Meet the general who actually read his entire reading list

Spoiler alert: One item was just a PowerPoint slide.

Gen. Paul E. Funk II has some fundamental advice for you about being a soldier. It does not involve reading a lot of words. (Photo: Army Training and Doctrine Command)

WASHINGTON — A poll of general officers across the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps — and whatever the Coast Guard and Navy have — confirmed today that only one of those officers has read all the books on their reading lists. His name? Army Gen. Paul E. Funk II.

This should come as no surprise.

The military can’t get its personnel to workout or maintain basic fitness levels, even though there are mandatory physical training blocks every day, so why would they read a bunch of professional literature in their supposed spare time?

General officers are no different — well, general officers not named Funk. The “Funk’s Fundamental Reading List” is the only confirmed reading list any general officer has actually read.

“You actually think the people who create these lists read everything on them?” a senior defense official said. “That’s cute.”

For years, the commanding general of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command has included only three books on his reading list: Anton Myrer’s Once An Eagle, because of course; Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers; and a single PowerPoint slide detailing Gen. Funk’s Fundamentals — which technically isn’t really a book, but does involve printed words, so we are counting it.



“I read Starship Troopers while I was in high school,” Funk said in a recent interview. “And, boy howdy, if I didn’t get a lot out of that one. Once An Eagle was required reading at the Senior Service College, so I figured why the heck not put that on there?!”

“I thought about putting Ender’s Game on, too, but then I found out the Air Force had it on a list and decided just to include it on the Blu-Ray annex. That Harrison Ford fella is my bale of hay.”

When another general was pressed to confirm whether or not he had read the books on his list, he pushed back with, “Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations doesn’t even have a frickin’ story! What’s that about? I don’t have time to read books when my soaps are on.”

Another explained that she had “neither the time nor the inclinations to explain [herself] to a man who…” and then she sort of trailed off from there.

A third general stood up — eyes wide — as he began to scream until the Duffel Blog reporter left.

This article was written by As For Class. Erik Sullivan contributed reporting.


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