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Publisher's Summary

In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and achingly funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark - as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer.

To numb the pain of failure, Ferguson found comfort in drugs and alcohol, addictions that eventually led to an aborted suicide attempt. (He forgot to do it when someone offered him a glass of sherry.) But his story has a happy ending: in 1993, the washed-up Ferguson washed up in the United States. Finally sober, Ferguson landed a breakthrough part on the hit sitcom The Drew Carey Show, a success that eventually led to his role as the host of CBS's The Late Late Show.

By far Ferguson's greatest triumph was his decision to become a U.S. citizen, a milestone he achieved in early 2008, just before his command performance for the president at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson talks a red, white, and blue streak about everything our Founding Fathers feared.

©2009 Craig Ferguson (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Diane
  • Paso Robles, CA, USA
  • 12-09-09

Unabashedly Honest

This is an excellent auto biography penned completely by the author himself. Many Hollywood stars use ghost writers but Craig Ferguson does not. It is a pleasure to listen to Craig, with his scotish accent, tell the tale of his upbringing, turbulent years and eventual success in Hollywood. The audible boook allows use to literally hear his pain, struggle, humor and love throught this journey. His story keeps the reader enthralled and wanting more. I have listened to this from start to finish twice and I know I will listen to it many more times. Thank you to Mr. Ferguson to allow us to take a peak into your amazing, terrifing and triumphant life journey.

25 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Andy
  • Loyalton, CA, USA
  • 11-22-09

Recovery makes you interesting

I first bought this book because I liked Craig on the Late Late Show. I didn't realize it was quite the interested tale of his life. I don't usually like stories of recovering (fill-in-the-blank-aholics). But Craig's is a very engaging and unabashedly frank telling of how he became and is to this day, a person who "screwed" up in many of the ways life doesn't forgive and yet lived to tell about it. His genuinely talented comedic mind takes you on a journey to understanding how he became the man so many of us enjoy laughing with. Welcome to America Craig. We need more people like you who have reccaptured yourself and can share so openly and elequently your heart-felt apologies, your wit and your perspective on what it means to be American.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Excellent listening!

Craig Ferguson is brilliant in many ways -- writing is just one of them. His memoir, "American on Purpose," is unapologetically honest, inspirational, chock full of unexpected wisdom and teeming with both humor and heart. This audiobook version, read by the author, really brings the book to life in a most enjoyable way. (No, it's not a laugh-a-minute, but neither is life. This is an autobiography, not a television show monologue.)

For the politically-minded, there are a (very) few political thoughts and comments thrown in that not everyone is going to agree with. However, nothing is said/written that is overly vitriolic or hateful, and it in no way overwhelms or otherwise detracts from enjoying this book. It's just one guy expressing his opinion. Which, let's face it... the right to do that is part of the beauty of being an American, whether native born, or -- in Craig's case -- on purpose. Well done, Mr. Ferguson. Proud and pleased to have you as a citizen.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Angela
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • 12-01-09

Good listen if you're a fan

As a fan of his tv show and his stand-up, I thought this was a great listen. It certainly sheds light on many of the life experiences he references on the Late Late Show. While there are laughs to be had, this isn't a comedic work, however, so don't purchase it with that expectation.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Jeff
  • Washington, DC, USA
  • 10-06-09

Great Scot! ..and what a patriot

Also being American by choice this book spoke to me in several ways.

Craig takes the listener on an entertaining journey from being a wee Scottish lad, insecure and unsure about himself, through his range of achievements and life experiences.

Understandably he keeps you laughing through the highs of his life but his story telling abilities shine through as he drops you down again and again into his struggle with addictions, yet he still keeps you laughing.

A great listen, and a highly recommended read for the entertainment and motivational value.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Kim
  • Spokane, WA, United States
  • 02-05-13

Craig Ferguson made me almost pee my pants

I never knew how freakin hilarious Craig Ferguson was - I thought he was funny before, but the pure genius of this book won me over. His accent is adorable and the man knows how to tell a story - I could listen to him all day. Really great job of mixing his personal history in with his hilarious musings on how weird the people in your life can be. I thoroughly enjoyed this and recommend it to anyone wanting to be entertained & amused.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan L
  • Jersey City, NJ, USA
  • 03-17-10

Funny but sometime slow

I love Craig and this is funny but not pure funny Ferguson. I wanted it to be either longer (more in depth) or shorter with more punch. Still a good listen.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Inspirational and a rollercoaster

As a First generation American myself, I loved to read his story of a fresh-faced new American. It's amazing he survived so much in his young life and turned the corner to a happy ending. Loved this book and gave gifts of it in print. Thanks Craig, write more!!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Carol
  • Fort Collins, CO, USA
  • 10-21-09

Great Book

I loved this book! Craig's sense of humor shines through, even in his darkest hours, and it's even more enjoyable to listen to with his lilting Scottish brogue. He never let his struggles get him down and his love for America is evident. It makes me proud to be an American. I hope someday he takes the top spot in late night TV, he's better than all the rest.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Jane
  • Mesa, AZ, USA
  • 11-05-09

Very Entertaining, touching, and funny!

I truly enjoyed this book. It is an "autobiography" for those of you disappointed that there isn't more humor. Yet Craig Ferguson's wit and charm do shine throughout the book. His is a true rags to riches story for what that's worth. I found it very interesting to hear about his experiences growing up in Scotland to fulfilling his dream of living in the U.S.

The only thing that would have made it better is some more insight on his personal life, but maybe that's just not him.

He's one talented and lucky guy!!!

Note: He is not at all preachy.

This could be a great historical immigrant autobiography detailing life in our times for future generations. He is about my age and I could completely visualize the drugging of the 70's and 80's as it was so similar to my own experience.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Scott
  • 02-06-10

A very surprising book

I was not sure what to expect from this book since I had not seen Craig on UK TV for a while. I thought this book was very funny and honest, definitely the best book I've listened to so far.

It was great to hear all his stories in and around Glasgow close to where I was born and live. I think this made the book even more enjoyable.

Craig is probably the only person who should read this book and does a great job at doing so.

I would highly recommend this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben
  • 05-08-10

an excellent story

A great story with many of life's lessons proven and dis-proven. A view of a parallel life in time and ultimate triumph and success over personal adversity.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • alexander
  • 01-30-14

Too many americanisms

Any additional comments?

I chose this based on the reviews having not really seen Craig since he left the Scottish /British comedy scene many years ago. I thought it may be an enjoyable story about how he progressed towards presenting a popular chat show in America.

I have listened to around 3-4 biogs a week for the last while and this was the first that i found extremely dull and could have switched off easily.

POSITIVES: Craigs voice is well suited to audio books, his turn of phrase and comic timing work well reading his own story, i did laugh a few times.

He clearly has and is working hard on his alcoholism which is a big part of his story, he clearly advocates the common system for abstention and this shines through.

NEGATIVES: The need to explain things to the american listeners in terms they understand is frustrating, ie bucks, recess. Just decide who your audience is and we can work it out, I never read an americans biog where they feel the need to explain how much 50 dollars is in pounds for example. Its highly annoying.

His story is pretty unintresting im sad to say, this guy is largely an unsuccessful drummer, comedian, actor and really has a bit of fortune in landing a job as a talk show host. After listening to him trundle through his comic career philandering and blowing cash on drink and drugs its hard to take him serious when we are told how hard a worker he is when he walks out on his first major tv role because the writers arent taking his input.

Ultimately i felt this guy hadnt told the whole story, he gave up drink, dont know about the drugs, touched on smoking! I was left feeling i didnt really know much about him and to be honest im pretty happy with that!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jon Anthony
  • 10-11-17

Very much worth reading

What an amazing life so far. A true story teller. Loved it. I recommend thisbook.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-21-17

Absolutely fantastic.

If you are Scottish, American, a fan of Craig or just a fan of life, this story of failure and redemption comes from a man who pulls no punches.

It's fantastic and I love it.
Give it a go, but remember, the ducks spoken of only come out at night. You've been warned. 😉

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  • Tory
  • 12-26-16

Scotland the brave...

Love this audiobook...a biography with the full character and professional arc of someone who keeps pushing themselves....what are you going to do next CF?

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  • Blake O'Neil
  • 07-23-16


Definitely my favourite book! I would 100% recommend it to anyone. With Craig Ferguson reading the book himself makes it a lot more enjoyable. Description throughout the book is very accurate. Definitely worth the purchase.

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  • Pei-Lun
  • 04-07-13

honest, moving, and funny

I tried a few audiobooks and this one is without doubt my favourite. When one of Craig's former bandmates went on Craig's show and mentioned the book, he said that Craig's honesty about his own life was incredibly touching and brave. That's exactly it. His narration simply makes the story more personal and genuine. There's a reason why this book is nominated for a Grammy. Highly recommend it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-24-17

American on Purpose and Proud

Craig perfectly explains in great detail, his upbringing, trials, tribulations and determination to make it in America. This is an incredibly heartfelt and humorous memoir. It pulls at your heartstrings and can make you laugh in hysterics all in one sentence. Craig is a great manipulator of the English language, part of why I've been a fan for seven years. I highly recommend American On Purpose.