May 20, 2002

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Floating on the Page

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 9:13 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Floating off the Page: The Best Stories from The Wall Street Journals Middle Column Edited by Ken Wells, Wall Street Journal Books, 280 Pages, $24.00 Hardcover, April 2001, ISBN 0743226631
As readers of this little exercise called Jack Covert Selects know, I love what I call Airplane Reads. These books should be packed in the front pocket of your carry-on so that when you are waiting out a lay-over or just too bored/tired/burned out to work on the expense report, you can pick it up and have a nice read. Our friends at The Wall Street Journal have compiled those fun middle columns which began appearing in 1941 into a best of book. These stories are at least interesting, often funny, and always well-written. I just finished a story from 1986 about dwarf-throwing called Little Feats and what a brouhaha that occupation caused in England. They interviewed Lenny the Giant (the dwarf in question) and you will learn that he makes $68 per night and loves it. Huh. One of my favorite stories is called The Waning Days of Mr. Coke. This loving tribute is to Robert Woodruff, the true genius behind the Coke brand who finally sought acknowledgment for his role in 1981. He was 91 years old, nearly blind and deaf, but at the time controlled 17 percent of the company stock. He lived on a 30,000-acre ranch surrounded by memorabilia from Bobby Jones, who, along with Woodruff, founded Augusta National and the Masters.
The book is broken up into provocative categories like: The Way We are Now, Style (my favorite, being the styling guy I am), Things You Might Not Know, Men at Work (Mr. Coke), Obsessions, What We Wrote Home About, Plays the Thing, Notions and Controversies (Lenny can be found here) etc. While this book wont help you change the world or change you life, it will stimulate and broaden your mindand keep you busy during a lay-over, which is not a bad thing.