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.
Polish author Olga Tokarczuk won the £50,000 (about $67,170) Man Booker International Prize, which celebrates the finest works of translated fiction from around the world, for her novel of linked fragments, Flights, translated by Jennifer Croft. The cash award is divided equally between author and translator, who also both receive £1,000 for being shortlisted.
Philip Roth, whose novel American Pastoral won a Pulitzer in 1998 but who was best-known for the controversial and explicit 1969 Portnoy's Complaint, has died at age 85.
Writing in The Washington Post, author and professor Sandra Beasley asks, "Do we continue to teach the work of people we now suspect of behaving unethically or abusively? ... As a reader, I'm devastated. As a teacher, I've got decisions to make..."
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Philip Pullman has been named author of the year at the British Book Awards for his "outstanding" success.
The children's author was recognized after returning to the world of his Dark Materials with La Belle Sauvage last year. Awards organizers described Pullman as a "true one-off".
Gail Honeyman won book of the year for her best-selling debut Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.
Judges said it was "brilliantly written" and "the complete package".
Tom Wolfe, author of notable works such as The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities, has died aged 88. In addition to his books, he was a pioneer of New Journalism, which developed in the 1960s and 1970s and involved writing from a subjective perspective as opposed to more traditional objective journalism. He was also known for coining phrases such as "radical chic" and "the me decade".
Last week, Barnes & Noble, the largest book retailer in the US, saw its stock price plunge nearly 8% just days after the New York Times published an editorial calling for the chain to be saved. "It's depressing to imagine that more than 600 Barnes & Noble stores might simply disappear," wrote columnist David Leonhardt. "But the death of Barnes & Noble is now plausible."
Author Jojo Moyes has pledged to save the British adult literacy program Quick Reads from closure by funding it for the next three years. She says she was "completely dumbfounded" on learning of the scheme's closure and is believed to have donated around £360,000 (well over US$500,000) to help it continue.
"Having written a Quick Reads myself [Paris for One, in 2015] and spoken to readers who had benefited from the scheme, I knew how important it was," she told The Bookseller. "It is relatively low cost and loved by authors, publishers and readers. At a time when libraries are ever more endangered, it seemed a completely regressive move to lose Quick Reads."
The Pulitzer Prize board has opened an independent review of sexual misconduct allegations against the award-winning novelist Junot Díaz, who is stepping down as chairman, the board said on Thursday.
"Mr. Díaz said he welcomed the review and would cooperate fully with it," the Pulitzer board said in a statement.
Mr. Díaz, who joined the board in 2010, was elevated to chairman last month, according to the organization. It said that Mr. Díaz asked to relinquish his role and that he would remain a part of the body.
Viet Thanh Nguyen argues that books by immigrants, foreigners and minorities don't diminish the 'classic' curriculum. They enhance it....
...We must read Shakespeare and authors who are women, Arab, Muslim, queer. Most of the world is neither white nor European, and the United States may be a majority-minority country by mid-century. White people will gain more by embracing this reality rather than fighting it. As for literature, the mind-set that turns the canon into a bunker in order to defend one dialect of English is the same mind-set that closes borders, enacts tariffs and declares trade wars to protect its precious commodities and its besieged whiteness. But literature, like the economy, withers when it closes itself off from the world. The world is coming anyway. It demands that we know ourselves and the Other...