"Blueprints for the future are a fool's errand" is an iconic quote from Ron Swanson, played by the brilliant and simple man, Nick Offerman. Swanson and Offerman are not completely identical, but they do share some honest passions. Offerman is a woodsman, and the wood shop we see in Parks and Recreation is his actual woodshop, The Offerman Woodshop. But this review isn't about the history of the greatest television character ever. It's about Offerman's quirky biographical anthology on some folks he considers to be American heroes.
"Gumption" which is defined as shrewd or spirited initiative and resourcefulness, is the title of Offerman's outstanding telling of those he considers to be icons. From George Washington to Yoko Ono, there are very few similarities outside of pure gumption. I must admit, I've grown to love the word. It even appears in my song "Beaches" with a small shout out to Offerman himself. But back to these heroes.
Offerman uses his book to introduce us to people we may not be all too familiar with. Wendell Berry, Michael Pollen and Willie Nelson are just a few of the gentlemen that Offerman writes about. "Gumption" is a cliff note on American history from a man who knows a little about gumption.
If you're into history, biographies or Nick Offerman, I highly suggest you read "Gumption." Offerman maintains humor throughout the telling of each heroic tale. In the cases where he could interview each individual, he shares the experience of meeting them and fan-girling over them. So it's totally worth it. And to end with another Swanson quote “I regret nothing. The end.”
Unnecessary writing prompt #1: Who do you think has gumption? Is it someone in your life? Is it a celebrity or historical figure? Give me 3 reasons why said person has gumption. Feel free to share it with me via Twitter @trmwbk