Born in Los Angeles in 1980, Jason Segel was a fixture of Judd Apatow’s legendary comedy run after being cast in cult-favorite Freaks and Geeks in 1999. In the decades since – having starred in nine seasons of the hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother, successfully rebooted The Muppets, and received rave reviews for his role as David Foster Wallace in The End of the Tour – he’s become one of Hollywood’s favorite funny men.

Segel currently helms the hit Apple TV+ dramedy Shrinking, where he plays a self-deprecating therapist deep in the grief of losing his wife. Beyond acting, he’s penned a string of sci-fi books for young adults with co-author Kirsten Miller, beginning with 2014’s horror-comedy Nightmares! Their second trilogy, Last Reality, delves into the dark side of technological progress, a theme Segel explores further in the 2020 AMC anthology series Dispatches from Elsewhere.

In a reading list for The Week, the actor, comedian, and screenwriter named 6 books that have most impacted his life and craft. From Winnie-the-Pooh to Siddhartha, check out his recommendations below, and complement with the bookshelves of other famous actors and comedians.

Jason Segel’s Reading List

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (also rec’d by AOC, John Green & Mark Duplass)

“I feel that Infinite Jest did a real service to humanity in an age where you’re told to sit and accept television and advertising. Wallace makes you work for satisfaction. As you trudge through the difficult sections and progress through the book, you feel a real sense of accomplishment. It changed my life and my relationship to reading.” -JS

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

“Dahl’s books provide wish fulfillment: You discover that you’ve been chosen for something more than your mundane life. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory caught me at an age when I felt like magic existed, and I could find a golden ticket.” -JS

The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle

“The story unfolds in a mental institution that may be haunted by the devil — or at least its patients think so. An entertaining read that also raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of institutions of all kinds.” -JS

Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne (also rec’d by Hayao Miyazaki, Jimi Hendrix & Kim Gordon)

“I reread Winnie-the-Pooh while I was writing the script for The Muppets to put myself in a childlike head space. Near the end, I would allow myself only one page a day, because I did not want to leave that world.” -JS

Dear Girls Above Me by Charlie McDowell

“This book began as a Twitter feed about the two girls the author could hear in the apartment above him. It’s a hilarious and really honest look at living in the social media generation. McDowell has a unique voice and is an amazing writer.” -JS

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (also rec’d by Bruce LeeHugh JackmanLeonard Cohen & Wim Hof)

“I read Siddhartha in high school, and I carry a copy with me whenever I travel. I responded to the twists and turns of the Buddha’s journey, of trying out a million different ways to live, and the very human story of an enlightened figure.” -JS

(via The Week; photo by Willy Sanjuan)

Looking for an Amazon alternative? Support local, independent booksellers by shopping Jason Segel’s reading list – and hundreds of other celebrity book recommendations – through Radical Reads’ Bookshop page.

Categories: Actors Comedians

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