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 (opens in new tab) and David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest (opens in new tab) (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? 

As Marie Claire’s Entertainment Director, Neha oversees and executes strategy for all editorial talent bookings and culture coverage across the brand's print and digital entities, including covers, celebrity profiles and features, social takeovers, and video franchises as well as handles talent relations for our flagship summit, Power Trip. She's passionate about elevating diverse voices and stories, loves a hot-take, and hates TV reboots. Her bylines have appeared on Glamour, Vanity Fair, GQ, Allure, Teen Vogue, Brides, and Architectural Digest, and she is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.