Jonathan Alter Revealed
About Jonathan Alter
What is your birthdate?:10/6
Previous occupations:My current and previous occupation: journalist.
Favorite job:writer and editor at The Washington Monthly
High school and/or college:Francis W. Parker, Phillips Academy, Andover; Harvard College
Name of your favorite composer or music artist?:Paul McCartney
Favorite movie:The Killing Fields
Favorite television show:The Colbert Report
- Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
- A. My goals: Work Hard. Be Nice. Keep perspective.
- Q. What is your motto or maxim?
- A. I don't like mottos but believe in staying skeptical yet idealistic.
- Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
- A. A day on vacation with my wife and our three kids.
- Q. What’s your greatest fear?
- A. Dying of cancer (I'm a cancer survivor)
- Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
- A. Skiing on a beautiful day with good snow.
- Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
- A. Franklin Roosevelt
- Q. Which living person do you most admire?
- A. Nelson Mandela
- Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
- A. "But" and "hey"
- Q. What do you regret most?
- A. Intentional or unintentional unkindness
- Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
- A. Photographic memory for names and faces.
- Q. What is your greatest achievement?
- A. My kids.
- Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
- A. Hubristic unthoughtfulness
- Q. What’s your best quality?
- A. Friendliness and seriousness of purpose
- Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
- A. Barack Obama
- Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
- A. My intense interest in politics and history.
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
- A. Atticus Finch
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
- A. Tony Soprano
- Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
- A. I'd ask Abraham Lincoln about his childhood, which is not well understood.
- Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
- A. Lousy customer service.
- Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
- A. Watching funny movies.
- Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
- A. President of the United States
- Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
- A. Sense of humor, decency, insight
- Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
- A. artichoke
- Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
- A. "Yesterday," "Good Golly, Miss Molly," "You're So Vain," "Sweet Baby James," "Imagine"
On Books and Writing
- Q. Who are your favorite authors?
- A. Just a few of them: Robert Caro, Taylor Branch, David Halberstam, David Donald, Geoffrey Ward, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Philip Roth, John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut, John Fowles.
- Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
- A. I like parts of different books but don't have a top five.
- Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
- A. No. There are too many new ones I haven't read.
- Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
- A. Write like you're writing a letter to your aunt.
- Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
- A. Your book is so readable!