Jul 10, 2011

A review of "Biz World" - a book for business quizzers

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book gratis with a request from one of the authors to review this book.

Nothing divides the Indian quizzing community as much as the wedge of "Business Quizzing". This genre emerged in the last decade to become the most lucrative of quizzing sub-cultures and perhaps its most controversial. People who can't stand it claim that most business quizzes (and in particular the ones with the highest profiles) are boring and mundane, encourage cramming, have very fixed templates, and very little to offer in terms of intellectual entertainment. Clearly, that has not dented the allure of the biz quizzing scene, which continues to flourish, and each year a new batch of participants, especially from B-schools, try their luck at challenging some of the well-knowns in the field.

So it helps to know what your quizzing sensibilities are before considering "Biz World". The book is very clear on who most of its likely readers are: candidates preparing for B-school entrance tests and those taking part in business quizzes. As a result, the book centres around providing the usual suspects: prominent facts about well-known firms, etymologies of names and terms, and a miscellany of other trivia that is likely to show up in your average biz quiz. There is a short section with more traditional Q&As at the end. Think of a Malayala Manorama yearbook for common business trivia and this book is it.

If you're the kind that looks down upon such collections of data, you might not want to pick this book up. However, if you're a pragmatic preparer for such events (especially a newbie), this book might work for you. It may not be comprehensive in coverage (I couldn't see a geographical spread beyond India, the US, Japan and Western Europe) and it certainly could have benefited by breaking the monotony of lists that dominates the first half of the book for more engaging content. The authors do provide a fair number of tips (no doubt gained from their experiences as participants and tutors) on dealing with both business quizzes and entrance exams. The quizzing romantic will point to this as being evidence of the commodification of what should be a pursuit of pure knowledge, but it is debatable if such a utopian state of affairs ever existed.

I'm not a biz quizzing enthusiast myself but I can see the utility of this book to a certain segment of Indian quizzers. If you're one of them, it's very likely that this is a book you'd want to try out.