I don't remember where the idea for this game came from. And, actually, it's more of an intellectual exercise
or a discussion-provoker than a real game. It is not a competition and there are no wrong answers.
Nonetheless, it's a fun exercise to share with family and friends.
The idea is fairly simple -- to assemble a list of names. Imagine that you could invite anybody you
wanted to a gathering -- a dinner, a cocktail party, or whatever. These guests can be anyone -- famous people,
living or dead, from any place or time in history. You just put together a list of the people that you would
most enjoy talking to, or would enjoy hearing talk to each other.
I remember watching a video during a college course on Criminal Law. The video was of a gathering of famous
individuals, including judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, police chiefs, reporters, and others, who were being
led by a moderator in a discussion about various legal issues. I loved the debate and the wide range of ideas
by so many intelligent minds. And, I always thought it would have been fun -- and challenging -- to be the
moderator. In a way, that is how I view the scenario described in this game: I am the moderator and I can direct
the conversation and debate among all of these interesting party guests that I have chosen. Of course, I would
also enjoy talking to them individually as well.
For some people, coming up with a list of guests is difficult. One option is to limit each person's list to a
certain number -- 5 or 10 seem to be easy to work with. Of course, you can just go crazy and invite as many guests
as you want. Another option is to limit the guests to one particular category of people. Examples of this
might include, Actors, Military Leaders, U.S. Presidents, Athletes, etc. I've actually found that playing this way
first -- that is, choosing people in specific categories -- can help you develop your overall list.
I have "played this game" with several people, often while traveling, and I always find it interesting to hear the
variety of guests that they choose. I also enjoy the discussions that this can lead to. These discussions
often start with questions such as:
"What do you think Orville and Wilbur Wright would say to Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride?"
"Imagine hearing a discussion about tactics by Andrew Jackson, George Patton and Norman Schwarzkopf?"
"What advice would William Shakespeare give to a modern romance novelist like Nicholas Sparks?"
"Can you imagine the conversations about architecture between Leonardo DaVinci, Thomas Jefferson and Frank Lloyd Wright?"
"Wouldn't it be interesting to hear Lance Armstrong, Bruce Lee, Jesse Owens and Mickey Mantle discuss their
training philosophies and their views on the role of sports in society?"
So, with that in mind, below are a few of my lists that have come up in conversations with friends.
The final list is my "Ultimate Guest List" of 50 people that I think it would be most interesting to have at
one large group discussion (moderated by Yours Truly, of course). Just imagine the discussions you would hear...
Some of my guest lists:
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