If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?

  | James Innes

If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?

Alternative and related questions:

If you could meet any personality, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Who do you most admire and why?

The meaning behind the question:

This question is not quite as nutty as it might sound.  If the interviewer can identify what sort of person you admire, it will tell them a lot about your own values.

Your answer:

First and foremost, you should obviously select someone who well deserves to be respected and admired and, ideally, choose someone who has certain characteristics in common with you or with the person you'd like to become – characteristics which you can talk about.  Choose someone who has some relevance to your current line of work.  I'd quite like to meet Ingrid Bergman but it's hard to see how that could be a relevant and useful choice!


Now that's a very interesting question!  Let me just think a second...  I reckon I would like to have been able to meet William Shakespeare.  I've always been fascinated by his work.  I'd like to know how much of his work he achieved by himself, how much of it was more of a team effort, how he worked with his various collaborators, how the plays evolved over time...  I know that almost all of his plays were based on earlier sources but I'd still like to know from where he drew his inspiration and how he managed to make them his own.  I'm also interested in the business side of things!  Whereas a number of his contemporaries might also have achieved critical success at the time, none of them seem to have been nearly as competent as Shakespeare at handling practical matters and business relationships.  He ended his life a rich man, rather than dying in poverty like some of his contemporaries.  He clearly had a broad diversity of different talents.  A very interesting person.

Word of warning:

It's best to steer clear of anyone who might be too controversial.  This means avoiding political and religious figures as well as anyone whose reputation might have been excessively sullied.

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