How Would You Move Mount Fuji? - AchieveMax® Top Ten Book Review
For a number of reasons, today's hiring managers from Wall Street to the Silicon Valley are totally restructuring their approach to interviewing job prospects. Few will admit it has anything to do with the fact that our litigious society makes it very difficult to ask almost any personal question of today's job applicant. The majority of those interviewing today don't even bother checking references because they know anyone they call will provide little or no information on the employee in question for fear of legal retribution. Again, few will admit these facts for obvious reasons. However, for these and other motives including a hypercompetitive global marketplace, a hot new trend in hiring is emerging. "Puzzle interviews" using tough and tricky questions to gauge job candidates' intelligence, imagination, and problem-solving ability, are becoming the norm in many companies.
How Would You Move Mount Fuji?: Microsoft's Cult of the Puzzle - How the World's Smartest Company Selects the Most Creative Thinkers is a study of corporate hiring, an assessment of IQ testing's value, a history of interviewing and a puzzle book. The author, William Poundstone, is a science writer who explains the thinking behind this kind of interviewing. In a straightforward manner, the author describes the roots of logic questions in interviews, drawing on the history of IQ testing in hiring interviews, psychological studies and interviews with Microsoft ex-interviewers and interviewees. He certainly makes a strong case for eliminating standard questions like "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" and replacing them with logic puzzles.
For years, Microsoft's interview process has included a notoriously grueling sequence of brain-busting questions that separate the most creative thinkers from the merely brilliant. Anyone who's interviewed for a job at Microsoft is intimately familiar with questions like the one in this book's title (How would you move Mount Fuji?) They've probably also pondered such problems as:
- Why are manhole covers round?
- How do they make M&Ms?
- What does all the ice in a hockey rink weigh?
- How many piano tuners are there in the world?
Questions like these, which test problem-solving abilities, not specific competencies, are commonplace during job interviews at Microsoft and the many other firms who have adapted this unique approach.
Basically, this book is separated into two parts: The first discusses the history of puzzles and their intellectual and academic standing. This section starts off by narrating the origin of puzzle-solving as a criterion for selecting people; then, it talks about how and why many companies use them in interviews. Mr. Poundstone talks about the general approaches to solving puzzles, and then closes on a note for employers on how to design puzzles that are useful.
The second part of the book is strict puzzle solving. The book has plenty of puzzles scattered through it and two chapters devoted solely to listing puzzles. The author goes on to discuss the puzzles he has listed and suggests thought processes about how to solve them. This exposition is more interesting than it sounds. Mr. Poundstone not only explains his answers thoroughly, but also uncovers many layers of thinking that show the complexity and beauty of the art of solving puzzles.
Almost half of the book is devoted to an "answer" section, where Poundstone gives possible solutions to the brainteasers. Although it lacks a specific focus, this is a fun, revealing take on an unusual subject.
This book will give interviewers insights into what kind of questions to ask, and why. You should probably read this book if you fall into one of the categories below:Prospective interviewees for High Tech, consulting or financial services companies. It won't give you all the answers to memorize, but it will let you in on the puzzle genre and some of its 'rules.'
Interviewers/HR - If you are looking to employ puzzle-type questions to hire creative employees, this will give you some insights into what questions to use and why. There are probably better books on the intricacies of interviewing, but this will give you the background needed to use puzzles in the interview process (if you decide that's what you need.)
People interested in problem solving, puzzles and creativity. This covers a lot of ground in these areas and it gives you a few references for further reading.
More than 100 business book reviews written by Harry K. Jones are available at www.AchieveMax.com/books/index.htm">http://www.AchieveMax.com/books/.
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www.AchieveMax.com/motivational-speaker-harry.htm">Harry K. Jones is a professional speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a firm specializing in custom-designed keynote presentations, seminars, and consulting services. Harry has made presentations ranging from leadership to employee retention and time management to stress management for a number of industries, including education, financial, government, healthcare, hospitality, and manufacturing. He can be reached at 800-886-2MAX or by visiting www.AchieveMax.com">http://www.AchieveMax.com.
The term "thought provoking" is over-used but that does describe eighth grader Melissa Shang's opinion piece in the New York Times in which she asks why "there are very few stories about kids in wheelchairs, and there are even fewer with a disabled person who is cheerful and happy." Her powerful article questions why "disability is always seen as a misfortune, and disabled characters are simply opportunities to demonstrate the kindness of the able-bodied protagonists."
Tracy K. Smith has been named the 22nd poet laureate of the United States. Smith's poetry has won her such top awards in her field as the James Laughlin Award, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, and, for her 2011 collection Life on Mars, the Pulitzer Prize.
For many years, the publishing industry's major annual event, BookExpo, was aimed at publishing insiders only. A few years ago, organizers ReedPOP, started experimenting with allowing in more readers, which morphed into a separate one-day event in 2014 called BookCon which immediately followed BookExpo. In 2015, BookCon moved to two days; then in 2016 back to one day.
This year, BookExpo's show floor was reduced from three days to two and BookCon's expanded back to two days. While engaging with fans is seen as positive by many in the publishing industry, the shows' continuing evolution is causing headaches for some, particularly the smaller, specialized publishers who wished to exhibit at BookExpo but not BookCon and thus found themselves relegated to a separate exhibit area at the Javits Center in New York.
An Amazing World of Dr. Seuss museum opened in Springfield, MA last weekend. Springfield is the home town of Theodor Geisel better known by his pen name Dr. Seuss - who wrote and illustrated dozens of rhyming children's books including The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. The museum features interactive exhibits, artwork never before displayed publicly and explains how his childhood experiences in the city about 90 miles west of Boston shaped his work.
Helen Dunmore has died aged 64 of cancer. She authored 12 novels, three books of short stories, numerous books for young adults and children and 11 collections of poetry.
She was also Chair of the Society of Authors until shortly before her death, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She lived in Cliftonwood, Bristol the setting for her poignant last novel, Birdcage Walk (published in the UK earlier this year and due to publish in the US on August 1). Although she knew she was dying only at the editing stage she suggests, in an afterword, that she must have known subliminally because the novel was "full of a sharper light, rather as a landscape becomes brilliantly distinct in the last sunlight before a storm".
On Monday, the Nobel Foundation released Bob Dylan's lecture (which he gave just shy of the 6 month deadline in order to receive the award and cash prize of US$900,000. In his 27 minute speech, Dylan explored the topic that was on many people's minds when he was announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, can song lyrics be literature?
"The speech is extraordinary and, as one might expect, eloquent," Sara Danius, the Swedish Academy's permanent secretary, wrote in a blog post. "Now that the Lecture has been delivered, the Dylan adventure is coming to a close."
Listen to the speech
The U.S. Postal Service is honoring Henry David Thoreau (b. July 12, 1817) during the bicentennial year of his birth with a Forever Stamp. A first-day-issue stamp dedication ceremony took place last week at the the Walden Pond State Reservation Visitors Center in Concord, Mass.
Denis Johnson, the prize-winning fiction writer, poet and playwright best known for his surreal and transcendent story collection "Jesus' Son," has died at age 67.
Jean Fritz, an award-winning writer whose work helped transform historical biographies for children from leaden recitals of battles and dates into warm, human narratives full of quirks and crotchets and satisfyingly strange facts, died on Sunday at her home in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. She was 101.
The author of more than four dozen books, Mrs. Fritz was known in particular for her biographies of many of the signal figures of 18th- and 19th-century American history.
America's libraries got a major boost this week on Capitol Hill as a group of leading publishing, information, software, and other businesses unveiled an organized effort to advocate for federal library funding. The move comes in response to the Trump administration's proposal to eliminate virtually all federal library funding, and the agency that distributes those funds to all 50 states.