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Publisher's Summary

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 best-selling 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.

©2015 Rainn Wilson (P)2015 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Rainn Wilson narrates his own story with such perfection that the only disappointment is the fact that it ends. The memoir is smart, inspirational, and funny, so the addition of Wilson's performance adds delectable icing to a tasty cake." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Johanna
  • CHICAGO, IL, United States
  • 11-13-15

Exquisite narration!

Rainn Wilson is an awesome narrator. You will get the most out of this book by listening to him read it rather than reading it yourself.

I enjoyed Wilson's prose and storytelling. Likewise, he has a unique way of defining spirituality and happiness that is beautiful and understandable--not creepy or weird at all.

I did find a few parts of the book to be somewhat tedious, but overall it's very well written.

As a side note, this book has absolutely nothing to do with the bassoon besides a few funny quips. If you're also a bassoon player like me, let's face it, you're probably going to get this book for Christmas. Luckily, it's worth reading, although Wilson's unfortunate bassoon experience doesn't accurately reflect the joy that I encounter daily from my bassoon students. I suppose any publicity is good publicity, right?

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful

I admit to being a reader and not a TV watcher. I did not have a clue about Rainn Wilson. The reviews were good so I decided to give this book a listen. I am now a big fan of Mr Wilson. Wise, intelligent, spiritual, caring, interesting, very handsome ( I am sure) and of course sooooo very funny. I might even have to hunt down some of the Office series to see what I missed.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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A poignant, hilarious and sweet story!

Rainn Wilson gives us a well written and hilarious story of his childhood, moves on to his training as an actor, and finally his adulthood where he finds stardom on TV. You will get to hear about the office, but you also get to hear about him as a high school nerd and his belief in God. You can tell how he gives the character of Dwight (in "The Office") such depth, because he has the background in his life to understand how to play him. While parts of the character Dwight are completely ridiculous, you can see a very sad and real person underneath, which is part of what made him so funny. If you liked Dwight, you will love listening to the man brought him to life. Even if you didn't like the Office, there is a lot to like in this book!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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If you have an open heart and mind you will enjoy this book

I appreciate Rainn for sharing his life and faith. I learned that he is very intellectual, I am not sure why that surprised me, but I am grateful to have a better understanding of him and his religion. I can identify with some of the things that happened in his past but he never allowed his geeky awareness, bullying and hard times to stop him from achieving his dream. He was so lucky (and we are to) to have been told that he could be could be successful and always remember it with all the hard times he had. I didn't watch the Office, I guess because I worked in one all day I didn't want to watch it in my free time. After listening to this book, I think I will catch it on Netflix. I did love Backstrom and wish it was not canceled. Awesome insight into an incredible man and human being.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Read this book, idiot.

As an avid fan of NBC's Colt classic hit the office, and a casual dabbler and soul pancake, I was delighted and inspired by Wilson's book the Bassoon King. It will take the same single moment to at once inspire you, intrigue you and have you bursting out in unexpected laughter. TBK gave me a much deeper appreciation of Wilson's acting work, which made me love the characters he brought to life even more. Finally, I was profoundly touched by the fervent and refreshing spirituality in every section. Wilson finds a charming way to be both cosmically wise and wittingly down to earth. Highly recommend.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Yes, you'll love it.

Anyone who is: a fan of The Office, a nerd, an actor who has struggled with rejection, an artist who struggles with her faith, a lover of punk rock, a person who likes well written and honest biographies, a believer in love and God, or self conscious of his overly large head should absolutely read The Bassoon King by Rainn Wilson. (Actually, listen to it and hear his voice through his actual voice.) I loved every second of it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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wanted it to be better...

There were definitely parts that were what I expected (actually, I don't know what I expected) but other parts were just WAY too preachy. I appreciate the adherence to faith and the desire to extol its virtues and while I agree with the sentiment I just wanted it to be a little more about his relationships with people I would actually know and a little less artsy fartsy. But, it is a memoir so to each his own.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Excellent and funny

I have been a big Rainn fan since I started watching the office and more so with Soulpancake. This is an excellent memoir where he gives all of the ups and downs of his life while making them all laugh out loud funny (I got of odd looks while listening to this one.). He does speak of his time on The Office and the inspiration to Dwight near the end of the book but the story is about his development and finding himself. Biographies are my favorite stories and this one doesn't disappoint.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Interesting and Touching

I don't typically read biographies or autobiographies, but I've always felt that Rainn Wilson and I are kindred spirits, so I thought I would give this one a try. I'm glad I did. It is funny, heart-warming, insightful, and inspirational. I love that Rainn narrated the book himself, and he did an exceptional job. I learned a lot, and my belief that we are kindred spirits was confirmed!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Backstrom!!!

Any additional comments?

It makes so much sense that he played the main character in Backstrom. That was an amazing show and one of the two shows I watched in real time and occasionally re-watched. With that and the Office as credentials plus a bunch of cool strange movies it was great to hear that it was a struggle and a lot of work to get to where he is. Very inspirational!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Dekks
  • 07-04-18

Nice guy but a bit pretentious

I really wanted to like this as I have enjoyed Rainns work in several films and tv shows, but honestly I found the book a bit boring.

Maybe it’s just an actor thing, but I found him quite pretentious a lot of the time, maybe he’s right and it’s what makes a good actor but to me it came off as pretentious and a bit too ‘I’m an ARTIST who is CREATIVE don’t you know...’.

I also thought it got a bit too bogged down in spirituality, it’s obviously something that’s very important to him but started to get a bit preachy in places. You know those deep conversations you had with friends as a teenager when you were both drunk? And how in the sober light of day you think oh god what a load of b*llocks I was talking last night? He comes across as never having that realisation.

Overall disappointed because I do enjoy his work and he seems like a really nice guy, I just wouldn’t want to be stuck in a conversation with him.

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  • L
  • 05-02-18

Sweet & Honest

I'm not usually a celebrity biography kind of person, but I love the US Office, and I love Rainn Wilson. This is mostly about Wilson's formative years, rather than most of his career, though the latter is touched on. It made the book feel less gimmicky. Wilson actually had something to say about his life rather than the dreaded "I'M FAMOUS and let me tell you about the things I do when I'm being FAMOUS."

My favourite part was his childhood. He grew up in Nicaragua with his Ba'hai faith parents, owning a pet sloth amongst other wildlife. There wasn't much time spent on this, I suppose because it was when he was very young. But this had some of the more vivid imagery and great descriptions, as well as making me laugh out loud a few times (the sloth's escape ritual in particular). What an interesting childhood he had, by the sounds of it.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable autobiography. I do have some problems with it, though. Firstly, it was quite thin on the ground in a lot of places. Since it is so short, some of the information is shallow and I wished he'd spent more time going into more depth in places. Maybe he or his publishers were worried a 400 page book wouldn't sell?

Then, there was the rather blasé way he spoke about certain issues that were more delicate than he made out, as well his take on other religions. Also, the homogenous stereotyping of certain countries (the whole of Haiti "standing tall" against their poverty, "hilarious and quick to smile" (paraphrasing), this also came up around the Mosquito people, but is harder to remember details since it's right at the beginning of the book).

But it was sincere, well-narrated, and interesting.

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  • Jak Matin-Reyez
  • 03-30-18

Funny, ear opening and an honest take on life

I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. The story takes you through many wonderful places. Thanks, Rainn!

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  • mikes reviews
  • 03-28-17

Could have done without the faith stuff

If you're interested in actor biogs, this won't disappoint as there's plenty of stuff about his career and, in particular. 'The Office'. However, there are a couple of chapters you might want to skip where he talks about his faith. In brief, he can't imagine the Big Bang so there must be a god!

The final chapter tells you all about the Baha'i faith.

Some of the stuff written as Dwight misfires slightly but there isn't that much of it and he's an excellent reader.

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  • Courtney Smyth
  • 02-17-17

What a guy!

I enjoyed this book in audiobook format when I walked with the pram. I downloaded it because I LOVE the office and wanted to know more about Rainn's life. What a story he has to tell. This is an amazing book and the fact the audio book was read by the man himself made it all the more enjoyable. There is a lot of humour in the book but also a lot of thought provoking stories. 100% worth the 5 stars I've given it and I'd recommend it to anyone.

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  • Hayley
  • 02-17-17

Quirky, fun and an amazing listen!

Any additional comments?

Absolutely loved listening to this, even more so that its read by the man himself. There's something so intimate about listening to stories about someone's life story and Rainn's takes you through every kind of emotion possible.
What a life he has led so far, such fun stories and experiences which I am so grateful to have had the chance to listen to. It made me seek out some of the films or tv shows he mentions other than the office (which he is superb in - listening about his experiences on that show were amazing to hear, really interesting) for example Backstrom, I am half way through the series now and loving its intrigue laced dark humor.

Absolutely marvellous!

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  • jenny
  • 01-21-17

Amazing chap, quirky bio, sometimes heavy...

Any additional comments?

Some parts of this story were fascinating and thought provoking and funny. Other parts felt a bit slow and heavy. He covers a lot from his hippy upbringing, Dwight & the office, his wife & son, his career journey, his faith... he is a very intelligent and spiritual man and extremely likeable. I would recommend it if you are a fan of raiin. Just be prepared for a deeper journey than his comedic colleagues!

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  • P.Ch
  • 05-06-16

I'm only half way, but...

A must have for any Rainn fans! The best thing I've read all year. Can't get enough!

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  • Jocelyn Beales
  • 02-04-16

Honest, funny and thought provoking

Absolutely loved this book. I bought it just because I'm a huge fan of the office and since this finished filming I've been having withdrawal. But got so much more than I'd bargained for. With tales of a very colourful childhood, Rainn had me captivated and learning about his Baha'i faith and work promoting everyone's right to an education has made me see him in a whole new light. I cried through the story of the birth of his son, such a moving tale. This story is a real gem.

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  • Vid C
  • 11-29-15

Absolutely beautiful

Rainn Wilson is an extraordinary human being and his heart-wrenchingly honest memoir is as moving, thought-provoking, empathetic and challenging as it is hilarious, absurd and ridiculous. Thank you for the wonderful experience, Rainn.