What's the first thing you ask, when meeting new people?
Although completly useless, I want to know their name - only to forget it 30 minutes later:
- I'm sorry but I've got altzheimers light, what was your name again?
I'm not the slightest interested in peoples occupation/work. It doesn't say anything about a person. Just look at the people you're working with. Are you just like them?
My first question usually is
(if I'm at a private party)
- So, who do you know here?
(if there's someone I don't know)
- Who's up for some breakfast!?
[That was me attempting to joke]
- So what book are you reading at the moment?
Let me illustrate with a story from real life
Me: So, what do you do? No! Let me re-phrase, I'm not the slightest interested in what you do. What book are you reading?
He: Nothing, I don't read books.
Me: Oh... [silence]
Me: So where do you work?
Needless to say we didn't have many common grounds. But due to the book question we found out early on. And I'm greatful. Otherwise I might still be there listening to some endless chant about his work.
Peoples reading habits and what they read tells a whole lot about what kind of person you're dealing with.
Just think about when you visit peoples homes and look at their books, or lack thereof. What subjects, culture and people are the books about?
There's also always some history behind why a person keeps a book. Perhaps it's a lawbook since the person went to law-school. Or a book about Feng Shui which was a present to the owner from his/her aunt.
If you never ask, how will you ever learn if people have aunts or not?