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The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy

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Rainn Wilson’s memoir about growing up geeky and finally finding his place in comedy, faith, and life.   For nine seasons Rainn Wilson played Dwight Schrute, everyone's favorite work nemesis and beet farmer. Viewers of The Office fell in love with the character and grew to love the actor who played him even more. Rainn founded a website and media company, SoulPancake, tha Rainn Wilson’s memoir about growing up geeky and finally finding his place in comedy, faith, and life.   For nine seasons Rainn Wilson played Dwight Schrute, everyone's favorite work nemesis and beet farmer. Viewers of The Office fell in love with the character and grew to love the actor who played him even more. Rainn founded a website and media company, SoulPancake, that eventually became a bestselling book of the same name. He also started a hilarious Twitter feed (sample tweet: “I'm not on Facebook” is the new “I don't even own a TV”) that now has more than four million followers.   Now, he's ready to tell his own story and explain how he came up with his incredibly unique sense of humor and perspective on life. He explains how he grew up “bone-numbingly nerdy before there was even a modicum of cool attached to the word.” The Bassoon King chronicles his journey from nerd to drama geek (“the highest rung on the vast, pimply ladder of high school losers”), his years of mild debauchery and struggles as a young actor in New York, his many adventures and insights about The Office, and finally, Wilson's achievement of success and satisfaction, both in his career and spiritually, reconnecting with the artistic and creative values of the Bahá’í faith he grew up in.


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Rainn Wilson’s memoir about growing up geeky and finally finding his place in comedy, faith, and life.   For nine seasons Rainn Wilson played Dwight Schrute, everyone's favorite work nemesis and beet farmer. Viewers of The Office fell in love with the character and grew to love the actor who played him even more. Rainn founded a website and media company, SoulPancake, tha Rainn Wilson’s memoir about growing up geeky and finally finding his place in comedy, faith, and life.   For nine seasons Rainn Wilson played Dwight Schrute, everyone's favorite work nemesis and beet farmer. Viewers of The Office fell in love with the character and grew to love the actor who played him even more. Rainn founded a website and media company, SoulPancake, that eventually became a bestselling book of the same name. He also started a hilarious Twitter feed (sample tweet: “I'm not on Facebook” is the new “I don't even own a TV”) that now has more than four million followers.   Now, he's ready to tell his own story and explain how he came up with his incredibly unique sense of humor and perspective on life. He explains how he grew up “bone-numbingly nerdy before there was even a modicum of cool attached to the word.” The Bassoon King chronicles his journey from nerd to drama geek (“the highest rung on the vast, pimply ladder of high school losers”), his years of mild debauchery and struggles as a young actor in New York, his many adventures and insights about The Office, and finally, Wilson's achievement of success and satisfaction, both in his career and spiritually, reconnecting with the artistic and creative values of the Bahá’í faith he grew up in.

30 review for The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ashly

    3 1/2 stars -- needed more beets.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    If for nothing else, this should be heralded for being an almost perfectly constructed autobiography. But wait, there's more! Rainn Wilson, aka Dwight from The Office, has done a bang-up job at creating a very enjoyable read in The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy. His pacing, timing and storytelling are rock solid. Tangents and digressions are kept at reasonable lengths, are labeled as such and even apologized for, which is unnecessary because they're honestly not that long and ge If for nothing else, this should be heralded for being an almost perfectly constructed autobiography. But wait, there's more! Rainn Wilson, aka Dwight from The Office, has done a bang-up job at creating a very enjoyable read in The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy. His pacing, timing and storytelling are rock solid. Tangents and digressions are kept at reasonable lengths, are labeled as such and even apologized for, which is unnecessary because they're honestly not that long and generally have some bearing upon the topic at hand. But here's the important thing: Rainn Wilson is interesting a.f.! His Dwight character is not that far off from reality. I kind of guessed that ahead of time, but it is absolutely fascinating to see the hows, whats, and whys behind the making this delightfully strange individual. Hell, even the wheres are intriguing! Here, I'll give you a taste: Young Rainn was raised for a time in a dirt-poor, secluded Central American former pirate town that still to this day must be approached via boat, and it's not an island! Trust me, that little tidbit is nothing compared to the cuckoo crazy times that made up this man's formative years. Now, perhaps I'm gushing about Rainn's book, because it struck a chord with me. His tastes, his brand of humor, the fact that he played D&D and was a bit of an outsider, all these things I could relate to. So of course I'm going to enjoy this more than someone else who is his polar opposite. Let's put it like this: If you are repulsed by his Dwight personality, then just steer clear of this book. I don't know why you'd want to read it anyhow. But really, there's no point, even if you're just looking to hear a bit about The Office. Trust me, there's not enough on that topic herein to satisfy that itch and make reading this whole book worthwhile. You should be reading it for the love of Rainn! Warning. He talks a lot about his personal religion, the Baha'i Faith. I don't know much about it, but it seems like a fairly positive umbrella religion for all the other religions, which means it will likely be attacked by all other religions out of fear that it might supplant them one day. Meh, what do I care, I don't go in for organized religion, so it's no skin off my scrotum. Final thought: Don't read this book, listen to it! Rainn is a comedic character actor. His talents translate to vocal work. Thankfully, he's a good narrator, and specifically he reads this book with all the inflections and dramatic flair it requires. Unless you know him and his humor intimately, if you read it on your own you're going to miss many of the jokes. Whoosh, right over your head.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Whitney Atkinson

    I loved this book!! When I read celebrity memoirs I go into it only expecting some light entertainment and a fun audiobook, but I was pleasantly surprised by how talented Rainn is at writing and fleshing out his backstory. It felt like we were let into his life in a very authentic style without the arms'-length "i'm famous and here's my success story" tone that other celebrity memoirs tend to have. His voice and humor was very genuine and his rags to riches story was charming without being self- I loved this book!! When I read celebrity memoirs I go into it only expecting some light entertainment and a fun audiobook, but I was pleasantly surprised by how talented Rainn is at writing and fleshing out his backstory. It felt like we were let into his life in a very authentic style without the arms'-length "i'm famous and here's my success story" tone that other celebrity memoirs tend to have. His voice and humor was very genuine and his rags to riches story was charming without being self-congratulatory. I enjoyed learning new things about Rainn, from his spiritual upbringing, his background in Broadway, and behind the scenes of The Office. If you enjoy The Office or Rainn's other works, this is a hilarious and worthwhile read, and the audiobook is very enjoyable.

  4. 5 out of 5

    jv poore

    I was familiar with Rainn Wilson as an actor that absolutely rocked completely quirky characters in Six Feet Under and The Office, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see Mr. Wilson as an author. Again, he excels.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)

    Edit November 28, 2015: Honestly, I have to say that I completely love Rainn Wilson in both the roles I've seen him as. Dwight, of course. And that random guy off Juno. (To be fair, I didn't recognize they were the same guy until a couple years ago.) The most I know about him is that he has a quirky sense of humor and a very interesting religion. What hooked me about this book was that the forward was written by Dwight Schrute, one of the funniest TV characters I've ever seen in my short life. And, Edit November 28, 2015: Honestly, I have to say that I completely love Rainn Wilson in both the roles I've seen him as. Dwight, of course. And that random guy off Juno. (To be fair, I didn't recognize they were the same guy until a couple years ago.) The most I know about him is that he has a quirky sense of humor and a very interesting religion. What hooked me about this book was that the forward was written by Dwight Schrute, one of the funniest TV characters I've ever seen in my short life. And, who could ever forget the best opener to a show ever? (Sorry for low quality, but it's the only one I could find that had the whole thing.) So, when I saw this book I knew I had to read it. I just had to. Get a bit of Dwight and learn a bit about the man who created him. Fair enough. I just didn't find it as funny or as interesting as I had hoped. Sure, Rainn has a fascinating life. I learned a lot about him through reading it, and I did learn a few good lessons about how to approach life. But, I feel that's about it. I liked it, but it wasn't the best book I've read this year. I would say that you should read it if you're a huge fan of the actor, but if you're looking for something about The Office, then you're not going to really find it here. Edit November 24, 2015: It's in at the library. Edit November 3, 2015: I didn't know I needed a forward of a book written by Dwight K Schrute until this moment.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mariah Roze

    3.5 Stars. This book has been on my To-Read since I realized Rainn wrote a book. I have only seen him in The Office but I loved that show and I loved his acting. His writing skills and story telling is very entertaining. It is similar to a lot of famous people's writing. (Ones that are famous for something besides writing). He jumps around a lot and at times I couldn't tell what happened when. But like I said, I really enjoyed his book. It is light and entertaining. A good, quick book to pick up 3.5 Stars. This book has been on my To-Read since I realized Rainn wrote a book. I have only seen him in The Office but I loved that show and I loved his acting. His writing skills and story telling is very entertaining. It is similar to a lot of famous people's writing. (Ones that are famous for something besides writing). He jumps around a lot and at times I couldn't tell what happened when. But like I said, I really enjoyed his book. It is light and entertaining. A good, quick book to pick up when you don't want anything deep. "For nine seasons Rainn Wilson played Dwight Schrute, everyone's favorite work nemesis and beet farmer. Viewers of The Office fell in love with the character and grew to love the actor who played him even more. Rainn founded a website and media company, SoulPancake, that eventually became a bestselling book of the same name. He also started a hilarious Twitter feed (sample tweet: “I'm not on Facebook” is the new “I don't even own a TV”) that now has more than four million followers. Now, he's ready to tell his own story and explain how he came up with his incredibly unique sense of humor and perspective on life. He explains how he grew up “bone-numbingly nerdy before there was even a modicum of cool attached to the word.” The Bassoon King chronicles his journey from nerd to drama geek (“the highest rung on the vast, pimply ladder of high school losers”), his years of mild debauchery and struggles as a young actor in New York, his many adventures and insights about The Office, and finally, Wilson's achievement of success and satisfaction, both in his career and spiritually, reconnecting with the artistic and creative values of the Bahá’í faith he grew up in."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I received a copy of the audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is a book I probably would have bought regardless, since I love The Office and comedic memoir. The last three audiobooks I have listened to have had strange connections to each other. The first was The First Bad Man by Miranda July, and in Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, Carrie Brownstein mentions Miranda a few times in passing because they are good friends. Carrie grew up in Olympia, which is also where R I received a copy of the audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is a book I probably would have bought regardless, since I love The Office and comedic memoir. The last three audiobooks I have listened to have had strange connections to each other. The first was The First Bad Man by Miranda July, and in Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, Carrie Brownstein mentions Miranda a few times in passing because they are good friends. Carrie grew up in Olympia, which is also where Rainn spent a good portion of his childhood. Bizarre. One thing I did not expect about Rainn Wilson is how much of a SERIOUS ACTOR he is. You will know it too, by the end of this book, because he will remind you often enough. NYU, Shakespeare, and years of serious, intentional study. On the other hand, the fact that I've never considered it may speak to his ability as a SERIOUS ACTOR because I'm not thinking about Rainn at all, I'm thinking about the characters he plays. It's worth thinking about. This book covers the acting years but also an interesting childhood (partially in Nicaragua!) and growing up as a nerd before being a nerd was cool. It goes off on tangents sometimes or lists, which keeps the listener going. There are satisfying tidbits in there about behind the scenes, which I'm sure is the reason many will pick this up, but there is equal coverage of his new project Soul Pancake and the Baha'i faith, because surprise! Rainn is Baha'i and actually grew up that way. I definitely had never heard a pasty white guy talk about his Baha'i faith so even when it got a bit preachy, I learned some things. The audio is definitely the way to go - easy to listen to and will make you laugh from time to time. The forward is written and read by Dwight K. Schrute, and Rainn has a dry, possibly flippant, reading tone that works well for his own life story. Also he's much older than I thought.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kricket

    In "The Bassoon King," Rainn Wilson points out how much easier and more fun it is to write scathing reviews than it is to write thoughtful well-balanced ones, and this is absolutely correct. So I will try to be well-balanced here. I liked parts of this book. I did not like other parts. I changed my mind about my rating every other chapter. So, here are some things I liked: -That he read his own audiobook. That was cool. -The stories about Rainn growing up, especially the parts in Costa Rica and h In "The Bassoon King," Rainn Wilson points out how much easier and more fun it is to write scathing reviews than it is to write thoughtful well-balanced ones, and this is absolutely correct. So I will try to be well-balanced here. I liked parts of this book. I did not like other parts. I changed my mind about my rating every other chapter. So, here are some things I liked: -That he read his own audiobook. That was cool. -The stories about Rainn growing up, especially the parts in Costa Rica and high school (Model UN, Dungeons & Dragons, etc.) -The parts about working on the Office. -The basics of the Bahá'í faith, which I did not know much about and was interested in learning about. Here are some things I did not like: -Rainn's reaction to any work he did which got bad reviews. I think it was supposed to be funny but it came off as bitter and defensive and poor-sportsman-like. -On the same note, he spends a lot of time railing against the people who didn't think the USA should put out a different version of the BBC Office. At this point, who cares? You made a great show. Those people were clearly wrong and probably feel dumb already. Move on. Again, such defensive. -The chapters about the THE-AH-TAH and his training and his teachers. Personal preference, I just felt it was kind of zzzzzzzz. Overall, many ups-and-downs but a pretty ok read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Orsolya

    Rainn Wilson is best known for his role as eccentric but likable Dwight Schrute on the American-version of, “The Office”. Wilson is, surprisingly, a lot like Dwight so perhaps his entire life was preparation for the role. Wilson reveals his climb to fame in, “The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy”. Although “The Bassoon King” is, in its simplest form, a Hollywood memoir attempting to either show how a celebrity is “one of us” or has been through hell and back; Rainn Wilson strays fr Rainn Wilson is best known for his role as eccentric but likable Dwight Schrute on the American-version of, “The Office”. Wilson is, surprisingly, a lot like Dwight so perhaps his entire life was preparation for the role. Wilson reveals his climb to fame in, “The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy”. Although “The Bassoon King” is, in its simplest form, a Hollywood memoir attempting to either show how a celebrity is “one of us” or has been through hell and back; Rainn Wilson strays from this formula and pens quite a unique piece. Rather than telling his life story in a straight memoir form, Wilson infuses the pages with humor, lists, photos, and creative narrative themes which still present his story in a chronological way but much more creatively than other memoirs. This allows the material to be truly memorable and readers will not only learn a lot about Wilson but truly “feel” him. Speaking of being memorable, “The Bassoon King” uses humor to captivate the reader but this isn’t overly done or forced. It is natural and dry but also unexpected in many moments which results in laugh-out-loud action. Wilson is genuinely funny and quite charming in his own way. Plus, the prose and writing is wonderful. Wilson doesn’t just try to be funny and dummy down the text; but instead is a great writer all while having a strong pace. “The Bassoon King” is a joy to read and light years better than so many other Hollywood memoirs. Also making “The Bassoon King” stand-out is the fact that Wilson never over-exaggerates problems, doesn’t beg for pity with a “woe is me”-attitude”, never blames other for any drawbacks, and doesn’t romanticize substance abuse which is what 99% of celebs do in memoirs. A standing ovation is deserved by Wilson for being a mature and strong individual while also being entertaining. Wilson is not only good at not overdoing comedy or tonality; but his timing is also on point. Meaning, that Wilson executes the storytelling with proper pace and doesn’t linger long on a single subject. Other celebrity authors tend to drag on with unimportant details. On the other hand though, “The Bassoon King” doesn’t dive deep enough into Wilson’s personal depth of emotions—he clearly holds back. Halfway through, the pages begin to be filled with more philosophical meanderings which some may find insightful while other may think are off-track from the memoir itself and that it offers more of Wilson’s views versus his background/experiences (personally, I find this to exemplify Wilson’s intelligence and spirituality which is much more interesting than a simple life-recall). Naturally, “The Bassoon King” contains a chunk discussing Wilson’s climb to fame with “The Office”. Don’t expect a raunchy gossip fest, though. Wilson keeps it classy by simply exploring his favorite memories and tidbits from the show. Wilson concludes “The Bassoon King” on a perfect note with equal parts of wit, humor, and personality that really sum him up as a person leaving the reader with adequate insight. Readers will certainly close the book with happy contentment. “The Bassoon King” offers up details which readers and Wilson fans will appreciate such as a foreword from Rainn’s character of Dwight Schrute, a section of color plate photos, and even a comedic note on the font used (all readers of NF books are used to the page disclosing the font used…Well, Wilson even took that to another level!). An appendix is also available briefly describing Wilson’s faith of Baha’i. Wilson’s “The Bassoon King” is a terrifically well-written memoir both in prose and content: truly standing out in the celebrity memoir crowd. Wilson informs, humors, and educates all while revealing his own life, background, and career. Although the door could have been open more with his internal feelings; “The Bassoon King” is recommended for fans of Rainn Wilson and readers of celebrity memoirs whom prefer less trash and more class.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scott S.

    "You couldn't handle my undivided attention." - Dwight Shrute in 'The Office' Rainn Wilson, however - best known for his 'assistant to the regional manager' role on NBC's long-running workplace ensemble sitcom The Office (2005-2013) - succeeded in keeping my attention throughout his lively autobiography. And, true to the subtitle, he talks in-depth about his theater training and experience during his college and pre-stardom years, his deep connection and spirituality with the Baha'i religion, and "You couldn't handle my undivided attention." - Dwight Shrute in 'The Office' Rainn Wilson, however - best known for his 'assistant to the regional manager' role on NBC's long-running workplace ensemble sitcom The Office (2005-2013) - succeeded in keeping my attention throughout his lively autobiography. And, true to the subtitle, he talks in-depth about his theater training and experience during his college and pre-stardom years, his deep connection and spirituality with the Baha'i religion, and those random, unique things - growing up in Nicaragua, Dungeons & Dragons, playing the bassoon, assorted early non-acting jobs - at various points in his life. (***I'd also like to thank GR member/friend Izza for putting this book on my radar.***) It should be noted that the chapters focusing on The Office comprise only about 10% of the book -- he loved the job (he was outstanding as Dwight) and he has some good anecdotes, but The Bassoon King is a really a reflection on his entire life that he wrote on the eve of his 50th birthday. What was also interesting was his non-preachy discussion and explanation of the Baha'i religion. I had never heard of this faith before it was mentioned in an Entertainment Weekly article on Wilson about ten or so years ago. Pleasingly, it seems to be a very positive, guiding force in his life. 4.5 stars

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This book was quite disappointing, considering that I think highly of Rainn Wilson's acting work, and that this is a genre of book that I often enjoy. Rainn Wilson is a paradox: --He seems quite intelligent, yet the writing does not always reflect that. He often relies on "shouting" in all caps to get his point across (and I have seen other authors use this well for comedic effect--this was different). He uses the word "literally" far too often, and in cases where what he is saying is clearly not This book was quite disappointing, considering that I think highly of Rainn Wilson's acting work, and that this is a genre of book that I often enjoy. Rainn Wilson is a paradox: --He seems quite intelligent, yet the writing does not always reflect that. He often relies on "shouting" in all caps to get his point across (and I have seen other authors use this well for comedic effect--this was different). He uses the word "literally" far too often, and in cases where what he is saying is clearly not metaphorical, nor difficult to believe, so it is completely unnecessary. --He decries snobbery in others, yet reveals his own on a number of occasions. In one example of this, he is venting for several pages about fans of the BBC version of The Office, and their wary reception of the American version. (His sustained vitriol is startling considering both the time that has elapsed, and the eventual success of his show.) Some fans felt that the British version was so good that no one should attempt another. He refers to this "strange snobbery" as "absolutely mystifying" and "nauseating." What is interesting is that, just a couple of paragraphs earlier, he explains that the American version is needed because "most primetime TV watchers in Kansas and Michigan don't really understand English accents and lingo." He expands on his point by asserting that phrases such as "cheers, mate" and "bloody 'ell " go "completely over the heads of most corpulent mid Americans." --He tries to be self-deprecating about his nerdy proclivities, but he ultimately comes across as believing them to be a mark of superiority. He reminds his readers to treat people such as lowly dishwashers with kindness, but demonstrates a pretentious belief that artists (like actors) are on a higher level of consciousness than non-artists. On several occasions he makes it clear that the worthiness of entertainment should be determined by creative types (like actors) who are on an "artistic journey." In addition to his condescension towards a mass audience, he bitterly dismisses critics as being unqualified to "righteously pass judgment" (aka, have opinions) because they have "never laid out their hearts and minds and souls to an audience attempting to entertain, uplift, and challenge." Likewise, TV executives "have no idea what they are doing," as they "have never been artists or craftsmen, only corporate workers." Those lower on the TV-making ladder are "lackey yes-men who are trying to look busy and important." --He clearly takes his faith seriously, and he does a good job of outlining it in an appealing way, but he contradicts certain aspects. While thoughtfully extolling the virtues of its inclusive nature, he carelessly dismisses aspects of several major religions, some of which (like his own faith) have helped certain believers behave as better members of society, as "nonsense." --He seems willing to work hard at examining things, but the book is in many ways superficial, and in some ways, lazy. At times he resorts to lists or bullet-pointed random thoughts, rather than weaving them into a cohesive narrative. And lastly, he seems funny, but this book is not.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Wilson

    Ugh, it took me FOREVER to get through this book. I was listening to it as an audiobook, which always takes longer than reading the regular book, but still. I also considered blaming the fact that I've been super busy, but that doesn't really account for it either. The fact of the matter is, I just wasn't that into this book. For starters, my only knowledge of Rainn Wilson is from the Office, and this seems to appeal to people who are more into his Soul Pancake stuff. I'm not so much with the sp Ugh, it took me FOREVER to get through this book. I was listening to it as an audiobook, which always takes longer than reading the regular book, but still. I also considered blaming the fact that I've been super busy, but that doesn't really account for it either. The fact of the matter is, I just wasn't that into this book. For starters, my only knowledge of Rainn Wilson is from the Office, and this seems to appeal to people who are more into his Soul Pancake stuff. I'm not so much with the spirituality, so all the stuff about religion, spirituality, etc. seemed to drag on a bit for me. Plus, he even says at one point, "I'm going to talk about the Office for a while now, so if you're not interested in that, feel free to skip ahead." Who are these people who read this for all the other content and wanted to skip the Office segment? And on that note, the stuff about the Office is tragically short. I was really hoping for some more insider information about working on that great show, because what we did get was pretty fun! Definitely the highlight of the book. Also, there are a lot of lists, and they're super specific lists. For instance, there's a list of all the great funny supporting characters from 1970s and 80s sitcoms with descriptions about why they're funny. Not having watched any of these shows and having only peripheral knowledge of them, this wasn't particularly interesting to me. Similarly, there is a long list of punk bands that Rainn Wilson was into as a teenager, something else that didn't really land for me. Lots of little compendiums like that, and none of them were particularly fascinating. There are redeeming qualities to be found here, though. For instance, Rainn Wilson uses the term "grateful" more times than anyone ever has before, I daresay. He really comes across as appreciating everything he has in life, and that was nice to see. Also, he does say things about spirituality and the work he has done in this area that are very moving and noteworthy. And he writes about all of it with real passion and beauty. This good stuff just didn't outweigh the parts I wasn't that interested in.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    I love Rainn Wilson. He is a hilarious, spiritual, and down to earth individual. I have been quoting The Office and Dwight Shrute since I first starting watching the show in high school. I have, to date, watched every episode over 20 times. Needless to say, I'm a fan. Rainn uses much of his book to cover the turmoils and delights he experienced trying to find his voice in acting. From high school to college to auditioning for his famous and not so famous roles. While I didn't find these historie I love Rainn Wilson. He is a hilarious, spiritual, and down to earth individual. I have been quoting The Office and Dwight Shrute since I first starting watching the show in high school. I have, to date, watched every episode over 20 times. Needless to say, I'm a fan. Rainn uses much of his book to cover the turmoils and delights he experienced trying to find his voice in acting. From high school to college to auditioning for his famous and not so famous roles. While I didn't find these histories all that interesting, Rainn has a humorous voice. I especially enjoyed his section on his past jobs. He is also a very spiritual, philosophical person (as those of you familiar with Soul Pancake know) and spends much of his book digging into his faith and discussing the Baha'i religion. This may or may not be your thing. What I most wanted to read about was snippets from his time on the set of The Office. Unfortunately, those didn't come until the last two chapters of his memoir. I may be wrong to base my review on that alone, but that is what I wanted to read about. Not that everything previously wasn't pleasant to read; it was. I just felt slightly gipped. All in all, Rainn penned a well written and hilarious memoir, albeit, not with enough The Office references. Guess I will have to watch the extras on DVD for that.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Hager

    I am a huge fan of The Office and so I would've read this book even without the fact that the introduction is written by one Dwight K. Schrute. (If you love that show as much as I do, I absolutely dare you not to read it and not laugh out loud at least three times on every page. AT LEAST.) So yeah, come for the parts by Dwight and the Office anecdotes, but you'll stay for the rest of it. It's clever and sweet and just good. I always forget just how many things Rainn Wilson has done that I've love I am a huge fan of The Office and so I would've read this book even without the fact that the introduction is written by one Dwight K. Schrute. (If you love that show as much as I do, I absolutely dare you not to read it and not laugh out loud at least three times on every page. AT LEAST.) So yeah, come for the parts by Dwight and the Office anecdotes, but you'll stay for the rest of it. It's clever and sweet and just good. I always forget just how many things Rainn Wilson has done that I've loved (including, God help me, House of 1,000 Corpses). Obviously I think of The Office first, but he's also in Galaxy Quest! Almost Famous! The Rocker (one of the most underrated comedies ever, according to me). Also, he just sounds like a great human, and we need more of those. Recommended.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Won in the First Reads giveaway. It was a funny and interesting memoir. I feel like certain racial terms could have been tweaked and there were moments of "get off my lawn"-ness. All in all, it was a very readable book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Izza

    3.5 stars | I had no intention of picking this up, but it was available on OverDrive and I thought 'why not? I love The Office, I love Dwight. Might as well learn more about Rainn Wilson.' I had no expectation and I was pleasantly surprised :)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    (4.5 stars) Maybe because I identify with Rainn Wilson's geek status, but I enjoyed his memoir much more than the other recent Hollywood memoirs out there. His deep, resonant voice soothes you through this recording, and at once you know he is intelligent and deep and has much more substance than you expect from the guy who played Dwight. And I did love the character Dwight. Poor Rainn, having to endure that haircut for 9 seasons. READ THIS BOOK! You won't regret it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    3.5 stars. Rainn toed a weird line between pretentious and self-deprecating. I almost think this book would have been better had it been written later in his life with a longer career under his belt. But I also realize the need to capitalize on what's popular.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Rainn is insightful, funny, witty, and interesting. Also an insecure, elitist, snob. So there's the dilemma. His story has definitely been interesting, but sometimes he a little prone to the name drop. I don't need to hear about every single acting teacher you've ever had and how their brilliance transformed you. I don't care who they are, or what they did (starting to sound a little boy band-ish there oops). Their inclusion turns whole chapters into a really long awards show speech. But then, h Rainn is insightful, funny, witty, and interesting. Also an insecure, elitist, snob. So there's the dilemma. His story has definitely been interesting, but sometimes he a little prone to the name drop. I don't need to hear about every single acting teacher you've ever had and how their brilliance transformed you. I don't care who they are, or what they did (starting to sound a little boy band-ish there oops). Their inclusion turns whole chapters into a really long awards show speech. But then, he tells a funny story, or shares a bit of sarcasm and I laugh. He's not afraid to express his opinion of pop culture and that is refreshing. I think some readers will be very put off by how much he writes about his religion. I was thinking about it though; if I wrote a book about my life, it would be impossible without discussing my faith. Choices I've made, personality traits, they make no sense if people don't know the framework of my mind that has been formed by my faith. So I understand that. What I don't like? As I mentioned in one of my post updates- Rainn is very defensive of his faith and pleads with the reader to not Wikipedia it. I totally get that. What I don't get is why then a couple pages over he gives my religion a 'cutesy' nickname. Give respect to get respect right? Anyway. He can think what he likes, I can think what I like. Neither of us believe the same. Fantastic. Don't care. But see, I didn't then write a book including a plea for religious tolerance, and then act ignorant, did I. I think the juicy bits have been withheld. Understandably. I'm less curious about how some Eastern European acting weirdo changed him as an actor, and more interested in why he and his wife were separated for a while. I totally get why he wouldn't write about that, but I'm still curious. Glad they're together now. The Office got one chapter. If you're reading because you love the office, you'll be disappointed. I like that Rainn didn't shy away from heavy topics- his mother abandoning the family, his heavy drug use, his turning to atheism and subsequent struggle back to faith. It makes who he is more understandable. His craving for love, and validation that drives him. Way better than the last biography I read (also about a comedic actor).

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Ayala

    Rainn Wilson is a hardcore offbeat nerd. Not the mainstream kind that has shows like Big Bang Theory and At Midnight going for it. Rainn Wilson grew up as a perfect figurehead of the latchkey kid with parents who are totally off their rocker and far into far-out movements. He just kind of glosses over the fun bits, to be honest. He doesn't delve too deeply into the weirdness of his childhood too much, which I was looking forward to. Hippie parents who ran down to central America with a toddler--wh Rainn Wilson is a hardcore offbeat nerd. Not the mainstream kind that has shows like Big Bang Theory and At Midnight going for it. Rainn Wilson grew up as a perfect figurehead of the latchkey kid with parents who are totally off their rocker and far into far-out movements. He just kind of glosses over the fun bits, to be honest. He doesn't delve too deeply into the weirdness of his childhood too much, which I was looking forward to. Hippie parents who ran down to central America with a toddler--what's not to love? Yet it's only briefly mentioned and then there's lots of rants about people I don't know. Ultimately there was just too much time spent on people. They've made a great impact on Rainn's life, but they're just names on paper for me. It's great that they're good writers, or good teachers, but they've made no impact on me so reading about them got to be a bit old after a while. Of course, the chapters about The Office were a long time coming. I loved the stories of John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer and Steve Carrell and Rainn Wilson all joking and laughing together. It's what we were all holding out for! All in all, it's a good enough read but only memorable for his parents and his somewhat obscure religion.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Meh.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I picked up this book based on my love of Rainn's character, Dwight Schute, from The Office. I knew next to nothing about Wilson and I certainly learned a lot about him through interesting anecdotes from childhood through adulthood as well as his spiritual leanings. I wasn't shocked to learn that he played the bassoon, was a Dungeons and Dragons nerd, or a chess player. But I did learn about his peripatetic childhood, his New York years, and his extensive thoughts about existence. But this book m I picked up this book based on my love of Rainn's character, Dwight Schute, from The Office. I knew next to nothing about Wilson and I certainly learned a lot about him through interesting anecdotes from childhood through adulthood as well as his spiritual leanings. I wasn't shocked to learn that he played the bassoon, was a Dungeons and Dragons nerd, or a chess player. But I did learn about his peripatetic childhood, his New York years, and his extensive thoughts about existence. But this book might not be for the squeamish, though. Wilson describes pulling a 7 inch worm out of his nether regions when living in Brazil. He actually took the time to describe seeing someone with ear hole mold: "Now let’s take a moment to ponder what might have been growing on other areas of this person. His murky bits. The clammy, ripe regions." CRINGE. Wilson spent much of the book expounding on spirituality. He brought up many interesting points. He talked about people "often using being an agnostic as an uninvolved, fallback position. For instance, they simply say I’m an agnostic and then don’t do any soul searching or spiritual questing. Or, they say because you can’t ever really know, that this excuses one from a committed examination." He also discussed the profound notion that happiness is found through service to others, not within oneself. The thing that bothered me about this book is how Wilson seemed to try to go out of his way to insult people who subscribe to an organized belief system. He has to know that he has fans from all walks of life yet he went insisted on denigrating their belief systems with “Can you imagine the despicable absurdity of a loving God, creating us only to torture us FOREVER…in a fiery pit because we didn’t recognize the divinity of Jesus or Mohammed? What a cruel, horrible God that would be. I mean, how vindictive can you get?" He went on to sneer about Hell, eternal damnation, and original sin as ludicrous, nonsensical ideas. Yet his Bahá'í Faith is supposed to be an amalgamation of all religions, so if it is a true encompassing of all religions, either he or all of the members of his entire religion is taking only the parts he likes and ignoring the parts he doesn't like. He also made many other statements that I disagreed with, such as the belief in his religion that evil is the absence of good. I would have given this book a higher review if Wilson had just refrained from insulting Christians, Muslims, Jewish etc. Wilson simply could have explained his beliefs and moved on. Instead he actively attacked the beliefs of those he disagreed with. If I had written a book, I wouldn't have wanted to offend any of my audience. Maybe he thought this percentage of his audience was negligible or he just didn't care. I'd recommend this book for anyone who is on an active spiritual quest or is interested in New Age philosophies. I'd recommend not reading this book for anyone who subscribes to an organized religion and is offended when someone scoffs at your strongly held core beliefs.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Torie

    The book became unbearable. Wilson just complains a lot. You have to hear all of his gripes in multiple asides (ie a long complaint about tv snobbery, how tv reviews compare unlike pieces of media all the time, etc). It makes whatever story he’s telling lose steam and it’s also like...WHO CARES!!!! Even his chapters about The Office got hard to listen to because he’d pepper it with complaints about something only barely related. The book was funny sometimes and I really wanted to like it, but the The book became unbearable. Wilson just complains a lot. You have to hear all of his gripes in multiple asides (ie a long complaint about tv snobbery, how tv reviews compare unlike pieces of media all the time, etc). It makes whatever story he’s telling lose steam and it’s also like...WHO CARES!!!! Even his chapters about The Office got hard to listen to because he’d pepper it with complaints about something only barely related. The book was funny sometimes and I really wanted to like it, but there were just ceaseless tangents where he’d complain for a looooong time. A lot of his jokes also felt forced in and he reveled and reminisced about being a nerdy outcast (while talking about how nerds nowadays have it soooo easy). Idk. It just felt very negative and not substantial.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Wilkening

    Rainn Wilson’s “The Bassoon King” is hilarious and heartbreaking and thought provoking. I found myself laughing and crying and wondering what would happen next in his crazy life as I read on. I absolutely loved him in The Office and that’s why I initially bought this book, but his life story is incredible. His love and hatred of acting, his rocky relationship with his parents, finding his spirituality all over again, and inspiring others as much as he can. Rainn Wilson is hilarious and real in t Rainn Wilson’s “The Bassoon King” is hilarious and heartbreaking and thought provoking. I found myself laughing and crying and wondering what would happen next in his crazy life as I read on. I absolutely loved him in The Office and that’s why I initially bought this book, but his life story is incredible. His love and hatred of acting, his rocky relationship with his parents, finding his spirituality all over again, and inspiring others as much as he can. Rainn Wilson is hilarious and real in this book, 5/5.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    I’ve got to stop reading junk like this. Rainn Wilson’s The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy imparts nothing of any real interest to the reader. If you’re a fan of The Office and think there will be cool behind-the-scenes stories, you’re going to be disappointed. Wilson is a mediocre writer and his book reveals him to be one of those “theAHter” snobs. He comes across as incredibly immature and intellectually naïve. His chapters dealing with his faith are the worst because he’s so I’ve got to stop reading junk like this. Rainn Wilson’s The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy imparts nothing of any real interest to the reader. If you’re a fan of The Office and think there will be cool behind-the-scenes stories, you’re going to be disappointed. Wilson is a mediocre writer and his book reveals him to be one of those “theAHter” snobs. He comes across as incredibly immature and intellectually naïve. His chapters dealing with his faith are the worst because he’s so damn self-satisfied. Rainn Wilson poses not very deep questions about faith, then answers them himself. It’s a real intellectual tour de force. There’s a lot to not like about this book, and most of it’s Rainn Wilson. It’s possible that Rainn Wilson, in person, is a decent man. However, his own prose does him no favors. He shouts at the reader constantly. OH MY GOD LOOK AT ME SHOUTING AT MY READER. SEE ALL MY CAPS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS?????!!!!!!!! He uses the word “literally” literally all the time to mean literally: literally. He is a grown ass man who doesn’t have the balls to use profanity in his own book; he inserts @@!!#$%&* instead. Wanting to keep the book PG is fine with me—I don’t care; it’s not my shitty book. But if he’s too delicate to spell out those bad words he should avoid them entirely. He also shouts GOSH-DARNED at his readers with absolutely no awareness of how silly it is. Wilson believes he is a person on a “spiritual and artistic journey through life” (282) and because of this, the reader gets the definite sense that he sees himself as more aware, more evolved and certainly more spiritual than the regular slob working a 9-5 office job or the shift worker on a construction crew. Above all, Wilson is SPIRITUAL and an ARTEEST. This memoir is in chronological order, beginning with his birth and ending with his media venture, SoulPancake. The reading is not difficult and one chapter flows effortlessly into another. It’s like meringue for your brain. While living in NYC, Wilson detours into the clichéd “drugs and alcohol” phase of his acting career. I hate to be cynical about this, but it seems as if drug use is an obligatory part of becoming an artist; the more serious of an arteest you are, the worse the habit. The last few chapters detail his relationship with his current wife, the birth of his son, and The Office. A brief paragraph about his two short chapters about The Office: Wilson doesn’t say much about the show itself. He probably devotes more words to bashing his critics than discussing his time on the show. The most interesting tidbits he revealed: 1) the opening scenes of Scranton, PA were filmed by Jim Krasinski when he visited the area to do research and 2) because the show is a mock documentary, the actors could be filmed at any time so they had to stay in character the whole time the camera was rolling, even if they weren’t in a scene—so that’s 12 hours a day of pretending to work in an office. Oh, and Steve Carell sweats profusely so the temperature on set was kept at 64 degrees. And that’s it. I didn’t want tales of nastiness between the actors, just what it was like on set, working with the guest actors, goofy pranks, etc. Wilson includes pictures of the last day of filming and the parade in Scranton but doesn’t include details. Office fans: read chapters 14 and 15 and walk away. Wilson isn’t funny. I skimmed some GR reviews and that was the overwhelming complaint: hey, he’s not funny! He’s not a comedy writer, he’s an actor. Sometimes the two can cross over (see Mindy Kaling’s books; she’s pretty damn funny) but Wilson’s attempts at humor fail every time. My only snicker came at the very end of the book when he’s listing examples of comedy and Fox News is one of them. (Ironically, this section is titled: IF YOU THINK YOU’RE BEING FUNNY, YOU’RE NOT BEING FUNNY.) The book is jammed with examples of Wilson thinking he is being funny, but he’s not. His jokes are juvenile and lame and his attempts at sarcasm…ugh. Wilson has this air of superiority to him—I’m spiritual! I’m an artist! He seems to think the majority of his readers are drooling idiots who never move from their couches; empty vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge only Wilson, the spiritual artist, can impart. During one of his long rants defending the idea of an American version of The Office, Wilson says the BBC version wouldn’t work in America: …most prime-time TV watchers in Kansas and Michigan don’t really understand English accents and lingo. All that talk of “the boot of your lorry,” “cheers, mate,” “bloody ’ell,” and “bollocks” goes completely over the heads of most corpulent mid-Americans who have grown up watching The Brady Bunch, Dr. Phil, and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch (234). First of all, smartypants, a “lorry” is a long haul truck. It doesn’t have a “boot,” which is what us corpulent mouth-breathing non-artists call the trunk. Another note on Wilson’s faux intelligence—he uses “England,” “English,” and “Britain,” “British” interchangeably. There’s a difference, numbnuts. Wilson is the arbiter of good taste, sneering at tv shows he doesn’t like and championing what he does (Game of Thrones is the “greatest TV show in the history of everything,” 288). He takes a potshot at Dennis Franz, an actor I happen to think is genius (humor, drama, he does it all) and could wipe the floor with Rainn Wilson any day of the week. He lists a bunch of HBO shows but calls Six Feet Under (the only one he worked on) as “one of the most influential projects going” (214). Really? The Wire, The Sopranos, and Curb Your Enthusiasm weren’t “influential” as well? He singles out Sex and the City as a show that makes women “coo” and boyfriends “nauseated.” Rainn Wilson, you know nothing. You’re ignorant and dismissive of any project you yourself didn’t have a part in. Wilson alternately uses his book to attack critics and lecture readers. Long passages are devoted to defending his projects, particularly the cancelled Backstrom (he takes the opportunity to make a snarky comment about Breaking Bad fans). In responding to fans of the BBC Office, Wilson, who lacks any sense of irony, calls them “tv snobs” and writes there are worse things to be upset about in the world and shame on these BBC tv snobs for wasting so much energy on being upset by something so incredibly minor. Wilson then continues to waste his energy bitching about them, the tv industry in general, tv executives, and professional critics (who shouldn’t have opinions, write their reviews all wrong and should “suck it”). If you are not an actor (and you must be the right kind of Wilson-approved actor), you are not an artist and thus to be scorned. He doesn’t seem to recognize that all those annoying non-artsy people with the clipboards help make his performances possible. All other regular people (the corpulent readers of this book) will be lectured to by Wilson. The words “you see” signify the beginning of a lecture. “You see, chess team is comprised of…” (60); “You see, New York in 1986 was a very, very different place… (106); “You see, in Haiti, as in many other lower-income countries, women for the most part are treated as work animals” (280); “You see, according to the Baha’i Faith, there is really only one religion…” (295); you see, Wilson thinks his readers are morons who have no knowledge of the world. So glad he’s here to enlighten us. What I see revealed is an immature person who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. His whole chapter on being in NYC and rejecting his faith and becoming a “bohemian” actor makes me roll my eyes. He’s so caught up playing the part of an artist—or rather his juvenile idea of who an artist is—that he neglects the actual artistry. Dying your hair, wearing certain clothes, taking drugs, being proud of living in the dangerous and poverty-ridden parts of the city (where he describes the homeless as “perky”) doesn’t make you an artist. But Wilson believed he was living the “bohemian,” true artsy life style for a while until he had this huge revelation: he needs to stop pretending to be someone he isn’t and stay true to himself. Wow. When he realized this and recognized his limitations as an actor (he’s better in comedy roles than drama), he miraculously became a better actor and his career improved. Also, God helped him out—because that’s God, always looking to help an actor improve his career; I mean, fuck those starving people, right?—but I will address Wilson’s faith lectures separately. Throughout the book, there’s an amazing lack of self-awareness. The prose is so bland and full of bad juvenile attempts at humor that it’s possible to miss how immature and intellectually stunted his passages about religion are. He displays a certain kind of chauvinism regarding women. It’s no wonder he views SATC as merely a show that makes women “coo”; he describes his wife as “hot” many times. That’s not a compliment to his wife. That’s Wilson complimenting himself on gaining a possession that’s very attractive and makes him—a self-professed geek with a large, ungainly head—look good. He also bemoans the life of his father, a man unable to devote himself to being an artist because he had a family to support. There’s no bemoaning that lack of artsy time for his stepmother, a woman who basically devoted her entire adult life to Rainn and his father and who was desperately unhappy in the marriage. Did she have dreams of being a writer, a sculptor? Who knows. Wilson didn’t say, but oh, his poor father. He only had the time to write (bad) science fiction novels at work and then come home to paint (terrible) paintings. His birth mother actually left because his father wasn’t supportive of her acting. When he and his wife are invited to Haiti to conduct workshops for teenage girls, he is skeptical: “Why would adolescent girls without jobs, shoes, roofs, or food benefit from doing drama, photography, creative writing, and visual arts? They needed job training and pants and fresh water, not theater games, poetry, and pretty pictures” (279). An actor who doesn’t recognize the importance of creativity and art? Is it because they are too poor? Too uneducated? Too female? How could he, a man who yammers on for pages about the connection between art and spirituality, not get this? My guess is, he didn’t consider them capable of appreciating art. He’s ignorant of the breadth and variety of human existence, and that ignorance shapes his lack of understanding about spirituality—discussions he hammers the reader with, putting his lack of intellectual depth on full display. The faith of Rainn Wilson Wilson is not shy about mentioning his Baha’i faith and that didn’t bother me. It was his snarky asides to atheists (or, “materialists” as he called us), his lack of understanding about atheism; his ignorance of the definition of the words “agnostic” and “atheist”; the arrogance of his superiority as a person of faith; his “proof” that god exists; and the overwhelming general stupidity that he displayed whenever he brought up the topic of religion that really pissed me off. Wilson claims to have read all sorts of book exploring the idea of spirituality. The problem with his research is that it was god-centered. In exploring spirituality, he completely excludes the idea that it is a feeling or state of being that doesn’t need to be god-inspired. He arrogantly assumes atheists cannot experience spirituality, don’t appreciate art and experience life as merely an expression of body chemistry and biological functions. Wilson is telling readers how satisfying it is when he connects with the audience and how good it feels, something he calls “the mysterious, gooey stuff of life.” In parentheses, he offers this: “Translation for atheists and materialists: Your synapses fire, causing a spontaneous behavior, which triggers a pleasant surprise auditory response from the viewers and consequently pleasure endorphins are released into your cerebellum, causing you to want to repeat the action for another release of chemicals in your opiate receptors” (76). Wilson, you’re a jackass. Because of course in the history of the entire world, there’s never been an atheist actor. Or an atheist musician. Or an atheist whatever who had a feeling of joy and pride and satisfaction and happiness at doing something well. Wilson’s impassioned defense of religion and the “proof” he cites that god exists can be boiled down to this: “Flowers are pretty, humans can contemplate their navel but monkeys can’t, the universe didn’t just come from nothing, everything must happen for a reason, I believe in god, therefore there is a god.” When Wilson tries to summarize the “materialist” belief that morals are “inexplicably” programmed into our biology and human/animal impulses (150), he displays (again) his ignorance of biology, evolution, social biology—basically anything that doesn’t go along with his religious beliefs. He’s so ignorant he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. His discussion of atheism and agnosticism is more of the same—uninformed blathering. There is a difference between knowing/not knowing and believing/not believing, which is why Ricky Gervais calls himself an “agnostic atheist.” The narcissism of faith is on full display. God, who’d you think is a busy fellow, is always there to lend Wilson a helpful nudge to get his career on track. “I was truly terrified by this crossroads [go to acting school or continue undergrad degree] and quite stumped as to what to do when I had one of the many mystical experiences that seemed as if the universe was folding itself toward me and taking a bow, inviting me onto an exhilarating pathway” (99). How important is Wilson? I mean, the fucking universe is concerned about his life choices! Despite being in the process of bombing his audition for the NYU acting program, the very kind director of the program knew he was talented and coached him through the audition. Because of her efforts, he got into the program. But Wilson puts it down to something that was “meant to happen”: “God reached out a mysterious hand and opened a door to a new room.” However, to the materialist “that mystical feeling is simply the endorphins and electrical impulses of the brain reacting to create emotional meaning in random chance” (103). First of all, you narcissistic religious dipshit, “materialists” wouldn’t have any “mystical feeling.” They don’t think things are “meant to happen.” Shit happens and we assign importance or patterns to it later (because that’s how our brains work, read about it sometime). Our brains hate randomness. Predicable patterns are best for our survival (again, read about it). So all those other times you sucked in plays or at auditions, did you feel the mystical hand of god? How far does god’s interference go? Did he orchestrate your entire fucking life so you could finally land what is (so far and probably) the pinnacle of your professional acting career, playing a weirdo paper salesman? I mean, this is god. Surely he’d want you to go on to do some kind of spiritual acting role. Maybe next time you’ll be a paper salesman who is annoyingly vocal about his Baha’i faith. Finally, Wilson supplies this last bit of gobsmacking insanity to “prove” that god exists. This is the best example because his atheist friend Phil is involved. They are both at a baseball game and Wilson is telling his buddy all about Wakan Tanka (Lakota Sioux creator god) and how he’s so excited that because of Wakan Tanka, god is starting to make sense to him. (Let’s pause for a moment and wonder at the hubris of that remark. God, the omniscient, the omnipotent, the Alpha and Omega, the all-powerful, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named of mysterious ways, the creator of fucking everything, is starting to make sense to Rainn Wilson. He’s got him figured out.) Phil says, well, pray to Wakan Tanka and if the Yankees win, Wanka Tanka exists. So Wilson prays (out loud) and just as he finished the Yankees won the game: “We were stunned. [Only because you’re both idiots.] Our jaws dropped like oven doors. [Weird description.] We both looked at each other curiously. Hmmmmm. Okay, it most certainly could have been a coincidence. [No, I’m sure Wakan Tanka stopped saving kids from a burning building to help the Yankees win. Sucks for those burned up kids, but hey! The Yankees won! Priorities.] But it sure got my mind spinning [because you are an idiot]. Even skeptical Phil was a bit agog” (194). If Phil was impressed by that, he’s not a skeptic or an atheist. The last chapter, Soul Pancakes, reads like a glossy write-up from a PR pamphlet to sell his media venture to gullible readers of this crappy book. He mentions how many “hits” his videos get, how touching and beautiful and spiritually uplifting they are…hurrah. I regret reading this book. I hadn’t wanted to spend hours writing this review, but I was so disgusted by Rainn Wilson’s arrogance, snobbery and lack of intelligence that I was compelled to shred it. His half-assed ignorant religious discussions were the worst part of the book and I am offended for atheists everywhere when Wilson describes himself (even temporarily) as being an atheist. His idea of god was a scolding old man, so he rejected the faith of his parents because he wanted to live a carefree artsy life. Wilson, none of this makes you an atheist. It makes you an immature child rebelling against your parents (in your twenties, btw), insecure, and shallow. Atheism is not about rebelling. It is not about dying your hair “midnight black” and being artsy and listening to Patti Smith and Blondie and Lou Reed or reading artsy poetry and books. You’re a faker, you confuse style with substance and I don’t see that by the end of the book (at the age of almost 50) that you’ve progressed much.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I would give this a 3.5. I am a fan of the show The Office" Rainn Wilson is fantastic as Dwight Schrute.This is his memoir. Rainn was born to Hippies in 1966. His parents divorced when he was two his dad quickly remarried and moved the small family to Nicaragua survived the many bugs came back at five to Washington. Rainn grew up poor but survived. A self admitted science fiction nerd, who in jr high joined band and learned the Bassoon. Rainn has a pretty good sense of humor writing this memoir. I would give this a 3.5. I am a fan of the show The Office" Rainn Wilson is fantastic as Dwight Schrute.This is his memoir. Rainn was born to Hippies in 1966. His parents divorced when he was two his dad quickly remarried and moved the small family to Nicaragua survived the many bugs came back at five to Washington. Rainn grew up poor but survived. A self admitted science fiction nerd, who in jr high joined band and learned the Bassoon. Rainn has a pretty good sense of humor writing this memoir. some chapters consisted of lists like "Crappy jobs he had before he became an actor" favorite tv side kicks" Of course he did share some chapters on working on the hit tv show "The Office" I especially enjoyed reading that part. Rainn also writes about his college years. acting school and his religion,Baha'i faith. A pretty good book for the most part. I personally found the footnotes he spread though out the book annoying. If you are a fan of the Office. or Rainn Wilson, you may enjoy his memoir.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Liesl

    Not exactly what I was expecting, but still enjoyable. Since I am a fan of Wilson's work on TV and in film, I naturally found the portions devoted to his experiences trying to find a place within the acting world to be the most engaging, although it was neat to learn about his childhood and personal beliefs to understand him more as a person. There are two chapters that cover his time on The Office, yet the included material feels like it merely skims the surface; I thought there would be much m Not exactly what I was expecting, but still enjoyable. Since I am a fan of Wilson's work on TV and in film, I naturally found the portions devoted to his experiences trying to find a place within the acting world to be the most engaging, although it was neat to learn about his childhood and personal beliefs to understand him more as a person. There are two chapters that cover his time on The Office, yet the included material feels like it merely skims the surface; I thought there would be much more to share from such a seminal time in his career. I was only passingly familiar with SoulPancake, so it was interesting to learn more about this innovative company and what it aims to do. Personally, I could have done without the addendum as I didn't care to learn more about the Baha'i faith, but appreciate that Wilson includes the section for those who do.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This book was at times strange, insightful, boring, heartwarming, offputting, and random. Much like the character, Dwight Schrute, that Rainn portrayed for so many years. I enjoyed reading about his exotic upbringing, his time working on The Office, and the organizations he's started (Soul Pancake and Lide). I also found his views on faith, religion and service especially interesting and enlightening. However, I could have done without the random lists of his favorite albums, books, teachers, et This book was at times strange, insightful, boring, heartwarming, offputting, and random. Much like the character, Dwight Schrute, that Rainn portrayed for so many years. I enjoyed reading about his exotic upbringing, his time working on The Office, and the organizations he's started (Soul Pancake and Lide). I also found his views on faith, religion and service especially interesting and enlightening. However, I could have done without the random lists of his favorite albums, books, teachers, etc. Several of the chapters felt very random and unnecessary. Overall, I would still recommend this to fans of The Office.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris Haak

    I'm a big Rainn Wilson fan and find him weird but funny. I wasn't crazy about this book - frankly it was kind of a slog to get through it. Though it's occasionally interesting to understand what life events shape a famous person, his life was just kind of weird. My favorite part was his behind-the-scenes stories from the set of The Office. At the end of the day, perhaps what disappointed me the most was that an autobiography written by the man who played one of the greatest comedic characters of a I'm a big Rainn Wilson fan and find him weird but funny. I wasn't crazy about this book - frankly it was kind of a slog to get through it. Though it's occasionally interesting to understand what life events shape a famous person, his life was just kind of weird. My favorite part was his behind-the-scenes stories from the set of The Office. At the end of the day, perhaps what disappointed me the most was that an autobiography written by the man who played one of the greatest comedic characters of all time made me chuckle out loud perhaps three times in almost 300 pages.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    I liked this. I enjoy getting to know actors I love beyond their movies and tv shows. This was especially interesting because I, of course, love Rainn Wilson for his portrayal of Dwight Schrute from The Office. As Rainn tells his stories of growing up and getting his start in acting, he explains the parts that impacted his performance in this role. It was phenomenal to hear behind the scenes facts of Hollywood and The Office. I especially enjoyed the tangents he would go on about common courtesy I liked this. I enjoy getting to know actors I love beyond their movies and tv shows. This was especially interesting because I, of course, love Rainn Wilson for his portrayal of Dwight Schrute from The Office. As Rainn tells his stories of growing up and getting his start in acting, he explains the parts that impacted his performance in this role. It was phenomenal to hear behind the scenes facts of Hollywood and The Office. I especially enjoyed the tangents he would go on about common courtesy or little known facts.

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