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Michael Schur Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

How to Be Perfect (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of the Office(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Michael Schur is an American actor, television producer, director, and writer. The author was born in Ann Arbor Michigan in 1975 but spent much of his childhood in Connecticut.

Born to a prosperous Jewish family, he attributes much of his success to a series of fortunate events. The first of these was when he stayed behind sick watching “Sleeper” with no one else at home.

He would then major in English at Harvard and then joined a comedy magazine named Lampoon which was a critical pipeline for people looking to become writers for TV. With his connections, he was soon hired on Saturday Night Live as a writer.

Soon enough “The Office” noticed his talents and he joined the writing team for the third season, during which he also got an overall deal working for NBCUniversal.

At the latter, he would become the creator of the wholesome comedies “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Parks and Recreation.” When he was granted free rein to do as he wished, he came up with “The Good Place.”
But while the higher-ups approved the idea, he had a severe deficiency in moral philosophy.

As such, he studied ethics by reading the works of greats such as Rawls, Aristotle, Bentham, mill, and Kant in addition to reading every academic paper he could find online.

The 46-year-old Michael Schur has said that growing up he was never one to have an obsession with moral dilemmas. When he went to Harvard and majored in English he fell into a class on Greek philosophy and was hooked.

He would soon after take another course on moral reasoning since he wanted to take some practical and fun courses before leaving college. Upon graduating from college, his passion for philosophy cooled somewhat and it was not until he was 40 that he picked it up again.

At this time he was writing “The Good Place” and decided to dive deeply into ethics and philosophy. He created the show with four characters who have to go to Heaven following life on Earth.

Since they had not lived exemplary lives, they will need to earn their place in Heaven. This means that they will have to become good people and this is what sparked debates and discussions on morality and ethics.

The show would earn critical acclaim for some highly hilarious moments even as it explored heady topics. When it ultimately came to an end Michael was obsessed with ethics and philosophy.

The award-winning TV director and creator has now added the title author to his many achievements when he published “How to be Perfect” in 2022.

The work asks how one can live an ethical life based upon millennia of philosophical thought but with a humorous touch.

Michael Schur got the inspiration for the work when he was caught between the world of philosophy and TV comedy writing.

In 2005 his then fiance had rear-ended a brand new Saab in downtown traffic. Soon enough they were slapped with an $836 repair bill. But when he went to check on the damage he could find no discernible crease on the car.

Incensed by the owner of the car, he suggested that instead of repairing the bumper he would donate the money towards Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

Over a few weeks, he proceeded to blog about the story on his website and the moral outrage resulted in more than $20,000 in donations to the Red Cross.

But even though he was happy that he had managed to transform outrage into a good cause, he began to feel very guilty.

It was from this conundrum that he started thinking of the moral issues involved and this would become the inspiration for his debut novel How to Be Perfect.

In the meantime, Michael Schur was having a lot of success in his career. He was then co-creating “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Parks and Recreation,” and writing for “The Office.”

His obsession with ethics and TV writing combined in 2016 and this resulted in the creation of “The Good Place.”

Kristen Bell the lead character of the show is a woman that has spent most of her life acting immorally and selfishly who suddenly finds herself sent to Heaven. Since she does not want to be kicked out, she is trying hard to become a better person.

According to the author, this was an excellent way of navigating the ethical questions he had been thinking about for over a decade he had been studying moral philosophy.

Over the years, he had been trying to determine what separates the eternal damnation of a bad person from the admission to heaven of the good person.

As a writer, he wrote an entire episode on the runaway trolley dilemma, which is one of the most famous dilemmas in philosophy.

The episode of the show which aired in 202 was a hit as it was on TV at a time when there were many questions about social, political, and civil unrest.

“How to be Perfect” by Michael Schur is a beautiful work. It is a thought-provoking and hilarious guide to living a moral and ethical life that draws from more than two and a half millennia of philosophical thought.

The author asserts that it is not always easy to determine what is bad or good, particularly in a world full of bad advice, booby traps, pitfalls, and complicated choices.

The good thing is that many philosophers have been thinking about goodness and badness for thousands of years. Using their thinking, the work explains concepts such as ubuntu, deontology, existentialism, and utilitarianism.

Schur starts his treatise with simpler ethical questions such as Should one punch their friend in the face for no reason? He then works up to more complex philosophical questions such as Is it possible to enjoy exemplary art made by bad people?

By the time he is done, he has provided questions and answers to most conceivable situations. He asserts that if one were to follow his treatise one will gain fresh inspiring wisdom on how to deal with many tough challenges in life.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Michael Schur

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