Michael Herbert Schur was born in 1976 and is an American writer, character actor, and famous television producer. His most hit productions and creations include The Office – a comedy series – and Parks and Recreation, co-created with another office producer, Greg Daniels. The Good Place was the co-created comedy series with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Master of none, and Rutherford Falls.
How to be Perfect
In recent years, Michael Schur wrote: “How to be the perfect: The correct answer to every Moral question.” This book is the crash course in Moral philosophy for those who have not read previous Philosophical books like Wittgenstein.
This book provides the summary and gist of previous philosophical schools in the western world over the last 2400 years. The central philosophical concepts highlighted in the text are Aristotelian virtue ethics, utilitarianism or consequentialism, and Immanuel Kant’s deontology. Deontology means the study of the nature of duty and obligation. Michael Schur has included more theories like existentialism and Ubuntu to support his concepts in the book.
Michael Schur not only mentions the bright and dull side of these theories but also the positive and negative aspects of the philosophers and their struggles behind devising them. In his book, he tried to provide answers to ethical questions younger people face in today’s world. He suggested to his readers to ask four questions themselves whenever they face any moral dilemmas and the questions are, what are we doing? Why are we doing it? Is there something we could do that is better? And why is it better?
He advised his readers to ponder over these questions because they should make sure that whatever they are doing must be good in all ways. He wrote this book as he identified that the world is filled with complex choices, pitfalls, and booby traps because it is hard for most people to decide what is good and wrong. He believes that in history, many philosophers worked on several ethical dilemmas similar to what people face today. Hence, he included several philosophies and philosophers with the essence of his humor and fun to guide his readers on how they can make ethically correct decisions.
All the chapters in the book start with some ethical questions. The first chapter begins with the simple question,” Should I punch my friend in the face for no reason?” then it moves toward more complicated questions such as, How much money should I give to charity? Why bother being good when there are no consequences for being wrong? Can I still enjoy art when terrible people created it? The book has much to offer to help people with moral and ethical dilemmas.
How to be perfect? It is not so perfect!
While the book is called to be funny, fresh, and inspiring wisdom on most of the most challenging issues in today’s world, it received many criticisms also. Firstly, Michael Schur’s writing raised the questions of many religious scholars as Michael Schur, at the beginning of the book, claims to include any spiritual elements. Still, scholars question how he can avoid the religious beliefs of the mentioned philosophers, which must have influenced the philosopher’s theories. Also, according to many religious scholars, every religion provides a perfect code of conduct, so there is no need for humanly derived philosophies.
Secondly, As per the experts of the school of thought which are mentioned in the book, Michael failed to prove them with given examples and theories ideally; for example, socialists envision a world of genuine human unity, but according to Schur’s explanations, such human agreement does not exist.
Third, and the greatest failure of this book is it does not provide an absolute yes or no, or any other perfect action to the readers, it guides readers to make decisions according to the situations, and it lacks any serious consideration of how the world might or ought to be other than it is.
Despite many criticisms, it is doing well in the international market. It is recommended to watch “The Good Place” before reading as it will make more sense.