Michael Schur Shares His Favorite Reads in 'Shelf Portrait'

The 'The Good Place' creator shares which book inspired one of his most iconic TV characters.

Michael Schur might best be known as the brilliant comedic mind behind beloved shows like Parks & Rec, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and The Good Place, but he's also a voracious reader.

In honor of his own new book, How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question, available now, the television producer gave us a peek at his stacked bookshelves in Marie Claire's "Shelf Portrait." Schur considers Toni Morrison's Beloved and David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest (of which he owns several copies, including one that's autographed personally for him) among his most recommended reads. 

But while you could snag those titles at most bookstores, his first-edition finds of philosophy books like The Subjection of Women (published in 1869) and The Mayor of Casterbridge (published in 1886) are proof Schur is a bonafide book collector. (Fun fact: the latter of the two books was the inspiration behind Ben Wyatt, the Parks and Recreation character played by Adam Scott.)

Watch Schur's bookshelf tour and then order his book, which he explains is a practical—but still funny!—guide to "using philosophy and ethics to be a better person." Not to mention, Schur is donating 100 percent of proceeds from book sales to charity—what else would you expect from TV's leading authority on morality? 

Entertainment Director

Neha Prakash is Marie Claire's Entertainment Director, where she edits, writes, and ideates culture and current event features with a focus on elevating diverse voices and stories in film and television. She steers and books the brand's print and digital covers as well as oversees the talent and production on MC's video franchises like "How Well Do You Know Your Co-Star?" and flagship events, including the Power Play summit. Since joining the team in early 2020, she's produced entertainment packages about buzzy television shows and films, helped oversee culture SEO content, commissioned op-eds from notable writers, and penned widely-shared celebrity profiles and interviews. She also assists with social coverage around major red carpet events, having conducted celebrity interviews at the Met Gala, Oscars, and Golden Globes. Prior to Marie Claire, she held editor roles at Brides, Glamour, Mashable, and Condé Nast, where she launched the Social News Desk. Her pop culture, breaking news, and fashion coverage has appeared on Vanity Fair, GQ, Allure, Teen Vogue, and Architectural Digest. She earned a masters degree from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2012 and a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Pennsylvania State University in 2010. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and dog, Ghost; she loves matcha lattes, Bollywood movies, and has many hot takes about TV reboots. Follow her on Instagram @nehapk.