5 Great Questions

5 Great Questions

This is a podcast of great questions. Have you noticed that you don't get asked really interesting questions? What time will you be home? Is Lucy's sniffle serious? Did you know your father fell again? Can you resend me that meme? These questions are necessary, but they're not interesting. * * * Let me set the scene: The dinner party is winding down, the FOMO crowd is off to the next social occasion, and the remaining folks number less than ten. Maybe five or six. I pick out a person who looks tired of the small talk and I say, "Let me ask you a question." "Sure" - they answer, with half of the crowd already leaning in - sensing something may be coming. "If you could clone yourself, what would the other you be doing?" Now everybody is paying attention. That was my first great question. It still usually gets the record to scratch and the small talk to cease. If you can picture an old western when the right guy walks into the wrong saloon at the perfect moment - that's what happens. Only in a good way. After the first answer we go around the circle and let everyone answer. Someone almost always has a realllly good answer. And guess what? Now they're in. They're not just wanting another great question, their minds are begging. Their hearts are open, their phones are off, and their egos are low. I can see it in their body language. Great questions do that. They can make your brain feel like it's exercising a new muscle, or at least a part that hasn't been tapped in a long, long time. People ate up my good questions. In fact, they loved them. And I loved hearing the answers. * * * I started a book a few years ago, collecting some of the best answers, but I put it down and never finished. I realized recently that the joy of people's answers was in hearing them, so here we are. Each week I'll ask my guest a great question, maybe two, and you'll hear their answer. Some may be short, some long, but they'll be honest. They'll be real. Real Topeka real. As you're listening you may have a good answer yourself and want to be on the show. If that happens you can send a summary of your answer to alden5@spreaker.com For now, let's get started.


February 20, 2024 31 mins
Episode 3
Alden Olmsted
Sari Lamela

Welcome to The 5 Great Questions podcast, where I ask people interesting questions, and you get to hear their answers.

My guest on episode three is longtime friend Sari Lamela, a powerhouse entreprenuer and promoter who left Hollywood to become a happily married woman in Northern Virginia.

In episode three Sari answers the question:
"Tell me about a loss you've grieved, other than a death."

A tough bu...
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Episode 2
Alden Olmsted
Christopher Sell

Welcome to The 5 Great Questions podcast, where I ask people interesting questions, and you get to hear their answers.

My guest on episode two is longtime friend and former lost teenage soul Christopher Sell. Chris is a middle school teacher in middle California and is a multi-talented storyteller specializing in thoughtful acoustic songs and the occasional screenplay. Chris is happily married w...
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Episode 1
Alden Olmsted
Donald J. Johnson

Welcome to The 5 Great Questions podcast, where I ask people interesting questions, and you get to hear their answers.

My first guest on my first episode is longtime friend and film collaborator Donald J. Johnson. Don is an author and filmmaker and devoted family road tripper, and has a great answer to the question "How did you meet your spouse without a cell phone."

I introduce the podcast and...
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