• The Bassoon King

  • My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy
  • By: Rainn Wilson
  • Narrated by: Rainn Wilson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 10-11-15
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.4 (80 ratings)


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.
©2015 Rainn Wilson (P)2015 Penguin Audio
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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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Dekks on 04-07-18

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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4 out of 5 stars
By L on 02-05-18

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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Johanna on 13-11-15

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?

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17 of 17 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Kindle Customer on 22-01-16


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.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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