Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Andrew Potter

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The Proust Questionnaire, with Andrew Potter

Andrew Potter tells us about the qualities he admires in others, his current state of mind, his greatest extravagance and more. On Tuesday, April 13th, head to the Gladstone Hotel for the launch for his latest book, The Authenticity Hoax: How We Get Lost Finding Ourselves (McClelland & Stewart).

The Proust Questionnaire was not invented by Marcel Proust, but it was a much loved game by the French author and many of his contemporaries. The idea behind the questionnaire is that the answers are supposed to reveal the respondent's "true" personality.

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What is your dream of happiness?
Happiness is overrated.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Poor digestion.

Where would you like to live?
New York City, Brooklyn.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
Decisiveness.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
Humour.

What is your chief characteristic?
Bald.

What is your principal fault?
Indecisive.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Women.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?
Dishonesty.

What do you value most about your friends?
They are interesting.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?
When they don’t like me.

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?
Insecurity.

What is your favourite virtue?
Tessa.

What is your favourite occupation?
Special Forces.

What would you like to be?
In charge.

What is your favourite colour?
Red.

What is your favourite bird?
Hawks.

What historical figure do you admire the most?
Alexander Mackenzie, explorer.

What character in history do you most dislike?
That’s a dumb question.

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Joe Heath, Mark Kingwell, Martin Amis.

Who are your favourite poets?
Chris Chambers, Brad Buchanan, Larkin.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
Don Quixote.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My sister, my friend Andy.

Who is your favourite painter?
Egon Schiele.

Who is your favourite musician?
Wayne Coyne, Martin Tielli, my friend Paul.

What is your favourite food?
Ham and cheese sandwiches.

What is your favourite drink?
Martini.

What are your favourite names?
Claire, Grace, Canada, Sakic.

What is it you most dislike?
Vague, open-ended questioning.

What natural talent gift would you most like to possess?
Leadership.

How do you want to die?
I don’t want to die.

What is your current state of mind?
Disquiet.

What is your motto?
Plutot la barberie que l’ennuie.


Andrew Potter is the coauthor of the international bestseller The Rebel Sell. A journalist and writer, he holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto, and he is a former assistant professor at Trent University in Peterborough. He has also taught at the University of Toronto and the University of Quebec at Montreal. He is currently a public affairs columnist with Maclean’s and an editor with Canadian Business magazine.

For more information about The Authenticity Hoax please visit the McClelland & Stewart website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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Check back for more Proust Questionnaires with Canada's literati in this latest series of interviews on Open Book.

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