The only way to start a BookCon panel from now until forever will be taking the stage with a guitar and singing songs that are both charming and dirty about your wife. That is the first thing I learned at Nick Offerman‘s talk with John Hodgman this year. They came together to talk about Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers which was released in hardcover just this past week.
And then Paul Rudd walked out on stage. There’s no more to the story, but it did happen. Hodgman is the only one not wearing jeans and a flannel shirt. He ignored the dress code.
The panel became a true panel at this point, and not just a conversation. They discussed their love of woodworking and things made out of wood. And they talked about gumption.
“It’s the spunk, the pith, the gravel one is required to have the get up and go. To see the work that needs doing in their lives around them and they get up and do it…to make the world a more decent place,” Offerman said was basically how he defined the term gumption. More exactly, it is the thing that brings together the list of people he wanted to talk about when he sat down to write his new book. They are people who changed things, were historic, and did important things.
“Gumption is the fuel with which you paddle yourself down the river,” he continued. And the men and women he talks about in his book are the kind of people who continue to teach him how to be better. It starts with George Washington, and while I’m not sure who it ends with, the cast of characters within it are incredible role models. He even mentioned Leslie Knope and how he becomes besotted whenever he talks about her.
When the first audience question was “Do you prefer reading a book on paper?” Offerman immediately tried to set the young man with the excellent question with the young ladies in the office. His answer to the question: “I do prefer reading a book. I don’t like looking at a screen…I love having a book I can carry with me. It’s great for killing bugs and cudgeling vegans. Kidding. I love vegans. They leave more meat.”
Offerman does not think he is one of the funniest men in the room or the smartest, but he’s happy meeting those people somewhere in the middle and telling stories. I may have tried to grab a copy of the book because, after watching him speak so passionately about finding a way to have a meaningful life and the people who inspire him, it is all I want to read. Go buy a copy immediately.
Also, can someone tell me if Offerman has an album and where I can buy it? I need more of his songs in my life.