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 two things I love most are novels and birds, and they're both in trouble,' says The Corrections author, one of the world's most famous birdwatchers, in an extensive interview in The Guardian
With less than 10 days to go until Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday shopping season, independent bookstores around the country are finalizing their plans for the sixth annual Indies First celebration. Held every year on Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, Indies First has grown to include more than 500 indie bookstores around the country.
Amazon confirmed Tuesday morning that it has chosen sites in New York City and Northern Virginia as the locations for its new headquarters. As previously reported, the New York City office will be located in the Long Island City neighborhood in Queens. The Northern Virginia site will be in the National Landing section of Arlington, about five miles away from Crystal City, which previously had been reported as the Amazon choice in the metro Washington, D.C., area.
Stan Lee, who as chief writer and editor of Marvel Comics helped create some of the most enduring superheroes of the 20th century and was a major force behind the breakout successes of the comic-book industry in the 1960s and early '70s, died on Monday in Los Angeles. He was 95.
A worldwide strike by antiquarian booksellers against an Amazon subsidiary proved successful after two days, with the retailer apologizing and saying it would cancel the actions that prompted the protest.
It was a rare concerted uprising against any part of Amazon by any of its millions of suppliers, leading to an even rarer capitulation. Even the book dealers said they were surprised at the sudden reversal by AbeBooks, the company's secondhand and rare bookselling network.
The uprising, which involved nearly 600 booksellers in 27 countries removing about four million books, was set off by the retailer's decision to cut off stores in five countries: the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, South Korea and Russia. AbeBooks never explained its actions beyond saying it was related to payment processing...
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, a nationally influential literary critic for The New York Times for three decades, who wrote some 4,000 reviews and essays, mostly for the daily column Books of The Times, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 84.
Jin Yong, a literary giant of the Chinese-speaking world whose fantastical epic novels inspired countless film, television and video game adaptations and were read by generations of ethnic Chinese, died on Oct. 30 in Hong Kong. He was 94.
... For those of us lucky enough to know Todd, it was not only the adorable, customizable structures of the libraries that made him happy but it was something far bigger: community. For Todd, Little Free Libraries were places that strengthened community ties where they existed and built ties where they were absent. And he loved how comments and challenges sparked new ideas and initiatives.
Not enough Little Free Libraries in high-needs communities? Todd created the Impact Library Grants Fund. Interested in ways to engage a community? Todd formed and encouraged the use of the Action Book Club. Looking for more positive interaction between youth and law enforcement? Todd's answer was to create the Kids, Community & Cops program. Looking to create better conversations around books? Pass out Whatcha Readin' buttons. ...
Beginning today and lasting a week, more than 300 booksellers around the world are not selling titles on AbeBooks, the Amazon subsidiary that specializes in collectible and used books, to protest AbeBooks' decision to ban booksellers from several nations, including South Korea, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Russia. The action is called Banned Booksellers Week and was begun, the New York Times said, by British bookseller Simon Beattie.
The plea went out a few weeks ago from October Books in the port city of Southampton, England: "Care to lend a hand?"
Volunteers were needed to help the store move to a new location about 500 feet down the road--a move made possible by a fundraising campaign that allowed the beloved local store to buy its new location for over half a million pounds (about $650,000) thus protecting it from future rent increases--which had forced it out of its former building.
This past Sunday, a human chain began forming from the old October Books stockroom, snaking past 54 doors to the new building. Hand-to-hand, the chain of people passed thousands of books over a few hours.
"It was very moving," Ms. Haynes said, adding that the employees were "all getting choked up" about how members of the community had leapt to help out.