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Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?: Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You ... Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy Paperback – September 4, 2012
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"Poundstone offers strategies for making the best of nerve-racking situations, decoding interviewer's hidden agendas, and salvaging a doomed interview, in a solid treatment peppered with mind-bending puzzles. Poundstone's energetic, compelling writing...makes the book fun even for nonjob seekers."―Publishers Weekly
"A neat little manifesto on interview technique...Touring through a huge number of puzzles, he provides a truly exhaustive account of all the factors you're meant to consider when thinking your way through the solutions. Tackling [them] is incredibly gratifying, when you're not withering under the baleful eye of a potential employer."―New Scientist Culture Lab
"For those in the job market, Poundstone provides a handy survey of killer questions and how to answer them. For others, he offers the challenge of matching wits with people at America's most innovative companies. As for employers, he presents a timely warning about creative thinking and why job interviews don't work...The format affords Poundstone room to display his scientific knowledge, mathematical fluency and knack for explaining the arcane in playfully precise sentences."―Bloomberg Businessweek
"A helpful guide."―Christian Science Monitor
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
At least since 2003, Google Engineering does not ask puzzle/riddle questions in interviews. In fact, we're specifically told not to ask such questions. And any Hiring Committee worth its salt would, when given feedback from an interviewer indicating they'd asked such questions, at the very least email/talk to the interviewer and tell them not to do it again, and if a substantial part of the interview had been such questions, would throw out the interview feedback.
Heck, the author didn't even fact check the list of Google perks given early on; the hybrid car rebate was eliminated several years ago, and the mass ski trips came to an end when the company got too big.
If you're smart enough to work at Google, ignore this book completely and search the web or your professional network for accounts of the interview process by people who've actually worked at and done interviews for Google.
With an interview at Google imminent, I purchased the Kindle edition of the book on a whim to help study. It mostly plays on myths of what the interview questions are like at Google, i.e. "Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques..." Unfortunately if you use this as a study guide for a Software Engineering position, it's going to waste your time. Let me say that again in another way: this book will not help to prepare you for a Software Engineering interview at Google. In fact it might be detrimental because you'll spend valuable time and brain cycles working out the (fun!) brain teasers in this book rather than brushing up on the algorithms and CS fundamentals that are so much more important.
(As an aside: I will say that despite the ban on brain teasers at Google, I *was* asked a brain teaser on one of my last interviews. Out of 8 interviews and well over 20 problems, it was only 1, though. And it isn't in the book.)
Read this book if you want to read fun brain teasers and work through challenging problems.Read more ›
In fact, for one of my computer programmer friends, the interview went really... casually. Her situation was probably a break from the norm, of course, but these questions and puzzles were just absurd, in her (and my) opinion.
Nevertheless, the book is well written and very accessible. The author starts off the book with almost a prose-like style of writing, and hooks you in from the very beginning. He even sounds really believable! If only his premise were true, I'd give this book a solid 5 stars.
The ideas presented are worth thinking about and trying to solve in your spare time. Who knows- you might even become brighter from working through them. They're really fun, challenging, and entertaining. However, they are not representative of the real interviews that prospective employees endure.
Bottom line- buy it, I guess, if you enjoy puzzles. However, you can find much better (and resourceful) puzzle books out there.
Hope this helps. Comment if you have any questions!
The most interesting thing I found in this book is the admission that other companies have adopted riddle questions because they are trying to be more like Google. However, such interviewers usually don't understand the reasoning or objectives behind Google's riddle/mathematical problems and therefore a worthy response to a riddle asked at Google may get you different results at other companies.
I had fun comparing my answers to the riddles to the answer key in the back of the book, but I believe that it has only made me marginally better as an interviewer. I still think that getting hit with a riddle during an interview at any company makes your success more of a crap shoot.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My 13 year old daughter really enjoyed reading this. Gives her a sense of what employers might try to throw at her for interview questions.Published 21 days ago by Una Cartwright
Not really that helpful. I got the job, but not because of this book. Cool problems and puzzles in here though. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Man_4_Sail
I thought I was a genius until I got to the last few chapters. Great book.Published 2 months ago by Paul W
no. no, I'm definitely not. however if they ask me one of 200 very specific questions, I could fake it now.Published 11 months ago by stompk
Very interesting book with examples of interview and questions after every chapter (and answers in the end). Read morePublished 12 months ago by Vitalii
I don't know about Google interview questions, but this book is a good selection of quirky puzzles. It also has good explanations of how to arrive with the answers to specific... Read morePublished 14 months ago by A Reader from PA