Sunday, September 22, 2013

English Bites! - Review

A book that provides easy solutions to problems faced by language learners.

English Bites! My Full pro of English Learning Formula is the story of a man who goes from being tongue-tied in school to becoming a smooth- talking banker. Through a series of hilarious personal adventures and misadventures, Manish Gupta provides easy solutions to problems faced by language learners. So, whether you're a vernacular speaker, a GRE/ GMAT/CAT/XAT aspirant or just a language nut, English Bites! will expand your vocabulary and improve your verbal ability. It may even help you love the English language a little more! 

Add over 1000 new words to your vocabulary and figure out easy and effective ways to expand your word bank. Combine etymology, mnemonics, jokes and anecdotes to better your understanding of the English language. Differentiate between similar sounding words and learn to use them right. Improve your general knowledge with trivia that spans brand names, automobiles, fine dining, love, money, banks, science and B-school jargon.

About the Author
Manish Gupta is a banking professional. When not crunching numbers he is busy engaging with and examining the vagaries and idiosyncrasies of the English language. He also likes trivia, travelling, adventure sports, delving into human psychology, and giving professorial discourses to colleagues, family and friends, and practically anyone who can give him a patient hearing. An engineering graduate from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh and an MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur, he lives in Mumbai with his wife Deepali, a medical professional, and daughters Tamanna and Prakriti.

Let me be honest … when I first heard of English Bites! I thought it would be just another plain old boring English guide, ready to serve aspirants of GRE and other such competitive examinations. True, this book will definitely enhance your vocabulary and add several new words in your mental dictionary; but boring? No definitely not; rather, far from it.

English Bites! isn’t a long discourse on word building and language strengthening; rather it is a unique methodology to build up your vocabulary and improve your verbal skill. You don’t need to wrack your brain worrying about the complexities of this language anymore. You just need to sit back, relax, with a cup of coffee, and go lazily through the pages.

And yeah, do keep a pen and notepad by your side. That’s recommended.

The book is divided into several chapters, each dealing with different phases in the author’s life. Manish Gupta starts with his school days and moves on to engineering. Once he completes it, Manish is lured by the prospect of obtaining a management degree. Through his dedication and hard work, he gets into the prestigious management institute, XLRI. When he gets settled comfortably in his job and career, the author decides to get married and as planned by destiny, meets his match. They exchange marital vows, and after a few years, Manish and Deepali, his better half, are blessed with the amazing joys of parenthood.

Doesn't this feel like reading a story? Where does learning English fit into this? I know these questions must be raining in your mind. Let me sum it up for you in one sentence - this is a story that will take your English skills to heightened glory.

The author explains how he initially struggled with the language, often stumped by new words that he couldn't comprehend. However, with help of friends, he decides to delve deeper into this subject, and devises techniques that helped him enrich his knowledge on this matter. Manish Gupta collates these techniques and presents them in a lucid and coherent manner in English Bites!

What really clicks is the style of narration. The flow is smooth, and at times you feel that the author is there right in front of you, sharing with you his experiences that are encased in the pages. The tone is quite informal and packed with humor, and that’s what I really find effective when dealing with a serious subject. Certainly, I wouldn't have liked another monotonous drag that could have further complicated the matter, instead of simplifying it.

English is magic, and Manish performs his tricks effectively. It’s really interesting to know about the origins of several words that he has described in this book. For example, I have always believed that French Fries originated from France, but God, I was so wrong.

The interesting anecdotes and snippets keep you engaged every moment, and take you through the brilliance of the English language. The chapters are well segmented, and cover a wide array of topics, ranging from food to medical, and even nursery rhymes. However, I do feel that the author should have written a separate chapter that would have dealt with his school life. In this book, there is just a brief mention on that, and not a dedicated section to it.

 I do have a complain though, and a serious one – Why didn’t Manish write this book earlier? I wish I didn’t have to wait so long to experience this delicious side of the English Language; but then, good things come to those who wait.

The tagline of the book says – “My Foolproof English Learning Formula.” I agree. I now look at the pen and notepad, and feel glad to see the innumerable new words that I had jotted down in the course of reading this book. Truly, one of the best books to increase your fluency and command over the language, as well as improve your general knowledge.

Title: English Bites!
Author: Manish Gupta
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Year: 2012
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
No. of Pages: 334
Price: ₹ 250
My Rating: 4/5


  1. Dear Amrit,

    Thanks very much for a wonderful review. I am glad that you enjoyed the book and gained something out of it. I am also relieved that the book lived up to your expectation. If there is any feedback (howsoever small, even minor), please do share it with me while the memories of the book are still fresh in your mind.

    I am counting on your support to spread the good word about the book esp. when people ask you for recommendation on books to improve their language. And I am sure, given your background and the accomplishments in this field, there are just so many of them who keep seeking your guidance.

    Many thanks & best regards, Manish
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