I just finished the audiobook Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers, written by Nick Offerman. For all the dressing that someone who preforms work as a comedic actor, this book delivers on the title, and what I was sure would be, and did turn out to be. For anyone who has harvested wood to build a piece of furniture, shaped iron or steel in a furnace, repaired a vehicle when it was cold out to get it running again, any of similar activities, Offerman’s book is a rally call that you made at least a handful of good choices in life.
For the people Offerman cites in his cheers for their gumption, the list is a mix reflecting what he cites as positive and important pillars in his life. Some of the figures he reviews are well known historically, others are modern, living individuals who are making impacts currently, and may well turn up in textbooks long after they are gone.
I’ll not go in to the individuals Offerman discusses. It’s his view of the world around him, and the values he assigns to various parts of it that are not only of interest to me, but I hold many of them so closely, that at some points I found myself hearing my own words and thoughts. This was not to every item though, for as much as I hold fast to the view of what craftsmanship brings in to the individual, or the downgrade one experiences trying to let your smartphone be your memory of artist events, I can take disagreements on his views with, to be honest, a minor portion of the issues discussed in this book.
My takeaway from this entire book was multiple. The extra history of notables, the insight in to parts of the current world, the reinforcement for the craftsman and workmanship, the move towards equality between men and women, but one of the best parts of this book is very easy to miss. Brining up his appearance in both the television show Parks and Rec, as Ron Swanson, and what I’m guessing is web content of him in his other pursuits outside of the choreographed film studios, he mentions the current fashion trend of men taking on the rugged, outdoor look, and specifically he mentions, axe’s thrown over shoulders, all for photographs. To this, Offerman wants to remind us that he has worn this lifestyle before he was famous, wears it now, and will have it well in to the future. To know thyself is not a given for us humans.
I hope this book reaches far and wide. Its a great read that is worth much more than even the highest price you’ll find online. For everyone, look keenly at how Offerman organizes what positive things he gleans from people, places, and things (Aubry Plaza’s voice just popped in my head). When I look at them, its a simple matter: He likes something, tells us why he likes it, and how it can be an important asset for one’s character and standing.