Pop Culture

What Would Your Bookish Points Total Be On THE GOOD PLACE?

Danika Ellis

Associate Editor

Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis

I know, I know: I’m a little late to writing this. The Good Place was an NBC comedy that ran from 2016 to January 2020. (This post doesn’t contain any spoilers—but if you haven’t watched it yet, you really should!) It is a surprisingly philosophical show, mainly concerned about how to live a good life and the question “What do we owe to each other?” It teaches about philosophical debates and famous philosophers. It asks difficult questions about morality and justice, right and wrong, and whether people can truly change or improve. But it’s also genuinely funny, with fantastic acting and compelling character arcs—especially for a main character who, on paper, seems impossible to root for when we first meet her.

This isn’t a post about the merits of The Good Place, though. It’s about the cold hard numbers: how good of a bookish person are you? Would you go to The Good Place or The Bad Place based purely on your readerly decisions? In The Good Place, everyone’s actions on earth are assigned a point value. Remembered your sister’s birthday: +15.02. Used the term “bro-code”: -8.20. Poisoned a river: -4015.55. Installed solar panels (house, arid environment): +1994.49. You can check out more of the examples of the point system at this Medium article.

Of course, the idea of assigned point values to actions got me thinking: what are the bookish equivalents? How would our reading habits and bookish actions be judged by the impartial The Good Place calculations? A lot of different Rioters gave their suggestions, and here are our best guesses for the point values of being a bookish person. How do you stack up? Pull out your calculator, and check the end of the post to see where you’d end up!

Book Custodianship

  • Dogeared a page: -0.4
  • Dropped a book in a puddle: -1.7
  • Dropped a book in the bath: -3
  • Dropped a book in the toilet: -4.3
  • Cracked a book’s spine: -.4
  • Cracked a borrowed book’s spine: -7.6
  • Made notes in and/or highlighted a borrowed book: -25
  • Used a book to squash a spider: -8
  • Mended a book that would have otherwise been recycled: +12.4
  • Made art out of a book that would have otherwise been recycled: +9.4
  • Used a book as a coaster and left a ring on the front cover: -2.2
  • Preserved important cultural texts for future generations, keeping them in temperature- and humidity-controlled conditions: +229


  • Returned a library book on time: +4
  • Returned a library book a week late, with holds: -9
  • “Lost” a library book, but secretly just liked it so much you kept it: -17.6
  • Returned a library book with Cheeto fingerprints on the pages: -16.3
  • Stole books from a library (but only to save them from an encroaching war): +5998.3
  • Burned down the Library of Alexandria: -8766.9
  • Requested a new release from your local library instead of downloading it: +18.1
  • Started a Little Free Library: +21
  • Started a Little Free Library in a book desert, and consistently kept it well-stocked: +279.7
  • Filled a Little Free Library with phone books, technical manuals, outdated textbooks, and other unreadable materials: -26
  • Filled a Little Free Library with coveted galleys/ARCs: +10
  • Became a librarian: +186


  • Preordered a book: +5
  • Donated a book: +6
  • “Donated” an outdated computer manual: -3
  • Went to an indie bookstore and told the bookseller “but it’s cheaper on Amazon”: -54
  • Adopted a stray cat as the mascot of your bookstore: +172.7
  • Found a “reluctant reader” a book they were excited about: +47
  • Located that book that was on the radio last week and has an orange cover: +7
  • Handsold diverse books: +80
  • Tidied up the bookshelves while browsing as a customer: +7.2
  • “Organized” the bookshelves as a customer, completely destroying the store’s system:-12.1


  • Taught a child to read: +103.7
  • Read the same book over and over to a child upon request: +12.4
  • Started your own literacy charity for disadvantaged kids: +5833
  • Volunteered with an audiobook-creating nonprofit to make reading more accessible: +148
  • Wrote an essay on a book when you only read the SparkNotes: -4.7
  • Hid a cellphone behind your book in silent reading: -7.3
  • Stocked a classroom with well-loved books: +138
  • Funded a classroom on DonorsChoose: +241
  • Assigned a classic so dry that it turned kids away from reading: -129

Bookish Citizenship

  • Loaned a book to a friend: +12.2
  • Didn’t say anything when your loaned book came back slightly damaged: +34.6
  • Read only white authors: -147.3
  • Defended reading only white authors by saying, “I just read good books”: -212.1
  • Insulted the entire romance genre to a romance reader: -47.8
  • Insulted the entire romance genre to a romance writer: -87.8
  • Said comics aren’t “real books”: -15
  • Recounted in great detail the entire plot of the book you’re reading to someone who is clearly not interested: -2.3
  • Purposely spoiled the ending of a book: -31.8

Literary Criticism

  • Left a one-star review of a book you’ve never read: -27
  • Claimed to have read the book when you’ve really only watched the movie -2.3
  • Wrote a scathing review insulting the author of a book just because you don’t like the genre: -87.5
  • Used your status as a popular author to dehumanize an entire group of people: -1765
  • Wrote well-loved fan fiction: +46.8
  • Left an insulting comment on someone’s fan fiction: -27
  • Tweeted at an author demanding they finish the sequel already: -34.2
  • Sent an email to an author saying how much you loved their book: +23.3

What Your Points Total Means

4,918.9 to 13,685.8 Points

Wow! You’re a really good person. I mean, you are truly one of the best people who has ever lived. You are definitely getting into The Good Place. You’ll have access to every book that’s ever been written, and endless time to read them. There will be your choice of cozy book nooks, or you can read outside in the sunshine with a gentle breeze (and no bugs). You can build your dream library, complete with sliding ladders! Congratulations. You deserve it.

0.1 to 4,918.8 Points

You’re probably an okay person…Unfortunately, The Good Place is pretty exclusive. Only the best of the best get through. Which means…you’re going to be going to The Bad Place, too. Which likely means a lot of paper cuts and lemon juice. Good luck!

-11,555 to 0 Points

Sorry to be the bringer of bad news, but you are definitely going to The Bad Place. You’ll only be able to read political books you disagree with and instruction manuals. When you do get to read a novel, the last few pages will be ripped out. Every chair will be incredibly uncomfortable. And that’s on top of the regular torture: the bear with two mouths, butthole spiders, bees with teeth, etc. At least you’ll be in company, though: maybe you can bump into Shakespeare while he’s being tortured by having the plot of Entourage described to him!

Can’t get enough The Good Place? Check out: