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How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question – Book Review

Immanuel Kant and Jean-Paul Sartre are two well-known philosophers who may have significantly changed the way we talk about morality is. But they are not well-known for having concise or approachable writing styles.

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It’s difficult to compile a summary of their enormously significant. But arguably rather dull writings that is also a quick, pleasurable read. With his debut book “How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question,” writer. And producer Michael Schur defies the odds and creates a beginner’s guide to moral philosophy is amusing, current, and instructive in equal measure.

About The Author: 

Schur is well-known for his work on popular sitcoms like “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation.” When Schur decided to develop the hugely popular “The Good Place.” He did a ton of research in this area of philosophy. With assistance from Professor Todd May, a recognized authority in moral philosophy. Schur decided to put his growing knowledge into what is effectively an “Ethics For Dummies” manual. 

How To Be Perfect Review:

Without the comic contributions of Ted Danson and Kristen Bell or the compelling adventure plot of “The Good Place.” “How to Be Perfect” could have easily come off as a required textbook reading. Instead, what amounts to a tongue-in-cheek examination of the major schools of ethical philosophy dating back to Aristotle is set forward by the book’s humorous, blatantly exaggerated title. Schur injects sardonic footnotes and wonderfully ridiculous thought experiments into the usually boring subject matter to create infinite entertainment.

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How to Be Perfect Book Review

Wide Range Of Readers

The book’s highly informal writing style makes it accessible to a wide range of readers. And Schur avoids seeming overly preachy thanks to the book’s self-deprecating, clearly unserious tone. Schur manages to come across as completely down to earth despite talking about lofty concepts like universal maxims and the meaning of happiness. He never uses his superior grasp of ethics as justification for his moral superiority.

Although many of the philosophical concepts covered have been around for hundreds of years. Schur demonstrates why these same inquiries into morality are still necessary today. Even if they could use a few jokes and examples from today to liven them up. Schur demonstrates that a book like “Nicomachean Ethics,” written in 340 BCE, can still offer enlightening guidance. Regardless of the current issues of public safety and sacrifice posed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, scrutiny over the moral obligations of billionaires to donate to charitable causes rather than space joy rides. Or the struggle to separate the art from the artists when once-loved celebrities are revealed for heinous behavior.

Even so, Schur engages in some self-theorizing by creating the useful new phrase “moral exhaustion.” It alludes to the annoying modern phenomenon where, largely as a result of the explosion of information online, every single move one performs appears immediately connected to some terrible ethical concern that will invite criticism from others.

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Schur wonders, “How do we escape the regret that comes from knowing about our unintentionally terrible decisions in the Internet age where so much knowledge is simply a Google search away?” The book contains enough humor for readers who like Schur’s lighthearted writing style.

However, Schur does not truly deliver, which ironically is the whole idea of “How to Be Perfect.” If he offers any specific advice, it’s just this: Don’t let the ambiguity of ethics prevent you from acting.