CAT preparation : What Books To Read - Tanveer Ahmed

  • With due respect to the hallowed institutions, the halls of MDI, IIFT, and SPJAIN etc are filled with students who would have been BLACKI  graduates if only they had been able to answer 4-5  more VARC questions correctly while taking their CAT. Read on if you are a perfectionist and dream of a scorecard like this..


    But trust me - Your biggest nightmare is waking up in January to a scorecard like this 


    ( XAT VA is almost invariably the toughest VA of the season ) 

    The million dollar question  ( and in this case almost literally ) is to how to avoid this fate and make your dreams come true ?

    One of the ways to do this is to read books .

    We will discuss the other forms in a separate article .

    The question that arises in the mind is  - WHAT DO I READ  ?

    The  answer is simple  - WHATEVER YOU CAN !

    Which leads to yet another question 


    My personal preference is to prod aspirants to pick up something on their own and start exploring  but I do realise that CAT aspirants tend to get too attuned to  MCQs to be able to make subjective choices 

    So here is a list of 10 Books I would recommend  keeping in mind CAT prep as an objective.

    1. Manual for Living by Epictetus: The essence of perennial Stoic wisdom in aphorisms of stunning insight and simplicity. The West's first and best little instruction book offers thoroughly contemporary and pragmatic reflections on how best to live with serenity and joy
    2. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius: Meditations is a series of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD, recording his private notes to himself and ideas on Stoic philosophy
    3. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking: Hawking attempts to explain a range of subjects in cosmology, including the big bang, black holes and light cones, to the nonspecialist reader. His main goal is to give an overview of the subject, but he also attempts to explain some complex mathematics
    4. Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Tale: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets is a book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb that deals with the fallibility of human knowledge.
    5. The Art of War: The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the 5th century BC. Attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu – "Master Sun
    6. The Little PrinceThe Little Prince is a poetic tale, with watercolour illustrations by the author, in which a pilot stranded in the desert meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. The story is philosophical and includes social criticism, remarking on the strangeness of the adult world.
    7. Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard P. Feynman:  It is an edited collection of reminiscences by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman  ( XAT 2016) 
    8. The Count of Monte Cristo: The Count of Monte Cristo (French: Le Comte de Monte-Cristo) is an adventure novel by French author Alexandre Dumas (père) completed in 1844. It is one of the author's most popular works, along with The Three Musketeers. (XAT 2015 )
    9. Cold Steel: When the world's two largest steel producers went head to head in a bitter struggle for market domination, an epic corporate battle ensued that sent shockwaves through the political corridors of Europe... ( IIFT 2015  )
    10. Foucault's Pendulum - Umberto Eco: This complex psychological thriller chronicles the development of a literary joke that plunges its perpetrators into deadly peril  (CAT 2008 )

    However if you are the more dynamic type - we have a few other suggestions for you to explore 

    1) GOODREADS  - GoodReads is more than just a book recommendation site, although it excels at helping your find new books to read based on the ones you enjoy. You can build a virtual "shelf" of books you own or have already read, share your progress with the books you're currently reading, rate the books you've read, leave reviews, and connect with other readers. You can also use those ratings to get book suggestions from the site's massive database of books. Your friends can make direct suggestions to you, and even if the book suggestions that the site builds aren't enough, you can go diving into user-generated book lists, reviews, and more

    2 ) BOOKBUB  - While BookBub isn't strictly a book recommendation service, it does bring you super-low-cost books based on your interests every day. The service is free, and when you sign up, you tell BookBub what kinds of books you like to read. From there, you'll get an email from BookBub every day (you can choose whether it comes in the morning or evening) with book deals for that day. When we say "deal," we mean it—many of BookBub's titles are free entirely

    3) WHICHBOOK  - Whichbook enables millions of combinations of factors and then suggests books which most closely match your needs. Click to open up to 4 sliders and move the cursor to set your choices.

    4) Amazon's 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime - The list spans 200 years of literature, along with a wide range of genres and intended audiences; authors include David Sedaris, Salman Rushdie, J.D. Salinger, Michael Pollan and Shel Silverstein. Sara Nelson, editorial director of print and Kindle books at, said the list was created through taxing months of deliberation among her team, though no mathematical algorithms were used

    5) YourNextRead - Get recommendations based on books you select 

    6  Join this FB Group for Books and discussions - THE BOOK READING CLUB

    So - what are you waiting for ? Get Reading Now  

    All the Best for CAT 2016 !

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