The title says it all... Looking at the timeline of a typical game, one may easily conclude that there is not a very big window to settle Great People and see that option compare favorably against other options, for several reasons: 1) In the late game, settling is easily overshadowed by the power of corporations and golden ages. One Great Person can potentially equal the value of one corporation, or one golden age. At the same time, the future time available to a newly settled Great Person becomes smaller and smaller towards the late game. 2) In the mid game, once Philosophy becomes available, bulbing Great People for beakers leaps to the forefront in terms of value. It's very hard to top this. The only window I see for efficiently settling Great People is the early game. But even then, there are also other alternatives such as building an Academy, Scotland Yard, or religious shrine. How do these early game options compete with each other, pre-Philosophy?