Chandramouli Venkatesan Catalyst Book Summary and Review

Catalyst Book Summary And Best Review: A good job, hard work, IQ, EQ, good communication skills – these are all ingredients for a successful life. The presence of these elements alone, however, does not guarantee success. To convert them into long-term success, you need certain stimuli that precipitate odd accelerate your growth. This robustly influential book identifies the various catalysts that you can cultivate and how you can leverage them to propel yourself in your work and life.

About the book: Catalyst

Catalyst By Chandramouli Venkatesan Pidilite Summary And Review

This book is written about your career management. How you should plan your career and win in life and career.


Quoting the author: The basic concept of chemistry states that the presence of a catalyst cause or accelerates a chemical reaction. In some cases, the ingredients are available, but the reaction does not happen spontaneously. It takes the catalyst to make it happen. In other words, the reaction has to be a catalyst. Taking an example, automobile emissions contain carbon monoxide, which is highly dangerous. It has to be converted to carbon dioxide to make it less harmful. There is oxygen in the air, but it does not automatically react with the carbon monoxide to form carbon dioxide. It takes a catalytic converter fitted in an automobile for this reaction to occur.

In this book, Chandramouli Shares several ideas. Like, what is the best way of giving back to society. Working in NGOs, but this work does not have a high ROI (Return on investment), he firmly believes that one must look for ROI in one’s social efforts. Just because we give our time/money/knowledge does not mean it is making an impact. This doesn’t mean that we stop giving our time/money/knowledge. He suggests One should invest his time where it has the highest ROI.

For example, if you are a doctor and your social contribution is to improve the health of the needy. A doctor could impact teaching math to unprivileged children, but the ROI would be lower than the ROI in healthcare.

Main takeaways from the book Catalyst

Time spent at work does not equal experience

Catalyst By Chandramouli Venkatesan Pidilite Summary And Review
Catalyst By Chandramouli Venkatesan Pidilite Summary And Review

This gives a perfect analogy because using this logic; one can say that “I have experience of 20 years of sleeping“ because I’ve been sleeping for 20 years every day. That’s not how it works; it’s also important in terms of what you do with that time and experience at work.

Quoting the book Catalyst:

  • Time is the single most significant investment and resource you put into your career. However, this time is not automatically converted into the experience of an algorithm that will drive your real individual growth and career success.
  • To convert time into experience, You require a catalyst, and that catalyst is TMRR: Target, Measure, Review and Reflect. (What he recommends is as professional you must Target, Measure, Review and Reflect each activity that you indulge in at wor., Only thencan youn convert your time into a real experience.)
  • To make the TMRR model more effective, he recommends that you build an Anchored Habit of always asking yourself the question “what could I have done better”. The single greatest difference I’ve seen between more successful People and less successful people is their ability to catalyse and convert time into the experience.

Win where it matters

Catalyst By Chandramouli Venkatesan Pidilite Summary And Review

Most of us have heard the story of the hare and the tortoise. It is the story of the race between the swift, a child rabbit, and the slow lumbering tortoise. The rabbit starts at a rapid pace and then takes a break, while the tortoise carries on without a break and finally wins the race. The moral of the story is that slow and steady wins the race. 
Chandramouli says – When I see youngsters today chasing careers they, often look like the rabbit from the story. They get out of the block in a hurry, want a frenetic pace of career growth in the initial stage, and then lose steam where it matters, near the finish line.


You have to be very careful about your early career. Let’s take your work life is about 40 years, so the first 20 years are set up for your next 20 years. Like some people, they work tough the first 20 years and then don’t work hard in the next 20 years because the first 20 years are easy to grow up. As you can struggle and your body will reciprocate well. In your early 20 you will get more people to help you out as you will be young and energetic you can always seek help from your seniors. But once you become a senior, it will be hard for you to seek help if someone younger than you stays in a higher position.

Quoting the book:

  • To truly succeed in your career, you need to win when it matters, which is the second half. Most people win in the first half, very few in the second. 
  • However, success is in the second half doesn’t happen based on what you do in the second half. It has to be catalyzed by the foundation-building you do in the first.
  • Foundation-building, in the first half, is easier said than done. There are vital barriers. People have to overcome to do the foundation-building :
  1. Inability to delay gratification. 
  2. The pressure of winning the rat race. 
  3. Lack of knowledge and suitable guidance on how to do foundation-building.

The Final Question :

Why do you want to succeed in your career? Is success a means to an end, or is it an end in itself? 
“Why do I want to succeed” is an important question you must ask yourself.

Taking the example of the documentary “Sachin: A Billion Dreams.” 
In that documentary movie, Sachin stated that, at first, his name grew rapidly in the cricket industry. When he became an outstanding cricketer, he once visited the ground he used to practice when he was very young. He saw the kids playing better than him than he himself used to play at that age. He became a little insecure. He thought his career came to an end. But then he started practicing a lot more. This states that

In the career you need to run a marathon, not a Sprint

Hence, here is the final question to you at the end of this book. I know you want to succeed, otherwise, you might not have reached the end of this article. But do you know why you want to succeed? What is success means in your life? This book will help you in the journey of success, but finding the purpose behind why you want to succeed is something that you must do for yourself.

Conviction on Catalyst

I highly recommend Catalyst to someone new in their career or just starting their career.
Quoting the review of Anand Kripalu, managing director and CEO, Diageo India, and member, Diageo global executive committee: Mouli has captured real insights from everyday events that happen to people in companies. I could relate to most lessons, having experienced them in my own career. And catalyst is written by somebody who has practiced all that he is preaching now—a must-read. I hope you also enjoyed reading Catalyst’s Book Summary And Review.

About the author

Chandramouli Venkatesan

Bestselling Author & Senior Management consultant. Chandramouli Venkatesan holds a Master of Business Administration (1991 pass out) in Marketing from XLRI Jamshedpur, a premier management institute in India, and a Bachelor of Technology in Chemical Engineering Anna University, Chennai. He is currently based in Mumbai, India. Chandramouli Venkatesan’s first book, “Catalyst” published in Feb 2018, is a bestseller. Catalyst won the Crossword Award for best book on Business & Management and the Amazon award for the most popular book in Non-Fiction for 2018.

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