aspiring circus clown, thespian, or biped.

After all, when it comes to growing a robust moustache, masticating red meat, or wooing a woman, who better to deliver this tutelage than the always charming, always manly Nick Offerman, best known as Parks and Recreation's Ron Swanson? Combining his trademark comic voice and very real expertise in woodworking—he runs his own woodshop—Paddle Your Own Canoe features tales from Offerman's childhood in small-town Minooka to his risque theater days in Chicago, beginnings as a carpenter/actor, and the hilarious and magnificent seduction of his wife, Megan Mullally. It also offers hard-bitten battle strategies in the arenas of love, style, religion, woodworking, and outdoor recreation, among many other palatable entrées.

A mix of amusing anecdotes and opinionated lessons and rants sprinkled with offbeat gaiety, Paddle Your Own Canoe will not only tickle readers pink but may also rouse them to put down their smartphones, study a few sycamore leaves, and maybe even hand-craft (and paddle) their own canoes.

Interior title page of the book featuring Nick Offerman’s autograph and a stamp from the Offerman Woodshop.
Paddle Your Own Canoe laying on a black table next to a brown vinyl chair.

Illustrations by Mike Mitchell

The book includes beatiful illustrations by Mike Mitchell. Some examples:

Facial hair chart featuring 4 acceptable styles, and 8 unacceptable.
Facial hair: what’s acceptable, and unacceptable.
Chart depicting acceptable forms of mean consumption on left side (beef, pork), and unacceptable on the right (chicken, lobster, fish).
My easy to understand guide to animal consumption.

Table of Contents

  1. Not-So-Little House on the Prairie (Eat Red Meat)
  2. Hail Mary, Full of Beans (Horse Sense > The Bible)
  3. Der Ubermann/Offermensch (How to Be a Man)
  4. Football Troubador (Don't Be an Asshole)
  5. Walking Beans (Work Hard, Work Dirty)
  6. Carnalisthenics (Leviticus Can Blow Me)
  7. Enter Dionysus (Don't Walk Alone)
  8. Doing Time (Be Smart While Getting Stupid)
  9. Born Again Again (The Moustache Makes the Magick)
  10. Wax On Wax Off (Make a Goddamn Gift)
  11. Kabuki Farmboy Takes Chicago (Carry a Handkerchief)
  12. Subaru Leavings (Discern Your Ass from a Hole in the Ground)
  13. Resurrection (Measure Twice, Cut Once)
  14. Romantic Love (Love Your Woman – A Paean to Megan)
  15. Finding Swanson (Let Your Freak Flag Fly)
  16. Nowadays Go Outside

Praise for the Book

Thought-provoking, profane, and frequently hilarious... getting to know Offerman through his stumbling courtship with Megan Mullally and Kabuki theater training is well worth the price of admission.

Publishers Weekly

Rest assured, "Paddle Your Own Canoe" isn't 300 pages of sermonizing about how to live; Offerman writes hilariously and honestly about boyhood chores and collegiate shenanigans, Chicago theater dues-paying and sobbing "for, like, 20 minutes" when receiving the call about landing the "Parks and Rec" job.

...the comedian comes through loud and clear as both a devoted worker and a goofball; a reliable, upstanding citizen; and a giggly source of raunch with a weakness for penis jokes. He's a man who discovered how to navigate the business with integrity and, after years of casting disappointments and mild promise, reaped the benefits of his principles and commitment to create a character deservedly beloved by the masses.

Matt Pais

The Chicago Tribune

Offerman touches on everything from his days as a break-dancing, football-playing farm boy in Minooka (about 50 miles southwest of the Loop) to his freewheeling, hedonistic 20s in Chicago to the inevitable Hollywood struggles that followed. But he doesn't gloss over embarrassing moments, including his two trips to jail during college at the University of Illinois--one for shoplifting Ronnie Milsap cassettes from Kmart as a joke; the other, he says, a convoluted case of mistaken identity...

Chicago Magazine

Equal parts memoir and advice for grabbing life by the gonads. It's funny, highly nostalgic, and will make you seriously contemplate taking up carpentry. It's sort of like reading Garrison Keillor if he wrote for Playboy... it's fun, it's visceral, and I learned things. When I finished the tome I had to take a long walk to soak everything in. We should all be so lucky to one day drink with this man, or at least purchase a table from him.

ManCave Daily

A hilarious walkabout... teeming with tasteful vulgarity, self-deprecating hilarity and a most humble wisdom bordering on sage-like. It's rare to find a memoir that is all at once touching, funny as sh*t, and capable of schooling you in basic modi operandi: like not being a total ass...

Newcity Lit