English Questions: Reading Comprehension Set 1

Directions for questions : Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it.

There is a never-ending supply of business gurus telling us how we can, and must, do more. Sheryl Sandberg urges women to “Lean In” if they want to get ahead. And in case you thought you might be able to grab a few moments to yourself, Keith Ferrazzi warns that you must “Never Eat Alone”.

Yet the biggest problem in the business world is not too little but too much too many distractions and interruptions, too many things done for the sake of form, and altogether too much busy-ness. The Dutch seem to believe that an excess of meetings is the biggest devourer of time: they talk of Vergaderziekte, “meeting sickness”. However, a study last year by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that it is e-mails: it found that highly skilled office workers spend more than a quarter of each working day writing and responding to them.

Which of these banes of modern business life is worse remains open to debate. But what is clear is that office workers are on a treadmill of pointless activity. Managers allow meetings to drag on for hours. An entire management industry exists to spin the treadmill ever faster.

All this “leaning in” is producing an epidemic of overwork, particularly in the United States. Americans now toil for eight-and-a half hours a week more than they did in 1979. A survey last year by the centres for Disease control and prevention estimated that almost a third of working adults get six hours or less of sleep a night. Another survey last year by Good technology, a provider of secure mobile systems for businesses, found that more than 80% of respondents continue to work after leaving the office, 69% cannot go to bed without checking their inbox and 38% routinely check their work e-mails at the dinner table.

It is high time that we tried a different strategy not “leaning in” but “leaning back”. There is a distinguished history of leadership thinking in the lean-back tradition. Lord Melbourne, Queen Victoria’s favourite Prime Minister, extolled the virtues of “masterful inactivity”. Ronal Reagan also believed in not overdoing things: “It’s true hard work never killed anybody,” he said, “but I figure, why take the chance?”. This tradition has been buried in a morass of meetings and messages. We need to revive it before we schedule ourselves to death.

Managers themselves could benefit. Those at the top are best employed thinking about strategy rather than operations about whether the company is doing the right thing rather than whether it is sticking to its plans. When he was boss of General Electric, Jack Welch used to spend an hour a day in what he called “looking out of the window time”. When he was in charge of Microsoft, Bill Gates used to take two “think weeks” a year when he would lock himself in an isolated cottage.

Doing nothing may be going too far. Managers play an important role in co-ordinating complicated activities and disciplining slackers. And some creative people would never finish anything if they were left to their own devices. But there is certainly a case for doing a lot less for rationing e-mail, cutting back on meetings and getting rid of a few overzealous bosses. Leaning in has been producing negative returns for some time now. It is time to try the far more radical strategy of leaning back.

  1. What is the author’s tone in the passage?
    1- Satirical
    2- Cynical
    3- Cautionary
    4- Humorous
    5- Gloomy
    Answer
    3- Cautionary 
  2. What has the author defined as ‘leaning-in’?
    a Working too much due to the presence of overzealous bosses.
    b Setting creativity free and dropping deadlines.
    c Managers running on treadmills for long hours.
    d Creative people checking mails too often.
    1- a, b, c
    2- a, b
    3- a, b, c, d
    4- a, d
    5- a, d, c
    Answer
    4- a, d 
  3. Why isn’t ‘doing nothing’ considered too good?
    1- It results in the loss of the precious time of the organization.
    2- It provides excessive freedom to creative people making them lethargic.
    3- It makes people cancel meetings.
    4- It doesn’t have deadlines.
    5- It gives time to run on treadmills.
    Answer
    2- It provides excessive freedom to creative people making them lethargic. 
  4. Why should everyone be given a ‘looking out of the window time’?
    1- It generates a big basket to throw invitations into.
    2- It helps in understanding the right and wrong of the company.
    3- Strategies can be formulated better.
    4- Employees and managers enjoy a leisure time.
    5- It helps enjoy the nature.
    Answer
    3- Strategies can be formulated better.  
  5. What could be the closest significance of ‘Never eat alone’?
    1- It takes away your chance to meet new people and grow the PR network.
    2- It makes you feel lonely.
    3- It creates distractions and interruptions while eating.
    4- It puts you off the crowd.
    5- None of the above.
    Answer
    1- It takes away your chance to meet new people and grow the PR network. 
  6. What does the survey by ‘Good technology’ try to conclude?
    1- People can’t help but see their mails and messages.
    2- People are pressurised by their managers and work which coaxes them to check mails and continue working even after leaving office.
    3- People are too scared of their managers.
    4- People are workaholics
    5- People prefer messages over dinner as the latter isn’t tasty.
    Answer
    People are pressurised by their managers and work which coaxes them to check mails and continue working even after leaving office.  
  7. Select the word SIMILAR in meaning to the given word as used in the passage
    TOIL
    1- exertion
    2- pressure
    3- animated
    4- tough
    5- spirited
    Answer
    1- exertion  
  8. Select the word SIMILAR in meaning to the given word as used in the passage.
    MORASS
    1- riot
    2- chaos
    3- noise
    4- clang
    5- clash
    Answer
    2- chaos 
  9. Select the word used that is nearly OPPOSITE to the given word as used in the passage.
    INTERRUPTIONS
    1- necessity
    2- disruption
    3- delay
    4- continuation
    5- introduction
    Answer
    4- continuation  
  10. Select the word used that is nearly OPPOSITE to the given word as used in the passage
    RADICAL
    1- important
    2- acute
    3- conservative .
    4- modern
    5- profound
    Answer
    3- conservative 
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