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    Reading Comprehension: Top 25 Book list for the CAT

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  • Apr 18, 2017


 With about 30 weeks to go for CAT most of you would be looking for a long-term strategy to crack CAT. While Quant and LR/DI are easier to tackle due to a well-defined syllabus, the VA/RC part is quite a challenge for most students due to the lack of a reading habit since childhood. This is where it becomes essential to develop a reading habit espeically if one did not cultivate the same in childhood.


The following is a curated list I have compiled, based on long years of reading and guiding students for the CAT. There are about 25 books in the list, many of which are classics and the rest are modern day classics. They have not been arranged in any order. Feel free to read in any order. Further I have also included a brief description of each book.


Easy Level


  1. Call of the Wild, Jack London-A classic set in Alaska, it is the story of a dog who becomes the leader of his pack. It is a novella as much about the “call of the wild” for a half wolf dog, as about man’s greed.
  2. Animal Farm, George Orwell- A biting satire on the Russian Revolution, it is a fable which critiques the ideals of Marxism.
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee- A tale of racial prejudice and the loss of childhood innocence told from the point of view of children.
  4. Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe. Have you seen the Hollywood movie “Castaway”? Robinson Crusoe predates it.
  5. King Solomon’s Mines, Rider Haggard- A fantastic tale of magic, exploration and warfare set in Africa.
  6. To Sir with Love, E R Braithwaite- A story of a teacher who wins the respect of his students in a post-colonial world despite there being racial prejudice against him.
  7. Luka and the fire of life, Salman Rushdie- A sequel to Haroun and the Sea of Stories, it is not just a children’s story, it is a beautifully imagined story of how a child saves his father in a world like a fantasy set in a video game.
  8. How to fail at Almost everything and Yet Win Big, Scott Adams- The ultimate self-help book, it talks to people without talking down to them. It will transform the way you look at life.
  9. Eats, Shoots and Leaves, Lynne Truss- The ultimate grammar guide which is people friendly and accessible and hilarious!
  10. Blink, Malcolm Gladwell- A journalistic account of Decision Making in real life, this book is quite insightful and would help you understand how out mind works.



Medium Level


  1. Midnights Children, Salman Rushdie- Arguably the greatest modern day classic, it has won three Bookers. Need I say more?
  2. Argumentative Indian, Amartya Sen-  A rigorous work by one of the greatest Indian economists ever.
  3. Pax Indica, Shashi Tharoor- A study of India’s foreign policy by one of the most eloquent defenders.
  4. Moby Dick, Herman Melville- An American classic about the struggle of one man against an almost superhuman whale.
  5. Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely - An insightful study of Decision Making by one of the world’s top marketing professors.
  6. Sapiens, Y N Harari- Perhaps the most acclaimed history book in recent years, it is an incisive account of the origin of human civilization.
  7. The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy- Forget Roy’s politics! This is THE defining book of India of the 1990’s 


Hard Level


  1. The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins-An argument against “intelligent design” and for evolution by one of the world’s most famous science popularisers
  2. The Black Swan, N N Taleb- A stinging critique of modern finance by a derivatives trader who also delves into philosophy and decision science.
  3. Freakonomics, Steven Levitt & Stiven Dabner- A “rogue economist” explains the application of economics to unorthodox fields.
  4. Fictions, J L Borges- The “greatest writer to not win the Nobel prize”, Borges is perhaps the unrivalled master of the modern short story.
  5. Moonwalking with Einstein, Joshua Foer- Ever wanted to remember everything? Or become a memory champion? Foer was an ordinary journalist who would forget his car keys and his wife’s birthday. Read about his transformation into a world memory champion.
  6. The Ascent of Money, Niall Fergusson- A history of finance by a Harvard- Oxford historian of economics.
  7. The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco- A complex, labyrinthine work by the greatest Italian writer ever!
  8. Life of Pi, Yann Martel- A story which has been adapted into a movie by Ang Lee, it is a mix of the fantastic and the ordinary.


Feel free to ask any queries in the comments section!

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