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As to Rendell's Comment on Napolitano: Is it Even Possible to Work 20 Hours a Day?

The comment by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell about Janet Napolitano having "no life" was all the rage today on talk radio and blogs as many people wondered whether it was sexist.

Famous blogger Ariana Huffington wondered in a high-profile column today whether it was good to be a workaholic, honing in on Rendell's statements that Napolitano could "devote, literally, 19-20 hours" to the job of Homeland Security secretary.

One aspect that's been overlooked by other media is the "literally" part of Rendell's quote. Is it even possible to work 20 hours a day, week in and week out?

The very idea seems ludricrous, unless you're talking about a genetically unusual person who doesn't require more than two or three hours of sleep each night. If you worked 20 hours a day, you'd still need at least another hour of leeway to fall asleep, to take a shower and change clothes in the morning, maybe eat a doughnut -- you get the picture.

Even Bill Gates, the master workaholic, says he now needs seven hours of sleep a night to stay sharp. But in a 2004 Q&A article, Gates mentions he used to live "on catnaps" and he envies people who can "thrive on three or four hours of sleep each night."

We'd envy those people, too -- if we knew any. -- Ray Stern

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern