Monday, April 03, 2006

How Would You Move Mount Fuji? by William Poundstone

How Would You Move Mount Fuji? Microsoft’s Cult of the Puzzle: How the World’s Smartest Company Selects the Most Creative Thinkers, by William Poundstone

A friend lent me this and I found it fascinating! It is both a brief history of the puzzle interview and a collection of brainteasers—and their answers, thank god! A puzzle interview is one where the candidate is asked questions such as, “Why are manhole covers round?” and the titular, “How would you move Mount Fuji?” Some of these don’t necessarily have a correct answer: “Design a spice rack for a blind person;” and some do: “How many gas stations are there in the United States?” All give not only the answer (where one exists) but the techniques to use for solving them. Very enlightening.

This is a really quick read, unless you try and solve all the puzzles! I’m embarrassed to say I only got about half of them right. Pick this up and see how you do!

First Sentence:
In August 1957 William Shockley was recruiting staff for his Palo Alto, California, start-up, Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory.


Mike Lunt said...

I also thought this was a good book. I'm surprised you didn't comment on the author's take on the effectiveness of giving these questions during interviews.

Klobetime said...

Good point, I probably should have. I do briefly talk about that topic in my review Joel on Software, though.

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