No time to read?

Published 4:40 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Usually at the beginning of summer, there are many lists of books for reading.

Summertime is the time for rest and relaxation for many and, since reading is the way many relax, the lists are someone else’s suggestions for good books.

The vast majority of Americans, though, don’t seem to like reading all that much and there are also many who work hard, even in the summer, and don’t have the time for long books. Don’t worry; in my search to help others, I have compiled a list of books for summertime reading. The list includes only those books that can be read in less than a minute!

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For instance, there is the collaborative effort of the United States House of Representatives. All 435 members have come together and offered their individual assessments of the most recent Health Reform Bill. The bill is said to be transformational and the hottest topic in Washington, D.C. Since the bill itself is 1,000 pages long, this collaboration among our representatives is a must read.

Say you don’t have time?

You need to take the time for something so important and don’t worry about needing too much time. The name of the book is “Everything We Know about the Health Reform Bill.” It consists of a very colorful and artfully done cover and back. There are no pages in between. It’s a short book!

Another very short book that might be of interest to all of you who like to indulge the Washington scene is one I found fascinating and took hardly any time to read. It is titled “Government Programs That Really Worked.” Chapter by chapter you can read of all the involvement of the federal government and all the good that has come from that involvement. It, too, can be read in less than a minute.

National politics always make for an interesting read, and our president has proven to be a very talented and hard working man. His book, “The Audacity of Hope,” was a bestseller in 2006 and it’s hard to imagine him having much time to write another book, but he is a tireless gentleman. His newest book reviews his first six months in office and is also a very short read.

One might think that he would give a behind-the-scenes look at just what it means to be the president of the United States, but that really would have taken a lot of time. He has chosen, instead, to write a shorter book, one that is easily read during a morning or afternoon break. The title: “The Days That I Missed Being on Television.” Since he has not missed a day being on television, the book is very short.

Perhaps politics is not your cup of tea. Here is another suggestion. From the arena of business, there is the most recent book from Exxon/Mobil’s CEO. Rex Tillerson has been the guiding force behind the world’s largest money maker and tells the story of the giant company’s compassion for the American people. It’s a short book that can be read easily and is titled “Bend Over.”

Enough about this reading list, how about a joke?

There was a south Georgia farmer/rancher overseeing his herd in what he called his “back forty.” Out of nowhere comes a brand-new BMW driven by a fancy dude, who got out speaking to the farmer.

He was wearing a Hart Schaffner Marx suit and fancy Gucci shoes. RayBan sunglasses hid his eyes and the farmer could see a solid gold Tag Heuer watch on his perfectly tanned arm. Walking up to the farmer in a condescending way, the dude asked, “If I can tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?”

The farmer was very protective of his herd, but as he looked at the young man, obviously a yuppie, he calmly answered, “Sure, why not?”

The yuppie whipped out his Dell laptop computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the World Wide Web. He calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location, which he feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within seconds, he receives an e-mail on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with e-mail in his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

He prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the farmer and says, “You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves.”

“That’s right,” the farmer calmly says. “Well, you can take one of my calves.”

He watches the young dude select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his shiny BMW.

Then the farmer says to the young man, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?”

The yuppie thinks for a moment and then says, “OK, why not?”

“You’re a congressman for the U.S. government,” the farmer says.

“Wow! That’s right,” says the young man, “but how did you guess?”

“I didn’t guess,” the old farmer said. “You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You tried to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don’t know a thing about cows … this is a herd of sheep.”

“Now give me back my dog!”