Like many students of history, I took a philosophy course as an undergraduate student. As a freshman in college, I definitely didn't appreciate the idea of philosophy. Now, with my age and wisdom (laughs in millennial) I've grown to greatly appreciate the discussion of the great questions of life. I watched The Good Place with absolute glee and I picked up this book with certainty that I would enjoy the content. After all, I've pretty much devoured everything that Mike Schur has created.
Of course, I was not disappointed. This book reviews the basic philosophical discussions that were inherent to the Good Place, but with the luxury of the written word, Schur is able to go into much more depth. As he is not a philosopher, however, he places the ideas of philosophy (existentialism, utilitarianism, deontology, and ubuntu (among others) within the context of practical questions that humans face in their daily life. There are also jokes - he is a comedy writer after all.
The book had me brimming with possible questions for students and possible applications for my classes next year. I know that this book will be read more than once, and I'm so glad I added it to my shelf.
From the publisher, “Most people think of themselves as “good,” but it’s not always easy to determine what’s “good” or “bad”—especially in a world filled with complicated choices and pitfalls and booby traps and bad advice. Fortunately, many smart philosophers have been pondering this conundrum for millennia and they have guidance for us. With bright wit and deep insight, How to Be Perfect explains concepts like deontology, utilitarianism, existentialism, ubuntu, and more so we can sound cool at parties and become better people.
Schur starts off with easy ethical questions like “Should I punch my friend in the face for no reason?” (No.) and works his way up to the most complex moral issues we all face. Such as: Can I still enjoy great art if it was created by terrible people? How much money should I give to charity? Why bother being good at all when there are no consequences for being bad? And much more. By the time the book is done, we’ll know exactly how to act in every conceivable situation, so as to produce a verifiably maximal amount of moral good. We will be perfect, and all our friends will be jealous. OK, not quite. Instead, we’ll gain fresh, funny, inspiring wisdom on the toughest issues we face every day.”